Rainforest Canyon

rainforest canyon seeking critique adamus marc

Tags: seeking critique

Category: Landscape

Author: Adamus Marc

Gallery: THE VISUAL JOURNEY - Gallery II

Thursday 26th of May 2011 12:09:57 AM


Radu Carp

Incredible location and image you caught,I think it was not at all easy do it,splendid no other words,compliments.


Bruno Gallant

Insane image, National Geographic level.  I love it.

EDIT: I just checked your profile, and you do get published in NG, so there you have it.  You belong there.

Marc Dilley

Like being in a hall of ancient giant statues lit from above; I get a feeling of awe. There's a couple of things I don't understand here: how does one travel in these canyons with no shore and fast water lapping both sides, and, with the long exposure time why do we see waves on the water?

Holger Stelljes

Your efforts have been well worth the time, this is really an excellent shot. The POV is great and the overall atmosphere comes through.



Joseph Campisi

Creative as always Marc. Beautiful, ethereal, and unique.

Vizaknai David

It's more then NG level, great colors, i like this green, Best regards, David!!

Svetlana Korolyova

Beautiful colors!

Xavier Corcobado
Nice composition Best regards Xavier Corcobado xcorcobado.blogspot.com

Kristina Kraft

This one is really grabbing my attention. It's absolutely a winner! I love rainforest. Though I have only seen it in photographs and documentaries. I like everything about that picture. It's mystic, because the viewer can only be surprised of what's behind that corner. The whole composition is like prelude into the canyon filled with sun-rays that bounce off of the canyon's walls making moss, humidity and haziness so magical.

Thanks for sharing it,


Stephen Penland

@ Marc Dilley, I imagine the waves are standing waves.  Once again, it's the unusual length that you're willing to go to in order to get the photo that really helps set you apart.  This is wonderful.

Alan Klein

Marc:  I feel wet!  Alan

Sreehari Sundararajan


joao barros

If your intention was to create a sad picture, I thing you did it with success...


Jean Fennell

I am thoroughly enjoying looking at your beautiful portfolio. As an amateur, I can only hope to achieve anything remotely similar to your work. Thanks for sharing so I can live vicariously thru your images. I am convinced by your work that I must plan a trip to Oregon soon. Your patience and dedication  to your craft definitely shows thru these images and your narrative regarding the images is very informative. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Lech Dobrzanski

Water is a series of crystal sparkling events not a pudding.  Time passing can be sensed when one looks at water. Here time is not captured and nothing is to remember so this picture lacks depth.

Thomas Mulder
Rainforest Canyon

No other words but,.....Absolutely STUNNING!!!!

Elizabeth Ivanova
excellent picture

Wonderful composition, colors. Your landscape is beautiful and very mystical

Stephane Themeze
Beautiful site, no easy conditions to shoot

Looks like it was not the best time to take a picture in this delightful natural environment. Just the way the light falls does not allow dark and bright areas to mutually balance each other to bring the eye to embrace the scene at once. There are some spots, according to your exposure and the rendition of your recording, that would have been more interesting to look at and study and thus could have given way to better controlled compositions, probably on texture and forms. Curious effect also the different rythms of the water elements.

But sure looks like a place to be. Cheers.

Wanghan Li

Well composed and well processed.  Love it.  Best Regards,

Pekka Porokara

I like photos!!

William Browning

Just a dreamy perfect photo. Well worth the wait and many return trips to capture such a perfect shot. Well done William.

Curtis Forrester

Congratulations Mark on your Photo of the Week selection!  Wonderful image with a great mood, etc. 

Patrick Hudepohl
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Please note the following:

Peter Daalder
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

With apologies to Marc for a rather tenuous association, this image caught my immediate attention as it reminded me of one of our local photographic legends... Peter Dombrovskis
Have a look at Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend on the Wikipedia link and see where I'm coming from.
Obviously, Marc has done a splendid job of balancing the higlights and shadows in this image, especially with the sunlight outlining the vivid green vegetation on the canyon walls.
Although there is plenty of depth, I find that this image doesn't hold my attention for more than about 60 seconds (which is longer than my average).
In the main, the falling water action and the misty far reaches demand most of my attention, whilst I'm wishing for more interest in the foreground...
Due to personal circumstances, I check into PN only about once every few months, at the moment...
Couldn't get past this POW, though. Great collection, Marc!

