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Nick Wiltgen's picture

Sunset over Mt Hood and Trillium Lake

Hi everyone, brand new to the fstoppers community - just signed up today! *gasp* I'm always terrified of sharing my photos on platforms other than Instagram or Facebook, where there is usually no real feedback. Anyways, I'm always trying to learn and improve. Constructive criticism is more than welcome and always appreciated. This is a long exposure image from an evening at Trillium Lake, Oregon, during the tail end of sunset as some interesting cloud formations began to take shape over Mt. Hood. Looking forward to browsing tons of other peoples work on here, be inspired, learn new techniques, and (hopefully) continue to grow as a photographer. Cheers

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joseph cole's picture

lovely shot there are a few things you could do to improve mainly lifting the darks and shadow areas to see the finer details but doing this in a manner that you don't lose the midtowns and lighter areas as they are nicely shot. look into exposure blending bracketing and luminosity masking

Nick Wiltgen's picture

Thank you Joseph, appreciate the feedback!

Robert Tran's picture

Really like the tones and overall approach to your composition. For me, the foreground rock is just a little too dominating. If you return anytime soon, I recommend experimenting with a foreground of the smaller rocks behind it to anchor the scene in a way that doesn’t compete with Mt. Hood. I should qualify this by saying I don’t know whether that composition would be possible, because I have never been. Overall though, really digging the vibe and serenity you were able to convey. Also really like your other work as well.

Nick Wiltgen's picture

Thank you for that insightful feedback! I have been many times in varying conditions, and there are certainly a lot of composition possibilities. I think in this moment I was too excited about that sky and not focusing enough on my comp. That bottom rock definitely bothers me with how in my face it is, and how dark it is. Here is another shot from a different evening, in which I think I still used those rocks overwhelming, but hopefully less intensely and dominating. Thanks again for the thoughtful feedback, really appreciate it!

Chris Jablonski's picture

Why didn't you post this in the first place, Nick? ;-) This one's gorgeous. Those clouds look so playful, and the way you've caught the reflection...wow!

Seriously, your main image is good, too; I agree about the rock, and for me the tree detracts from the other clean forms with its "busy" outline - fine in itself, but intrusive here (for me). Perhaps its overall composition benefits from the horizon not being so close to the middle as here.

Welcome to the forum. I think you'll find it friendly and supportive. At their harshest, critics can be a bit dogmatic, but I haven't seen any trolling at all.

Alan Brown's picture

Hi Nick, beautiful shot. The color palette is really appealing as is the view.
I also like the stark contrast between the trees and the scene laid out in front of me. Like Joe I was tempted to comment on the lack of detail in the shadows I actually don't mind but feel that as the trees form such a nice silhouette i really don't need that - I think it works well.
The big issue for me (in agreement with Robert on this) is the visual weight of the rock in the bottom. For me it's way to heavy and spoils the balance of the shot.
I think if you can either remove in Photoshop (may be a stretch) or at least crop somewhat and perhaps clone some water below the smaller rock above that will help the shot.
Here's a quick crop to show the option, but whatever you do make sure it suits your own taste.

Nick Wiltgen's picture

Thank you Alan! I really appreciate your feedback. I am in strong agreement - that bottom rock is way too intense and weighs down the rest of the image. It has always bothered me, and while I have other shots of the same evening with different comps, I always preferred the clouds and color in this one better, even with the lack of shadow detail. I really wish I would have focused my attention more on the composition of this frame, because it could have yielded better results - but I was rushing in excitement from the clouds and color hah! I like the crop you made, looks great! Thank you again for the feedback, very much sincerely appreciated.

Kreyg Scott's picture

Truly a beautiful image Nick. I really love the composition. Yes it could use a bump in the exposure but I think being slightly underexposed creates a mood I quite like. Well done.

Nick Wiltgen's picture

Thank you Craig, that means a lot! As a newbie to fstoppers (I've religiously watched youtube videos, just never posted on here until today), I am humbled to hear your kind feedback. Cheers!

Kreyg Scott's picture

You're most welcome. Keep shooting mate.

Matt Hammerstein's picture

I agree with what others have said before in that I like the overall approach to the composition. I also think the dark tones really work for this shot; after all, that time of day is supposed to be dark.

My only recommendation would be trying to clean up the area of haloing on the bottom right slope of the mountain.

Nick Wiltgen's picture

Thanks Matt! Appreciate the kind words and all that feedback. Haloing has been an issue for me many times, especially with long exposures. Definitely something I need to work on, and likely watch several YouTube tutorials on the subject matter of post processing work. Cheers!