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Reflections in a mountain lake


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This isn't the easiest photo to critique, but I'm going to give it a whirl. I haven't critiqued a lot of photos, so forgive me if this isn't helpful.


You titled the photo 'Reflections in a mountain lake' so I'm going to assume that that's what caught your eye. To me, the reflection isn't really stunning, but the color of the water is. If you really were trying to show the view the reflections, then I don't think it's too successful. Probably due to the lightubg, or focus, or framing, or all.


The photo is a little odd, having the cliffs go right off the top of the image. There's not a lot of reference. Also, in the center of the image, is a large dark portion of cliff. I don't know that I care for that, I think it might have been stronger if the dark area wasn't centered. Also, you have light hitting the left side of the rocks, but not the right side. This is really effecting the reflections, as they're more obvious on the left.


The white object at the water edge (snow I assume) is a little distracting. I'd want more or less of it.


The image is almost abstract. It should be either more abstract or less. Imagine croping it to make it a verticle image, with only the rocks/water with direct light. It becomes much more abstract, and the reflection more the focus of the image. It might look overexposed at that point, so you'd have to adjust in the darkroom.


If you do that, you'll loose some of the beautiful aquamarine color in the lake. As a viewer, I'm interested in that color, and what is further to the right of the image.


Anyway, those are some things to think about. Just so you know, I'm not a professional. Take it for what it's worth. Keep shooting.

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This kind of shot is too symmetrical. Everybody has taken something like this, myself included, because it's hard to resist. But next time, try to find something interesting about the reflection, or find an interesting foreground to "anchor" the image and break up the inkblot appearance.
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I agree with Nathaniel's comments regarding what is of interest in your photo (the colors in the water and the reflection aspect)and what is distracting (the lack of reference for perspective, the way the light whacks the left side and shadows the right, and the bright patch on the far right).

The only additional comment I would make is that in this type of picture where the vertical lines are so strong, the horizontal needs to be kept as flat as possible, this one is a bit higher on the right. This slight diagonal can unsettle an otherwise calming photo. Also, the shoreline splits the picture almost in half, moving it up or down may add strength and emphasize the water or the cliff, whichever you prefer.

I know you take what you can get, but if you had the opportunity, it may be neat to see this scene in an orange evening sun or early morning.


P.S. Glad to see another APS user on the site.

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Unless it is completely intentional, ALWAYS check your horizon line. In this case the point where the water and cliffs meet should either be level or tilted enough to show intention. I also understand that it's often a matter of opportunity, but perhaps this shot would have better expressed your idea if taken at a different time of day. If your looking for general advice on composition I would suggest going to the library and finding art instruction books. The "guidelines" for compostion are the same in all art forms.
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