Peter Nestler's picture

What's wrong with this?

I'm curious, the only vote I've had on this image was 2 stars. If a photo really sucks, I have no problem with that. I'm curious what is wrong with this image that would make it that low? It's not my favorite picture in the world, but I personally don't see it being that bad. I went with a silhouette on purpose with some subtle texture in a few spots. I shot some brighter images that I merged in, but they looked like a terrible HDR image so they got the boot. I'm always trying to improve, so if there's something I'm missing, I would love to know what that is. Thanks!

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Anonymous's picture

I like it as is!

Cody Schultz's picture

It's not that there is anything wrong with the image, per se, but rather that it is definitely not for everyone. The same can be said in regards to my black and white nature work - not everyone likes seeing the world in a dark or monochromatic viewpoint.

While I do not think anything is wrong with this, I do think that there is work to be done, which - if memory serves me right - is what is meant by the 2 star rating. For instance, I would bring up the shadows and boost the whites a bit, allowing for more detail in the rocks/trees and for a bit punchier of a feel to the sky/water.

Of course, the shadow/black details may not be recoverable. At that point, I would be interested to see what can be done with the brighter files that you have. Instead of merging them in, have you simply tried recovering the highlights? Depending on the camera you use, the highlights may be easier to recover than the shadows, and visa-versa.

Hope you got something from that, and I wish you the best!

Travis Bateman's picture

Great feedback but I assume he was attempting a silhouette look. If you weren't trying to get that look then yeah raise the shadows, and bring out the textures because its wayyyy under exposed.

Stephanie Sabourin's picture

I like it. I suspect it is darker than many people like. I sometimes really like a darker shot, but people seem to react more to brighter ones.

Nathan Ruby's picture

I agree with Cody, some people are not going to like it being ao dark. So they will give you a 2 star with the feeling it needs work. The image to me is a very good quality image, but it is very dark. I would like to see somr more details or maybe even crop it so theres not so much darkness.

Marcin Świostek's picture

Yes, definitely the darkness was the reason. Although it would be nice if the person wrote it also. I ask for comments on ratings lower than 3 stars but it never happens.
I like it. I think making it brighter would make it lose the sensation you were trying to get across.

Rex Jones's picture

I love the silhouette! The mood, tone, and composition work so well together! I think the reason that you ask what’s wrong with it is simply because there are two things that are splitting the attention.

Firstly, the eye naturally wants to be drawn straight towards that central island feature. But secondly, the eye is simultaneously draw towards the brightest spot in the frame, the location off center where the sun has disappeared behind the horizon.

Having two competing focal points in the shot is tougher, especially because (correct me if I’m wrong) we know that this composition wouldn’t exist if you were to move too much to either side. So honestly, I enjoy it for what it is, a great composition of a fantastic scene.

Peter Nestler's picture

Thanks for the comments. I try to branch out in the types of photos I shoot and the look and sometimes I do well and other times it's a fail. The only way to improve and expand your skill set is to give it a go.

Rex Jones's picture

Exactly right! I'm not sure why someone rated it 2. I like the shot, I'd still hang it on my wall!

Jen Photographs's picture

I like it - it's serene and evocative.

My two quibbles: there's a very faint halo on the hillsides, and the composition is a bit bullseye. But for this image, I think it works because of the leading lines toward the center.

Robert Nurse's picture

Don't be too concerned about the number of stars you get. Trust me, I've been here. Some people will like it, some won't. I like the image over all. Just a little more detail in spots to see more of the rocky surfaces would have been nice. But, that really doesn't detract much from the overall image.

Overall, I like the photo and think it was very well executed. I don't like things in the exact center of the frame, but am assuming you framed the scene from several different points and this was the best view that was available.

Brightening the shadows to show more detail would have looked contrived. The only light on the scene is way in the background and would not naturally fall on the camera side of the foreground.

The reason that I didn't give you a high rating is because I have just now seen your photo.

Some of the reaction may be based on which monitor they are using. My photos look a bit different on my work computer than they do on my personal computer.

Travis Bateman's picture

Abstract landscape photography, its a great image for the look you were trying to get, I'd say to keep people from wanting to see the textures get rid of them completely, lower the shadows even more so people are not teased by the faint texture of the rocks. otherwise nice shot!

Nico BABOT's picture

I personally think that if you go for a silhouette then the subject has to be very clearly defined and in your shot the island gets lost between those two overwhelming black cliffs.
I see what you tried to do using those cliffs as leading lines but I feel like they have to much weight in the overall composition.

Have you tried a vertical crop? Still keeping the island in the middle and still having those cliffs framing the island but with less of them.

The result will be a lighter image, still keeping the shape idea and the leading line but with a more pleasing composition.
All personal suggestions obviously.

I like the photo and completely agree with what Nico said about the cliffs taking away from the image. Try cropping out the trees on the sides and really make the island the star of the show and see what happens.

The great thing about fstoppers is that members are critical but in a thoughtful way to help everyone improve their art.


norman tesch's picture

this site is like others. it depends on what you are looking for.... many people will never read the coments of what you did to get this image. i myself only look at photos on here to see places i might want to go to shoot because its different from where i am....

im willing to bet not even 80 percent of the photos on here will never get printed, and being landscape will never be printed over also have people that just take snap shots then live on photoshop

you also have to take this stuff with grain of salt. i have an image that is 7 stop hdr multi row pano that is over 500 only has like a 2 rating. i dont get mad because i dont know of anyone doing what im doing so they cant appreciate what goes into an image like that. but it still dosent mean they would want it on their wall..

Peter Nestler's picture

I appreciate the varied critiques from everyone! Some food for thought as I start a 3 week raod trip through snowy Canada to photograph the Rockies on my way to Alaska.

Bret Henry's picture

I really like it. Its kind of dark and ethereal. I would assume the only reason for a low score would be because its not " Technically" properly shot. From an artistic standpoint I dig it.

Randy bott's picture

If you like it then leave it alone. It's art and everyone has their own opinion as to what they like. That is why I never critique others photos. What I like is not what others like and vice versa. It's ok if they only give you 2 stars.

The photo is great. The color, especially with the sunrise, is gorgeous. The combination of underexposed elements is lovely. It is quite nice. The casual viewer would love it on their wall. I like it dark.

But as some have noted, photographers will have a different view. Many want more detail and punch than the photo provides; I have no problem with lack of strong detail. But others will.

Ultimately, if you like it, others will too. It may not be popular with some. But popularity is not the ultimate measure of a photo.

Personally I think its a really nice image. Im guessing others maybe wanted to see more detail in the hills.

Rod Bruno's picture

It's awesome image and loved the ambiance and duotone.