Rock fern

Been working on this and would love some feedback. The idea for the shot was to get low and use the rock in the foreground as a leading line as well as the fern top right and sun to lead the eye into the centre of the frame/where the water is

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Does the composition work, how does the colour looks and is there anything you think that could improve the image?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

love anything

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

a few shots were used for this in order to get it mostly it in focus (stacking) then adjustments in camera raw with dodging/burning

The Sunstar was added after because there was a similar luminosity between the light just above the waterfall and where the star currently sits - adding it helped the eye choose where to look

Hi Dale,

I like the concept, but I feel like the fern frond is in the way. For me, it takes away from the waterfall. I think the line of the rock to waterfall and then to the sun is a good line for the eye to follow in the image. The fern is too heavy and just anchors the eye to much and interrupts the flow.

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Dale, I see what you are trying to get at here but I’m not sure it works. There is almost too much going on and, while trying to achieve simplicity, has become overcomplicated. I have to agree with @Youssef_Ismail here about the fern. It’s overwheming the scene and distracting from the waterfall.

To me the addition of the sunstar is not working here. The first thing I noticed is that the star appears on front of the trees, rather than squeezing through the branches. It does not look natural. In my opinion when adding a sunstar you should make it look as natural as possible. The second thing about it, is that the temperature of it is out of kilter with the rest of the highlights. You are emphasising the light on the waterfall. If the sun was presenting as yellow as you have it, there would be an accent of this in the waterfall and it’s highlights.

I just pulled up the comments box to continue writing and cropped about half the foreground rock. This does improve the composition somewhat and makes the elements of the image look more cohesive.

For what it’s worth. If you took the sunstar out, the colours would be spot on.


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Hey @Youssef_Ismail & @Eugene_Theron

Thanks for your comments I really appreciate it - this is why it’s always good getting a few other opinions! :slight_smile:

I’ve just gone through & done a rework of the image

  1. kept the sunstar in but removed the highlights above the waterfall & changed the temperature of the highlights while dodging some of the areas to make it fit the scene as well as blending the star through the tree canopy

  2. changed the luminosity of the highlights within the fern edges & desaturated to make it less distracting

  3. shifted up the rocks with a perspective warp in order to help bring a bit more connection between the top/ bottom of the frame while still sitting within the original crop

  4. added some more highlights as well as blue in the waterfall in order to draw the eye into the middle of the frame

Would love your thoughts


(left is before, right is after)

Hi Dale,

Perspective warping is not my thing but I do think the way the rock fills more of the foreground, and seems to originate out the corner works much better. It makes the rock look less like it was just placed in the corner.

Righto, the sunstar :laughing:. Adding these is another think that’s not my bag but as the photographer you have can do as you please, such is the beauty of photography. I think if you has just blended the sunstar through the canopy, as you did in the rework, this would have worked. I now think you have overdone the highlights casting onto the waterfall and is edging towards the unnatural. I think you have two options here:

  1. Keep things as in the original image but blend the sun through the canopy. Like in the rewor. Leave the ‘spotlight’ highlights alone and see how that works with the waterfall.
  2. Go with the second effect but tone down the warmth of the ‘spotlight’ here. Just to bring it closer to the temp of the falls. Maybe up the blacks in that area too. to enhnace the contrast.

I think when you have direct dappled light, like you do, the subject that is being lit needs to be closer in temp to the light source. Otherwise it doesn’t look natural. If you hadn’t added the sunstar in, the temp of the subject would have been spot on. You could always reduce the temp of the sunstar to compensate.

Hope that makes sense. Honestly, and Im not having a dig here, this is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of adding elements to an image as things start to look unnatural. I think it can be really hard to get right. This is my personal opinion on the matter and not a reflection of your artisty and vision!!


Hey Eugene,

It’s all good! There’s no offence taken - I understand where you’re coming from regarding the perspective warp & sunstar…it’s the funny thing about creativity & photography. It’s all up for personal interpretation BUT for me personally I find it good having creative input especially where I’m at at the moment just starting out.

You make some good points - I removed the sunstar & played around with the highlights/water to see where the scene ended up