This was a shot taken while waiting for sunset in Great Smoky Mountain National Park in May. It was a quick handheld snap to capture the ray of sun that landed on this ridge of trees, and because I didn’t have time to get my camera on my tripod (and didn’t use a fast enough shutter speed), the image isn’t as sharp as it could be and likely won’t ever be printed. I frankly don’t see this as a portfolio image, but I liked the shape of the ridge and lighting enough to see what I could make of it. Feel free to tear this one to shreds Any and all feedback welcome for this shot.
Single exposure. Nikon D750 and Nikkor 70-300mm. 300mm @f/7.1 for 1/200 of a second and ISO 800. I cloned out a gap in the trees in the top right to keep the uniform background of hazy trees.
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I like the diagonal formed by the foreground ridge and the way that it creates a yin-yang effect with the composition. The spotlighting adds interest along the edges. I could see increasing contrast and saturation a bit in the background mountains and in the foreground shadows.
No need to tear it apart as you say> I think it’s a fine image. I really like these “edge of light” images as I call them.
I really like the composition and it’s plenty sharp at this web size. I think the light is super pretty, Kevin.
Kevin, this an outstanding image, and to me it’s all about the light, which is simply gorgeous. I like your processing of the shadow areas. you made them dark enough so that they set off the highlights nicely, but if you give your eye a moment to adjust, there is still plenty of detail in the shadows. While this is great as presented, I do agree with @Brian_Schrayer that a little more mid-tone contrast and a slight boost in saturation would make the background ridge even better. some dodging of the highlight areas of the back ridge would also enhance that hazy Smokies look too.
Most all our photography is about light - and it most certainly is here. You’ve captured the moment beautifully.
Sharpness? I’d say the critical point in the image - that spiralized tree in the center, looks sufficiently sharp - at least in the web view. Sure, it looks like things get a little softer around the edges - but that also works like a vignette - keeping the eye in the frame, enjoying the light.
I certainly wouldn’t put this in the shredder! Thanks for posting. No nits or other suggestions.
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply, everyone! Sounds like I was being a bit too harsh on this. I think I had stared at it for long enough that I needed some outside opinions.
@Brian_Schrayer and @Ed_McGuirk, good notes on the background trees and ridge. I think I had been so focused on trying to get the contrast right in the shadow areas and on the foreground ridge I forgot all about the background ridge. I’ll take a look tonight and play around with that a bit. And @Lon_Overacker, I actually hadn’t really noticed the spiral grown pattern of that tree, but I’m loving it now that you pointed it out!
Strangely enough, the slight lack of sharpness works for the mood of this image. I like the current presentation. I would not add contrast to it because it could destroy that mood. You might experiment with that and see.
Very much like the unique light here and the yin-yang composition. Overall, it maybe feels a bit cramped at the top. A little more space above the hill on the left seems like I might be helpful, though I have a feeling this crop might have been the only alternative.
I too like the ridge of light Kevin. I would bring up the contrast in the background and bring up the contrast in the foreground. It may work well on canvas.
I like the graphic curve bisecting the diagonal across the frame and of course the slice of light on the edge. It’s pretty and yes I think it would make a pleasing canvas print.
No points of critique on this one from me. Just thought I’d tell you that I really love it. Great light and truly an example of a photo that places me in the moment.
Thanks again, everyone. I very much appreciate the helpful comments and support for giving this one more consideration than I think I originally did. I didn’t get a chance to sit back down to tweak this until today.
Although not unanimous, it sounds like the consensus was to add a bit of contrast to the background ridge. I decided to do that with the addition of a little dehaze and clarity via an adjustment brush in a Camera Raw filter in Photoshop, while still making sure to maintain the hazy look in the background the keep the ridge the obvious focal point. And @Tony_Kuyper, right you are about the composition. I feel that the top is a bit cramped as well, but this was such a quick setup that I unfortunately didn’t leave myself enough room above the ridge to crop differently.
This version has the slight changes I mentioned: