Patrick vs Lee: Our Puerto Rico Landscape Challenge Revealed

Last week Lee Morris and I embarked on something I like to call "The Puerto Rican landscape challenge." The goal of this series is to not only showcase some of the most beautiful locations on the island of Puerto Rico, but to also find out, once and for all, who is the better landscape photographer. Today is the beginning of this ultimate challenge.

Lee and I are both pretty competitive people. We are the first to admit, we aren't world class photographers in any one genre of photography. However, like many of you, just because we don't specialize in landscape photography, that doesn't mean we don't like dipping our feet in the genre.  Last year Lee went head to head with architectural photographer Mike Kelley in their dome house shootoff (Mike's still upset about that one), and to make the competition more interesting we posted a few polls asking our readers if they could pick which photographer took which shot. Surprisingly, most people had a hard time distinguishing who took which photo.

Today's faceoff challenge had similar results. Last week we post an article asking our readers to pick the winning photo as well as correctly identify which photographer took which photo. As expected, many of you had very different opinions on the two images and almost all of the voters incorrectly guessed who took which photo.

What I found interesting about this shootoff was the completely different approaches we both took in capturing the scene. My goal was to capture a simple landscape photo that showed off the waterfall and lagoon in a way that would promote Puerto Rico and the tourism to this location. Lee's approach was to do something less common and more artistic. We also used completely different gear to take these photos. Lee was shooting on his new Sony a7III mirrorless camera and 18 - 105 lens while I opted for the Nikon D850 DSLR and Tamron 15 - 30 lens.

As you can see in the video above, my image wasn't anything spectacular and took only 10 minutes to capture while Lee's photo was a circus show of scouting, crazy compositions, models swinging like Tarzan, and quickly fading light. In the end, I do think Lee's photo turned out better than I had expected on location, but without a proper model posing in the photo I think it's safe to say it still leaves a lot to be desired. He also might have gone a little crazy with the light rays. You can view the two before and after images below.

Patrick's image:

Lee's image:


With poor natural light, a 30 minute monsoon, minimal gear, no models, and lots of tourists, I knew capturing anything worthy of our portfolios was going to be near impossible but I'm happy with the overall outcome of this competition. Sure, both images are at best a 2 - 3 star image on our Critique the Community rating system, and neither one of us will probably be using these photos to book new clients. However, I still had a blast exploring the western part of the island and seeing more of what the amazing island of Puerto Rico has to offer. I'd like to give a big thanks to Robert Moreno with Borkua Tours with for being our guide to the Las Garzas Waterfall in San Sebastian. Robert is one of the most in demand local guides here in Puerto Rico and also a master cave diver, so I'm sure there are a few cave competitions coming to Fstoppers in the near future.

We'd also like to thank Wedding and Portrait Photography International for sponsoring this video. WPPI is the largest photography convention in the United States. Starting February 25th and ending March 1st, WPPI hosts countless photo walks, master class lectures, lighting and editing seminars, and free presentations by some of the industries leading photography instructors. If you are a wedding photographer or want to start offering albums and prints to your clients, WPPI is the best place to compare photo albums and prints for your business because literally every major lab and album designer from around world is at the expo. And if you need even more persuading, WPPI is hosted in Las Vegas every year which makes for the perfect mix of work and play.

Even though WPPI is right around the corner, it's not too late to book a flight and grab a hotel room. Check out WPPI Expo for more details including a list of all the speakers, exhibits, and itinerary for the entire week.

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16 Comments

Jordan McChesney's picture

I love these competitions, I hope you guys have more of them. I like that you guys are trying styles you’re unfamiliar with.

Not that it really matters, but I knew Lee took image 2 as soon as I saw the fake light rays. They’re not bad, but after seeing the contest with Mike, I knew he likes to play with reality a little, haha.

joe sharp's picture

My eye was drawn immediately to the hat promoting the communist party.

Patrick Hall's picture

And what communist party would that be?

joe sharp's picture

As the American flag stands for freedom and democracy the red star stands for communism.

Patrick Hall's picture

What flag should other democratic nations fly?

joe sharp's picture

The one they support, always. That is what being free is all about. Thanks for taking the time to respond to my sarcasm!

Gergö Nyirö's picture

The A7iii gives 8 megapixels files in crop mode and he even cropped it further down to 16:9

Celso Mollo's picture

There is a reason wide angle is used a million times, uniqueness doesn’t necessarily means better or good at all, the only thing I was wrong was to think that Lee took this picture. 😂😂😊😂

And on top of that, you rarely take a picture of waterfalls with faster shutter speed.

Hi guys! Welcome to PR!!! This place is called Gozalandia in San Sebastian, PR. I like both images, however Lee, I think that Patrick somehow ruined your photo. Sorry Patrick, nothing personal. :) A kind of swimsuit shot with flash might had made both photos great. Here a couple photos from 2016.

Patrick Hall's picture

Wow, you def had WAY more water flowing than us!

I think it was during the raining season.

Victor Colon's picture

Love the video guys!! Been a fan since your beginnings! Happy that you are living here in paradise! I think that you already have friends here and they have mentioned you all the beautiful places we have. Still, I like to take a minute to recommend some. First. Forget about San Juan. Yes is beautiful but that can wait. Enjoy the rest of the island. The west coast is very different from the rest, even the southern west and northern west regions are very different. You will like the west coast a lot. Thanks again y my home is your home!

Dilyana Hezhaz's picture

I went with the majority on choosing the better photo but thought it was taken by Lee. I'm enjoying the competitions though, would like to see a lot more of these.

Martin Del Vecchio's picture

I don't care who took which or which is better. I just love watching these videos; you two are great together, and this was very entertaining. I look forward to you delivering on the "Episode 1" promise in the video's title.

Abe Curland's picture

Most entertaining! Next time fly Abe down there for some real landscape shots.

Patrick Hall's picture

You know you are always welcome down here. Maybe we can go birding!