Tranquil river above the crooked shoot

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This image was taken on a bridge above the dam at Crooked Shoot park on a beautiful summer day last year. The park is to present logging and to show how logs were run through wooden shoots to make their way down the rapids.

Specific Feedback

Trees are always a challenge. I like the basic composition but the trees can look busy and leaves blurry. What shutter speed do you recommend to get leaf detail?

Technical Details

Sony Alpha A6600, 18 - 135 MM Sony kit lens, f/9, 1/125 sec, ISO 100, 18 MM


This is a pretty standard landscape image. What stands out for me as a photographers is how nicely the clouds arc to follow the tree line and how nicely their reflection follows the bank of the lake. These type of composition elements can and do elevate images. Regarding the fg grass rising from the clouds - I have to think about that.


This quite a beautiful landscape image. Picture - postcard. I’m really enjoying the colors, the blue sky with the puffy clouds… the reflection. This is a wonderful composition. Again on the colors, I think you’ve processed this quite nicely.

I had similar thoughts as Igor regarding the grasses at the bottom. In the end, I think they work great; they’re not cut off and have enough presence in the frame to work as almost an anchor, or resting place for the eye. The ONLY suggestion I do have would be to clone out the pieces of grass in the LRC, lower right corner.

Quite a number of variables here, so no clear answer, but here are my thoughts - and all just relevant to this particular image. The trees here are just one of the elements of this landscape image and so for me, it’s not critical that you have super sharp leaves; One thing, they’re too far away to really even notice if they’re sharp - and/or blowing in the wind. If the image was a closer look at the trees and they were the primary subject, then yes, sharpness might matter a bit more.

The other factors of course would be the aperture, depth of field and where was the focus point. At f/9 you’re probably going to have decent depth of field - depending on where you focused. The grasses at the bottom look pretty sharp, so I’m wondering if you focused there.

Not sure if you handheld or used a tripod? You should have been able to hand hold at 1/125th. And then there’s the sharpness of the lens itself.

but to your question of shutter speed… here in lies the consideration of “equivalent exposures” and those relationships between shutter speed, aperture and film speed. I order to “freeze” something you need pretty fast shutter speeds. The fast the shutter speed needed, the wider the aperature and/or higher the ISO. And the last two, aperture and iso, sharpness and noise are affected. If you stop down to your sharpest f/stop - maybe f/11? or whatever it is, the smaller the aperture, the longer the shutter speed. there’s always a give and take.

And so with that, there are techniques like focus-stacking where you can combine multple images to maximize sharpness in any given image.

Anyway, this may or may not have helped. In the end, IMHO with this particular scene, having leaves “tack sharp” probably isn’t at the top of my list. And lastly, really hard to judge sharpness with these small jpegs. This might be a good candidate if you’re up for it, to put in the “Image Process challenge” forum to see what others might come up with. You would have to upload the RAW image

Thanks for posting. This is my favorite of the images you have posted so far.

1 Like

Hi @Bradley_Taylor - welcome to NPN!
A few things that jumped out at me here.

  1. I would avoid watermarking for NPN. We are a bunch of paying members, I think the risk of image theft is pretty low.
  2. The watermark here kind of hides one thing I would have probably cropped out - the reeds/grasses on the edge of the frame.
  3. I think the comp works ok with the clouds up there like that, but what if you cropped in from the left to the tree to make the image more symmetrical?

Lovely scene Bradley, and the composition does a great job of funneling the eye up the stream.

My thoughts on shutter speed mimic Lon’s, especially that it depends on many other factors. At 18 mm and how distant the leaves are, I would expect 1/125 to be plenty. If the wind were whipping, that might be a different story, but your reflection suggests it wasn’t very windy. If you had closer leaves and movement (wind, camera shake, etc.) you might need a faster speed.

Very nice image, Bradley. My comments basically mirror many of the others, but the grasses coming out of the clouds don’t bother me at all. As for shutter speed, if it was a windy day I may have raised the ISO to 200 or 400 and chosen 1/250 or even 1/500, but normally I would think 1/125 would be OK for this type of image. Don’t be afraid to use higher ISOs; with Topaz Denoise or other programs noise really doesn’t present the problems it used to.