Brian Sprague
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Aside from the beautiful aesthetics of the shot, the vanishing point perspective really sucks you in. Your patience really paid off. 10 sec exposure... very nice.

Alex S.
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Well, business as usual. What is there to discuss about this pretty picture. It's very pretty. And it's been done before. Many times. Maybe we should discuss what sort of greeting card this photograph would be good for. Anyone for a caption brainstorming?

How about: "Our heartfelt condolences over your recent loss. We feel your pain."

John A
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Certainly, Marc knows what he is doing in this genre, but I have to agree with Alex here. The image is essentially just another pretty redux of things seen over and over again. No revelation, no depth, no soul, just another pretty picture of a pretty place.

That said, it is a nice photo for what it is--just not something I can get excited about.

Walt Flanagan
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I love it. The areas in shadow provide an excellent contrast to the white water. The green vegetation makes the image alive. Images like these are why I come to photo.net.

Galen Rowell is my favorite photographer of all time. Perhaps one day Marc will be considered that great.

Drew Sumrell
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Excellent image Marc. Very good composition and just enough blurring of the water to be effective without being "over the top". The contrasts work well and I like the center focal point that disappears into infinity. Very well done and congrats on your selection.

Ri©k Vincent
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Great nature and landscape photography is almost always about perfect timing and the patience to wait for just the right conditions. A spot like this is photographed by many, but its mystical beauty is only truly captured by a few. Marc, never-mind these jaded critics, who week after week tear down the photos posted in this forum, offering minimal intellectual critique, and who apparently have little to offer, insofar as photographic talent, themselves. Congratulations on a fine POW. Good choice elves.

Marc Adamus
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

John and Alex, what do you want? Leprechauns? It is a green environment, afterall. Would have helped to have a rainbow too though. Now that would have been unique! ;-)

My focus as a photographer is this: Make photos of pretty places. I make a very good living at it, actually. I enjoy it thoroughly and it does not get old for me. There have been times I have pioneered or refined new techniques to do so throughout my career and I've also learned a lot from those that came before me. While this particular piece isn't one of my most evocative works (or even close) it does absolutely capture this place in conditions that are very, very rare and also employs effects that are not often used (such as shooting in pouring rain to create mist, for example). You could likely not find a like shot from this heavily photographed canyon for those reasons.

In landscape, it's been done. It's been done a zillion times, but hey, there's a zillion photographers and a zillion pretty places that are readily accessible to the public. If I want to record the type of big, sweeping vista that will best describe to the viewer being a part of the landscape in which I stood, I usually don't have an option that hasn't already been photographed. The difference between people that really understand landscape photography is they see those subtle differences in artistic decisions, rare conditions, rare light, processing work, etc. that separate something like this that often requires dozens of visits and years of experimentation from what your average Joe gets in his first visit.

The combination of my style, which relies heavily on those large, all-inclusive landscapes and a totally unique and/or deeply evocative approach is simply not always compatible, and to some number of folks out there these images, no matter how much creativity, determination and effort they took to create, will always look like postcards. However, looking at the light, mood, conditions, etc. contained within my pictures I would hope that you at least realize every attempt at creating something a little more interesting than the ordinary was made.

Ri©k Vincent
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Some people are entertained by only one type of photograph. For example, street photography. Most anything else considered by that person is labeled rubbish.

Anders Hingel
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I agree, it is all very pretty but not something that would keep me awake.
It opens however the question on how to shoot moving water.
After the first "Oh!" reaction, when I was almost a child, to what happens with water when using long exposures, I have stopped being enchanted. It is the same amazement as seeing a film being shown backwards: surprise, fun, but there it stops !

