Shades of Green in the Foothills

As we continue to get rain in California the foothills are getting greener so I decided to take another hike around them this time with my zoom lens. I wanted to get the different shades of green and the varying textures in the hills with this shot.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Composition, The path being slightly center bothers me a bit. I have other comps with it more to the left but I liked the clouds in this one.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Post Processing, greens over saturated? Hills too light too dark etc?

Any pertinent technical details:

Canon 5d Mark III 100-400 @100mm
1/320 F/8 ISO 400

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

I like the vibrant greens against a very natural looking sky. The tracks do a good job of walking me into the scene. I can see cropping a bit off the top so there is less blue. Relative to the rest of the scene this blue untexuredness feels a bit monotonous. A little less of it wouldn’t be losing anything important.

Very nice. I like the shades of green and nuances (shadows from trees, etc). I agree with Tony on the crop off the top. It would also give what blue remains an upward toward the left diagonal, making a nice completion of diagonals in the image.

If it were my photo, I would also crop away some of the right to reduce the amount of empty blue sky. In addition, the luminance of the sky seems a bit wonky. Dark on the left, light in the center, then dark again. Also, the lightest part of the green hills is closely underneath the darkest part of the blue sky, and the darkest prt (on the far left) is underneath a lighter part. I would darken the cloud bank on the far left and lighten the trees underneath that. Did you use a polarizer?

Thanks for the suggestions I think cropping out some of the sky is a great idea.
@Tony_Siciliano I see what you mean about the sky. I did use a polarizer because my 100-400 always seems to have the blues looking a bit too light. I can try to darken the lighter parts of the sky to even it out because even in my unedited raw the sky looks a bit uneven.

I used a polarizer for years with telephoto lenses to darken blue skies, but stopped several years ago. It’s so easy to darken blue skies in PS or LR without the uneveness that you can get using a polarizer.


Excellent capture and depiction of the seasonal transition (In CA from brown to green - our only 2 seasons.) The blue/green combo with the white clouds looks fabulous.

I would say the tracks (looks like tracks more than a trail or fire road…) compositionally are fine for me and wouldn’t have matter too much if they were directly in the middle.

Colors are excellent. As far as saturation goes, we’re in the personal preference range. For me, I think the green/yellows at the bottom on the trail are a bit neon, but the rest of the main hill look pretty darn beautiful.

Say, I like this as presented. Just wondering if you hiked up to the top of the foreground ridge and get any captures of just the main hill sky and clouds? There are some interesting repeating patterns in the minor ridges. Looks like a great area with lots of opportunities.


A very lovely scene that truly represents the California landscape. I love what you have done with the composition – it is very engaging. The color and contrast are also looking nice. I agree with Tony regarding cropping off a bit of the sky (not much though) as that would improve the overall balance somewhat.

I don’t have much to add. Tony’s crop suggestion is a good one. The processing is excellent. I like the comp. The larger version shows great detail.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

@Lon_Overacker I did hike up to the top of the foreground ridge and I took a bunch of shots around there. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep going as the state owned area ended shortly after and there was a fence blocking me from heading further into the foothills.