Somersby Falls - dealing with light & dark

What technical feedback would you like if any?

The idea for the composition was to lead the eye in a > direction from top left falls down across the centre-mid then back down to the left corner for the leaf or vice versa - currently, I find it just bounces between the two and I’m not sure what to do (note also the leaf was already there - not placed :P)

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I found it really hard working on the falls when it came to colour, especially with trying to bring in the element of warm light and direction for the foreground. Specifically in the foreground I’m not sure in the dodging is convincing enough to seem like directional light and I don’t know how to fix that.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
2x exposures. One for the foreground, one for the background - tk actions to modify the shadows and highlights with dodging + burning and camera raw for some directional gradients and colour adjustments.

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

Hi Dale,

My eye tends to go straight to the falls and it glimpses the leaf and goes back to the falls. I think that this is because the upper left has the most brightness and contrast in the scene.

Do you have other compositions from the scene? It looks like to me that if you had a frame above the tree roots you might have a comp that could flow from lower right hand corner to the upper left hand corner.

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Hey Nathan thanks for your reply - I agree and think this is where the issue is

Nope - I’ve got no other compositions from that specific waterfalls which sucks, however I may be able to balance it out a little bit more and darken the waterfall/top left because although it’s bright a part of that was artificial dodged in

True. To my eye it the light at the top doesn’t look too artificial

My eye is drawn to the leaf and stays there. Bright colors draw the eye, and since the leaf is very bright compared to the rocks, it is a very strong draw. The falls don’t really interest me in this image. The lower half with the leaf is an awesome image all its own. Personally I’d crop it in half and keep the lower part.

FWIW, my eyes go to the top of the falls and follow it to the roots then jump to the leaf, I am more intrigued the lower half . I think that’s what you intended. Good news: you have one good image here (as presented) and a spectacular one in the bottom half.

Dale. I agree that this looks like 2 separate images with no clear way to connect the two considering the significant differences in the lighting. While that is a bummer for your desire for a unified image, I agree with the others that the bottom portion of your shot is fantastic and very well processed image. If this were mine I would crop out the falls and continue with the incredibly well done lower leaf portion.

Wonderful photo Dale. I tend to agree with others that this might make 2 wonderful landscape photos. I like how the land below sort of flows in a pattern like the falls but using color. I would try a couple of crop methods, one maybe cropping the top of the falls to the lower falls. I also wonder how a crop from the bottom without the left would do. I love colors, awesome.