Since then, always find the blur of running water unesthetic, not that much because it is not like reality (who cares!) but because reality is so much more exciting to the eye. Real moving water is a festival of almost black shades and shining white, of dark blue, green and all shades of grey. Blurring it by long shutter speeds and all ends up in a grey porridge of bore. Marc has here, as Drew remarks, found somewhat of a compromise, but in my eyes still too artificial and unesthetic.
If I'm not alone with such a critic, why are there not more photographers to make the effort of compensating by bracketing the shutter speed, creating double exposures to show water in all its beauty and the still solve the problem of shadows and highlights.

Marc Adamus
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Anders, I appreciate the comment and have seen numerous great examples of what you're talking about with bracketing exposures. Usually, when a photographer chooses a very smooth effect it's because it's being used as an element of simplification. The water here on the canyon floor was merely a complimentary element to lead the eye. The canyon itself and side falls were my primary objective. By introducing a lot of texture into the water below (which I tried extensively) I felt it was too busy and not as effective artistically. Just IMO of course.

John A
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus


Leprechauns would have been nice!

I probably made a mistake in making my post above as I had originally promised myself that I wouldn't. Having been a landscape based photographer for over 30 years, I probably am much harder on the genre than most but I also know this sort of imagery is very popular on these sites and with the public in general.

I even went through a phase early on where I thought these were the types of images (as well as nature and wildlife) I might want to create and poured through the books of your predecessors in this niche of landscape photography--and have several friends and acquaintances that still do this type of work who also make a great living from it. It is just a type of photography that I didn't find a connection with--after an initial infatuation with it--except that it is, in fact, pretty. They just seems to blend with the others and fade for me once I have seen them while I can still feel the wonderful experiences I have had in the landscape that weren't photographed.

As I read what you wrote above in response to Alex and me, I basically don't disagree with anything you say here, in fact I think it describes your niche of the genre very well. But I know that one can find ways to make their work in the landscape more personal and original as I see it all the time, but agree it is more rare in this particular niche of the genre--and generally it wont get the same sort of response from the masses.

But seriously, more power to you--and to my friends--that do this sort of work and love doing it, we should all be doing what we love.

Anders Hingel
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Marc, thanks for your explanation on why you choose the blurred water. You see it as a necessary way into the scene that should not disturb the vision of what is meant to be the real interest of the scene. We had a similar argumentation in an earlier POW, that of Defying Time of Marianna Safronova (Colosseum) where a fairly uninteresting pathway seemly played the same role.
I understand fully the compositional function of such elements in photos, but in my eyes if that element is rendered into an uninteresting surface of uniformed colors and contrast the whole scene suffers. I would personally rather see the real thing and deal, as viewer, with the visual noise (as you describe it) of the forefront.
In this picture, as far as I see it, there is no danger of missing the points and not seeing the green and the high rocks. The viewer is immediately confronted to the main elements and do not need much leading by strong forefront perspectives. The scene could be totally flat and we were still be admiring the scene, without drifting down the stream.

Debra Harder
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Hi Mark...This is absolutely beautiful. Your work is truly phenomenal. IMHO...I've seen a lot of landscape photographers' work and you're the best. Those that claim it's just a "pretty picture" have no clue what it takes to produce an image such as this. Not only does one need to the study the area, the light, weather patterns, etc., but also have the determination to get out there time and time again for the perfect shot. When I see your work, I just want to push myself harder. Thanks for the inspiration!

John A
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

"How to shoot moving water."

Before the web and photo sharing sites, I think people certainly paid attention to their technique for shooting water but I do think we are much more sensitive now that we see so many images, especially those using the soft, silky water effect that is so prevalent--dare I say over used--these days.

Before digital and the ability to crank up an iso to 3200 at will, sometimes the decision would be made for you--especially with larger format cameras and slow films when in dark places like Oneonta Gorge here. Shooting with LF in such places, many times you were left with choices between 1 minute or a 3 minute exposure to get the depth of field you might need for any given shot. The choice wasn't going to yield a lot of difference in the water moving so quickly and so you evaluated the image you created to see if it worked or not when it was developed. Then you either filed it away or printed it, end of story.

