Sunset at Smith Rock

Although this is a well known state park in the state of Oregon I believe it qualifies as a local park for me as it is within the 30 mile parameter as noted in the description for this week’s challenge. I like how the light from the setting sun, which is outside the frame, highlights the streaky clouds that lead back into the frame.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

My main concern with this image is that the lightest part of the frame on the left side may draw the viewer’s eye away from the rock formation on the other side. I would like to know what others might think of this and what suggested improvements could be made.

Technical Details

f/22, 1/250 sec, ISO 200
This is an HDR image created by merging three exposures in Lightroom. Some additional processing in Lightroom, and some spot healing in Photoshop.


Hi Ted,
what a great view in beautiful light.

Are you concerned about the sky on the left side? In my opinion, the sky should be the brightest area in the image. And in your image, the bright clouds are a nice counterbalance to the dark shadow of the rock formation on the right side.

1 Like

What a fantastic local park to have. I don’t find the luminosity in the ULC pulling my attention too much as there is lovely light cast on the rock and the plants in the LRC. The luminosity of the river also helps keep my eye in and looking through the frame.

1 Like

I understand your concern but I don’t share it. Especially given those cool clouds that lead my eye from the brighter part of the sky over to the rocks. This has a very natural looking feel to me, and I like that. Beautiful image of a wonderful location, Ted.

1 Like

Hi Ted,

Yes, a wonderful “local” park! I try and get out there as much as I can to photograph that area from Portland. Fantastic landscape.

I can see your concern and why you sought feedback on it. I am trying to decide if it is a concern or not for myself. I see 3 areas of the image…The bright part on the left, the dark part on the right and then the bushes in the foreground. The question I’m asking myself is if they are all “integrated” well and playing nicely.

Looking at the brightness values for the 3 areas, the bushes and the bright area are closer aligned, so my eye stays more to the foreground and left side and I have to push myself to the right, shaded cliffs. My eye isn’t flowing as easily as I might like. It’s not bad, but maybe not as good as it could be.

My suggestion might be to brighten up the darker cliffs some…not to equal the left, but maybe enough to lessen the tonal contrast between them. See how that “feels” to you and how your eye flows.

It’s a great comp and I like it!

1 Like

Thanks for the feedback John. I’ll try reprocessing with your suggestions.

1 Like

Hi Ted,

I like this image quite a lot and the cloud streaks spraying out of the orange sunlight are awesome, it’s like fireworks made of light and moisture.

To be honest, (and this is just my take based on nothing more than a personal opinion), the mountain on the right side is taking up too much of the image.

This is kind of radical I suppose but have you considered doing a square crop (cropping the right portion off)? Not exactly a landscape oriented image anymore but there are few good square crop landscape images out there.

I hope I didn’t just insult your image by that thought.

It really is an awesome scene with wonderful soft shadows and soft highlights.
I think it’s very well balanced in terms of color and luminance.

1 Like

Thanks Merv-I don’t usually consider a square crop for landscape images, but I thought I would give your suggestion a try to see how it looks. What do you think?

Hi Ted,

Actually, I think it looks good.
It seems to stand out well even in the small version but when I took it to full screen it looks really good.
This would probably need to be printed fairly large if that’s what you intend to do with it.

It would look even better at 12x12 or larger and in a frame with a fairly wide matting (maybe 2 -1/2 inches wide on each side?). The frame wouldn’t need to be heavy or thick IMHO because the image would stand out well on it’s own.

I would certainly be proud to have it on one of my walls (if I had any room left that is) :slight_smile:

I love the softly luminated shadows and highlights and the colors have just the right amount of luminance and vibrance to me as well.

Just well done IMHO :slight_smile:

Hi Ted,

Just for the heck of it I done a search for square crop landscape images and I was a little surprised at how many there are.

Apparently, Ansel Adams had a quite a few, he used a 4x5 format camera quite a bit so I guess that means he cropped them square on purpose (?).
I’m not using Ansel Adams as a model though, it’s just an interesting bit of trivia.

The bottom line with photography is that there are no rules, only guidelines that are pretty forgiving :slight_smile:

Just thought I’d share the results of a quick search prompted by curiosity, it has nothing to do with whether or not your image should or shouldn’t be cropped square. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Really appreciate your feedback here Merv. If it’s good enough for Ansel Adams what more can anyone say.