Firehoby: © Deigh Bates (10y expr.)
I was hoping to capture the power of the river against the fog and steam from the early morning.
Canon EOS 5D
Lens: Super-Wide: < 20mm
Date and time: 30 Nov -0001 00:00
Original size: 683px X 1024px
Reviewed by GuruShots Pro
As a full-time freelance outdoor photographer and writer, my work has been published in National Geographic calendar...
Hi Deigh! Your technical execution of your creative vision here is spectacular. I can almost feel the water moving and the fog swirling above. Excellent job filling your frame with your primary message/subject as we are able to enjoy your image with few distractions. I especially like your use of black and white to help convey an even stronger mood. Overall, very well done - just a couple of minor composition and exposure recommendations to make a great image even stronger. Nicely done and thank you for sharing your work with me!
If you were hoping to capture "the power of the river against the fog and steam...," you have wildly succeeded in doing so in your image. You have so effectively filled your frame entirely with that message, so there is no question what the subject is here.
Two things grab me right away with your composition: your layers and lines. The image possesses a strong illusion of depth because of how you've utilized the rocks in the foreground, the river in the middle, another set of rocks with trees on top, and interspersed fog towards the top of the frame. All of these components convey excellent spatial relationship between the different visual objects.
While a significant portion of the visual weight (heavier objects and darker tones) fall towards the top of the image (which makes the image feel a little top heavy if you consider our perceptions of gravity...), you have created a nice sense of overall asymmetrical balance by positioning the river and foreground rocks as you have.
It's an even bigger payoff when your foreground rocks create a triangle shape and your river line runs from bottom left to top right (or vice versa). These both create a sense of movement across your entire frame.
Also, your elevated perspective provides a nice angle to view this scene - it feels like we're soaring above it or enjoying from an overlook.
If we remember that the viewer's eye is most attracted to the brightest part of the frame, I find my eye goes immediately to the bottom left corner. Because that tone sits on the edge of the frame, it's serving to pull the viewer's eye out of the frame. I'd recommend either selectively darkening that corner so it serves as a stronger visual anchor (and thus, keeps the eye in the frame vs. pulling it out of it) OR crop the frame from the bottom. I would not recommend cropping from the right side to remove this tone, as the fallen trees serve as effective lines pointing back to your primary subject - the river.
Also, the darkened/silhouetted tree breaks up the line of the river towards the top of the frame simply because the tones differ significantly from the whiter-toned river. Not much you can do to resolve that (especially if you're standing on the edge of a cliff!!), other than to just simply be aware of its existence and position yourself to get the best angle possible (which I believe you've done). To emphasize and frame the line of the river a little more effectively, I would have liked to have seen a little more of the rocks on the left side (so in the field spin your camera to left an inch or two towards those rocks).
Use of camera,
Your choice of shutter speed and ISO speed were tremendously effective in rendering movement in the water AND retaining structure and shape with the waves. Overall the exposure looks well done. With the black and white treatment, you have a nice range of tones from bright white to rich black. If anything, I'd like to see a little more detail in the blacks/shadows especially along the banks of the river (could just be my monitor too...), so reducing the contrast just a tick would help resolve that.
Because the image looks sharp from front to back, your aperture setting yielded an effective depth of field range.
The overall lighting looks fairly even toned so you aren't going to see a great deal of contrast in the color version of this frame. The diffused and foggy lighting conditions not only afforded you the chance to use a slow shutter speed, but also helped to create a moody scene. As such, it was a very smart decision to drop the color out and create the contrast via your black and white treatment. In fact, the monochrome effect enhances the moodiness of the overall photograph.
Depth of field looks spot on. Everything from the foreground rocks to the background trees look sharp as a tack.
How to improve your photo
Be on the look out for bright tones on the corners and along the edges of your frame - these can distract your viewer's eye away from your primary subject and pull them out of the frame. Use darker tones and objects to help create visual anchors in the corners, which serve to keep the viewer's eye in your frame longer.
In a black and white image, we seek a crisp, bright white and a rich, dark black, but we need to still see detail throughout the entire tonal range. Reduce the contrast slightly so that we can see textures and shape in the blacks for this specific image.
Lines can act as visual pathways for the viewer's eye to follow and they are most effective when they travel across the frame (as your dominant line does here in this image). Be careful you're line doesn't get too close to the edge, however. Use heavier visual elements like rocks and trees to keep the line from running too close to the edge...which can pull a viewer's eye out of the frame.
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As a full-time freelance outdoor photographer and writer, my work has been published in National Geographic calendars, Arizona Highways, Outdoor Photographer, AAA Highroads, AAA VIA, Outdoor Photographer, Smith-Southwestern calendars, and a broad variety of other publications. I've written and...
Nature, Adventure, Artistic
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