And maybe bottom line that is how I evaluate any water in a scene. Here, I didn't see the gratuitous treatment of the water or even a sense of the artificial. I think there is still a lot of detail in the water--variations in tone and distinct patterns. One might even find the washboard effect of the water distracting, but knowing this gorge and how shallow and rocky the water is in many places (can run nearly dry at times), I think it is certainly in the ballpark of what the eye would see. Our eyes don't see water frozen when it is moving fast and so I think there is a "natural" range--not that that is even a criteria. If it works with the image, then that is the bottom line.

Jeremy Jackson
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I think there is a lot to talk about here. But I agree entirely with you Marc that you have to be serious about landscape photography to see it. This is what I see:
1) Location: We are not shown a new place here, but you do show us a place in conditions that we have not seen before. These conditions are not enormously special but it did take foresight to identify this combination of conditions and place.
2) Composition: I feel like the image could really use something to draw the attention. To me, that's what the image lacks. My eye does not really know where to look here. I suppose we are pointed into the center of the frame but the wet logs we find there just don't stand out enough for me.
3) Decisive moment: The key is that the moment matches the overall emotional/expressive objective.
4) Artistry: Because the point of the image was to give us the feeling we get in these sorts of places under these conditions, it is an artistic success. But only to those that CAN or DO feel for these kinds of places. Some people are not capable of connecting to a landscape in this kind of way. That may be why these sorts of images leave them flat. What is just a pretty picture to someone with limited connection to the place is deeply moving and meaningul to someone else. Just because it's pretty does not mean it isn't art.
5) Effort: Not great here because the place is easily accessible. The effort is in the waiting for the right moment.
6) Technique: As always, exceptional. But a bigger sensor/film surface would add here.
Overall, this image is one in a portfolio that is amongst the greatest in the world in this style. The entire portfolio is modern, contains new developments in photogrpahic style and has represented for many something to aspire to.
To say this is just another pretty picture is to deeply misunderstand what it takes to do this. This is nothing like a postcard picture and the portfolio has not been done before. This work is objectively superior and special. JJ

Bobby Karimipoor
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus This is a nice view shot with wonderful colour tones.The green tones are really eye-catching and the foggy and muggy weather showed as well as possible.I like this rendition and the camera angle,too.Nice POW!...Best regards(Bobby).

Eduardo Agustin Carrasco
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

very nice shoot, well done

Anders Hingel
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Jeremy, when you write, referring to the portfolio of Marc, that:

This work is objectively superior and special

I'm not sure I totally can agree.
Personally I find that "it is a nice photo for what it is--just not something I can get excited about" in line with John A's first appreciation above.
But the POW is not just another photo among the many of Marc. It is far less colorful than others in his portfolio where most photos are much more over-saturated (in my eyes) - like for example the Oregon Autumn.

Mostly these landscape pictures are not "my cup of tea", although they surely might sell well, but some stand out as more exceptional. Go and look at photos of Marc like Life in the trees or Last Words or Life among Death and you will see scenes of more depth than the POW we discuss here - as far as I see it.

Alex S.
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

The gloppy blurred water makes this perfect for a condolence card. There is something eternal in feeling about blurred water than nice clear ripples. Wallace Stevens wrote in "Sunday Morning" :

Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?

But that aside, I find the gloppy--blurred--water a distraction. The cliffs and the waterfall are the things you focus on. They are beautiful. The gloppy water coming at you like soap suds is too much.

But on a condolence card it might work.

