Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction

Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.

Questions to guide your feedback

This is another image from my Fall colors trip a few months ago. I’m still processing a few more but wanted to get your initial reaction to this image.

Other Information

Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.

Image Description

This was the last day of my trip. I came upon this group of aspen that were rapidly losing their leaves to the wind (the name quivering) yet the forest floor remained mostly free of fallen leaves. I’m just wondering about what you think about the light, and the two apposing trees in the foreground and the overall balance with this image. As always, thanks for opening my mind to other points of view.

Technical Details

Z9, 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 200, 1/100th, f/8 hand held

Specific Feedback


I can smell the damp earth and the aspen motes floating on the breeze! I really like the balance you have acheived between the white trunks and the golden leaves; the leaves accentuate the trunks rather than the typical vice versa, I think. Just the right amount of ground, too. I really wouldn’t change a thing with this composition or your processing.

I think this is a pretty joyful image. The combination of yellow and white is pretty uplifting. There are some somber colors at the bottom so it has some mixed feelings as well.

I saw an image like this shot by Charlie Cramer in the same general area and wanted to make one ever since. I think the key is to have some fairly flat to gentle light. He had a light fog as well and that made all the difference. How often do you see fog in Utah? Probably close to never.

I like the color scheme in this image. The yellow tree on the right really makes this image for me. I like the tonal richness that the lower part has. The upper part is less interesting, in my opinion, as the branch distinction starts to dissipate. I think the composition is good. I don’t see any crop that would make this better. I really like the forest floor. I can’t remember seeing this type of image where the floor was so dominant in terms of interest.

Hi David,
that is a really beautiful fall scene. I love the composition and the colors.

There is only on litte details that is distracting my eye slightly.

I wood burn the highlights of this dark fallen tree trunk. But it really is nitpicking.

Other than that, I wouldn’t change anything about the image.

I like this kind of trees with the beautiful white bark. The reason may be that I have never seen such trees in our region. So I can enjoy your pictures of it even more.

Hey David, as the others have stated, this is a really really strong image. The slight hints of green and mostly yellow leave me exploring all over the place. As @Igor_Doncov said the floor is actually interesting too which is so rare, I’m typically fighting to find a way to exclude it entirely. Your scene here is clean and that makes a huge difference. One thing I would consider is maybe just slightly reducing the saturation on the foreground leaves. This would be really minor.

Thanks for sharing, makes me want to head west in the fall!

Hi David,
this is really a joy to watch.
The tight composition works here so the color pallet.
That fallen log ,dead center between the white trunks really caught my attention (I’m not sure it is what you expect).
Beautiful image .

Initial reaction? WOW! I would love to see a large print of this as it’s the kind of image that usually has all kinds of wonderful little details and “images within the image”. The patterns created by the tree trunks and pops of color throughout keep me engaged. Love it.