Gordon JB
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

if I understand Jeremy's comment correctly I would have to disagree with him as regards the need to be serious about landscape photography to see the merits of this image or of Marc's work. I rarely shoot landscapes and even more rarely browse them. Generally I find viewing landscape photos unfulfillling. In many instances even the best of them seem to rise to a certain level of technical proficiency along with a standard landscape composition approach and there they remain. Despite my lack of study in this genre I have no difficulty in identifying Marc's body of work as a cut above. I find that many of Marc's landscapes do possess soul and it is this soul that helps to set them apart, to raise them above the standard of " just another pretty picture of a pretty place "

The vantage point in the stream along with the choice to use a shutter speed which closely replicates the sensation of water rushing closely past, puts me in the scene. A lot of the techniques which Marc has studied, perfected and in many instances advanced, all seem to serve the same end and that is to put me into the landscape, to have me leave viewing the image with a sense of having interacted with the scene. I think that a lot of what leaves me cold with landscape photography is a pervasive sense of distance and detachment. That 'outside looking in' aspect keeps me at arms length. The wonderful thing which Marc's photos achieve for me is that many of them bring me in and engage me. When I view these landscapes I see something beyond simply being presented with a beautiful image of some piece of the planet. I sense a purpose behind the presentation, a motivation to communicate. Something more personal is being conveyed by the photographer than the standard, I was here and took a photo of this. Postcards are generally lifeless captures of a spot on the map, the images in Marc's folders speak of a man and his vision. Congrats Marc on your second potw selection.

Jeremy Jackson
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Hi Anders, I was talking about Marc's portfolio when I said his work is objectively superior. Sorry for the lack of clarity. I agree, this image lacks in some areas. I mentioned a few in my post and I appreciate your points as well.

Gordon, IMO true understanding can not be gained from looking at the image itself. It takes an understanding of what goes into making an image to really appreciate it. I think this is what Marc is saying and it is with this that I agree. If you have been developing and conceiving an image for years, identified a place where you think the image can be made, selected the right time to make the image, tried to predict the conditions under which the image will convey the mood you have envisioned, travelled 5,000 miles by car to the location you have chosen, hiked for 14 hours through brutal brush in -20 temperatures, waited in the snow, cold and sleet for days and then had your camera fail at the perfect moment, you then understand at a different level what it takes to make just one image in a portfolio of hundreds. When I look at a landscape portfolio, I see these sorts of things. I know where the places are, I know how rare the conditions are, I know about the arthritic pain in the back, neck and shoulders, I know about the blown-out knees, the bug-infested meadows, the cost, the frustration, the vagaries of weather and on and on it goes. These things represent a sacrifice. Only some people are willing to make this kind of sacrifice and Marc is one of them. I deeply respect him as a landscape photographer for that. So while I agree that on some level Marc's work is obviously superior, there are other more subtle issues that only an experienced landscape photographer can fully appreciate. What may be just another pretty, over-saturated lake not worth a second look to the inexperienced, could be Talus Lake in the Tombstone mountains to someone who knows. And a picture of Talus Lake is not just another pretty picture. Best, JJ

Fred G
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Respecting someone's drive and sacrifices is a very different matter from being moved by their photographs themselves.

Ever see Amadeus or read the story of Mozart? Salieri, Mozart's contemporary, worked a lot harder and dedicated himself in a way that Mozart did not. Salieri sacrificed. Mozart had more privilege. Mozart was, in many respects, a precocious and immature kid. But he had a gift for writing music. Salieri did not. No amount of hard work could have brought Salieri to the musical reaches of Mozart. Did Mozart work hard? Yes. Did that help his art? Yes. I can appreciate Salieri's harder work and dedication. There's a very human story there, and Salieri is to be admired for his grit and for trying so hard. But it affects not one bit whether or not his music is any good or moves me. The story of Salieri is what moves me. Not his music. Mozart's music moves me, story or no story. Does Mozart's story enhance my understanding of his music? Yes. But it doesn't make it great and it doesn't make it art. And I don't need to know the story in order to appreciate the music. I don't need to know how this photo was made, how many bones may have been broken in the process, or how many hours were spent on it to appreciate it.

I can spend countless hours setting up a shoot and endless days working on a photo in post processing. And I can snap my shutter, spontaneously, in an instant and come up with something equally as significant.

As for landscape photography. Jeremy's #4 stood out to me. It is, in great part, because these kinds of places are so special and move me so much that I usually don't like or appreciate photos of them. To assume that people who don't like landscape photos haven't bonded with these kinds of places is simply ridiculous. Such photos rarely seem to capture the "spirit" of the place. They usually capture a very superficial kind of beauty. That's what all this talk of "pretty" is to me. It's superficiality. Remember the old adage: Beauty is only skin deep. As Alex so poignantly points out by quoting Stevens, essences of such places are rarely so perfect as they are made to appear in what are often too-easy-to-digest representations. Idealization doesn't move me that often. Find some of the imperfections and incorporate some flesh into the spirit and you might show me something I care about.

[This is a response to claims made in this thread which I think miss the mark of what's significant in photography or art. It's not a comment on Marc's work as a whole or this photo in particular.]

Anders Hingel
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Fred I very much agree with you and has as you liked the story about Salieri and Mozart. It is a good piece of learning for those that believe that art, or more modestly quality photography, is ensured by climbing higher mountains than other photographers, carrying heavier bags, or having access to newly discovered places.
However, that "prettiness" or beauty is equal to superficiality, is just as superficial as to say : "Beauty is only skin deep". The same could be said for ugliness and repulsiveness - and would be an equally superficial statement.

Fred G
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Anders, mere prettiness is superficial, as found in Abercrombie and Fitch catalogs and on many postcards. The "beauty" I was referring to that is skin deep is that kind of prettiness. Maybe I did not make that clear and I am happy to rephrase it. Real "beauty," for instance in the Platonic sense, is another matter. It is about more than superficial looks . . . involves harmony and purpose. I am much more interested in that kind of beauty that what I have called superficial prettiness. I agree with you that the counterpart of prettiness (which is simple grit and grime without substance) is also superficial. Many photographers think that by shooting either a pretty girl or a dirty street they have automatically accomplished something. Each needs some depth to matter.

Gordon JB
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Respecting someone's drive and sacrifices is a very different matter from being moved by their photographs themselves.

While I agree with the distinction, I do believe that an understanding of the former can impact appreciation of the latter. While it would be foolish to award the merit of an image based entirely on the difficulty under which it was taken, the circumstances under which the photo was made do have a bearing on the appreciation of the photo for many people in many instances. Some part of the impact of images made in a war zone come from the knowledge that the photo was taken under extreme circumstances, our viewing is informed by a knowledge of that circumstance.
If a landscape photographer expects his images to move people based on how hard he worked to get those images rather than based on the images themselves he will be disappointed. However I do not think it is an either/or situation. When I present one of my native orchid photos I do not expect a positive reaction based on the number of insect bites I suffered clambering through a spring swamp or how early I had to get out of bed to get to the site at dawn when the air was still and the light perfect. I do strive to have some of that drive and dedication come through in the quality of the final image, where it counts. The hope being that what moved me as a photographer is something which I have managed to convey to the viewer thus moving the viewer, otherwise the drive and sacrifice were pointless. That being said, there are fellow orchid geeks whom I do know have a special level of understanding for how rare a particular species may be along with the knowledge of how far the travel etc. involved in obtaining the photo. I think this is what Jeremy is getting at with appreciation of landscape photography by landscape photographers. The blanket application of his assertion notwithstanding, I do think the circumstances of the image capture can and do effect the viewers evaluation of the resulting image.

Fred G
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I do not think it is an either/or situation. . . . I do strive to have some of that drive and dedication come through in the quality of the final image, where it counts. The hope being that what moved me as a photographer is something which I have managed to convey to the viewer thus moving the viewer, otherwise the drive and sacrifice were pointless. I do think the circumstances of the image capture can and do effect the viewers evaluation of the resulting image.

Yes! The effect of circumstances and/or the story behind a photo are not black and white issues. A discussion of these matters needs to be nuanced. Context is important and many factors are at play, depending on the type of photo and the situation of the viewing and the actual photo we're talking about and the particular circumstances around that photo that are being talked about. That's why these discussions can be so helpful. None of us should be complacent enough to think that these things are simply one way or the other. They are worth considering from a variety of angles and perspectives, just like most subjects of photos.

Ken Papai
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I love this photo with a couple minor reservations:

* It's too small to be really appreciated online (only 600 px high); even Facebook allows for 720 px. I still fail to see the reason to post this tiny.
* Too bad the EXIF is stripped (but it is a 10 sec. exposure)
* it's borderless, so the impact is way too simple; it needs "setting off"

Regardless, being a dweeb I have to mention this. I cannot tell this is taken in a rain downpour. I love the greens and the composition and the perfect exposure. Printed large this would be a beautiful, tight landscape to hang on the wall.

Bravo Marc!

Anders Hingel
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I am much more interested in that kind of beauty that what I have called superficial prettiness.

We agree on this Fred. Sorry to have misread you.

John A
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Context is an important part of the appreciation of art but I think Fred hit it on the head, not every piece of information about an image is relevant to its success as a visual. Similar pieces of information might be important in one case and not in another, we have to differentiate between those circumstances. We also have to distinguish between interesting anecdotes or details that are important to us because of our specific interests and those that actually inform the image as a visual. And then, of course, the purpose in which the image is employed might make something otherwise irrelevant to the visual success of the image into the very reason it exists--as being the best "available" illustration of something specific, for instance.

Gordon sort of hit it on the head in a way for me when he suggested the Geek thing with regards to his orchid imagery. We are all geeks at something most likely and I don't think we can expect everyone else to join in our geekness nor can we expect an image that thrills us is actually anything of visual value otherwise--although it certainly could be. But as to Jeremy's point regarding connecting with the land I think there has to be a recognition, as Fred suggested in his comment, that people just relate differently to the same thing. Although I don't know if Fred's connection to the landscape is the same as mine and certainly not the same as Jeremy's apparently, it doesn't mean that any of us have a lesser connection to the land, just a different one.

(this comment was not in any way related to this image, but in response to the issues that have been raised here otherwise)

Jeremy Jackson
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I agree Fred, drive is not the only factor. I agree that respecting effort and being moved are different. I underlined this in my original post when I listed multiple, different criteria for evaluating this image. IMO an image should be evaluated on numerous levels; being moved is one of them but it is highly subjective, idiosyncratic and often has little to do with how well something was done. This is why I don't consider it that big of a deal when evaluating GR style landscape photography. When evaluating other forms of art I give it more credibility I suppose.

The point was that to REALLY appreciate something, knowing more deeply about it is important. I think that is fair and somewhat obvious actually. Marc's work is obviously appealing but can be appreciated more deeply if the endeavor is fully understood. It is a matter of degree not absolutes. I played the slow movement of Mozart's clarinet concerto in a major to a very large audience when I was 7. When I listen to it now, I hear all sorts of things that others don't and I am moved in all sorts of ways (good and bad) others are not. I appreciate the music at a different level than others because of my knowledge of it and experience with it. But I must say that my own knowledge of wind instrument technique does influence my emotional response a great deal. I love Wynton Marsalis for his classical work even though one might say this is not his forte. His phrasing simply makes me weep at times. It is all at once technical and artistic. It is everything that is needed coming together to make a more elevated sound. And as someone that has done the painful work that is necessary, I think I hear what he is doing, respect it and react to it much differently than say a pianist would. This is what I see in Marc's work. Certainly there may be elements missing at times, but I think he does so many things so well and these things all come together to produce something that is much more than an effortful, pretty picture.

I was also talking specifically about landscape photography. I was not talking about other forms of photography, music or painting. That is because, IME, effort is typically respected in landscape photography. This is not a logical point. It just happens to be the case that landscape photographers that go to greater lengths to make images others will not tend to gain respect for this within the community.

Thank you Fred for bringing up the idea of pretty and it's relationship to superficiality. Let's ask whether the phrase "Oh, this is just another superficial landscape" is a reasonable statement to make about this image. I don't think so. My point #4 was to suggest that there is depth here in the sense that the image was made with the purpose of conveying to the viewer something deeper than what was captured on the sensor. Marc said he had something deeper in mind when he chose his method here and I believe that is true.

But is it VERY deep? I think we probably agree Fred. I would not say that depth is a significant feature in this form landscape photography. If there is anything about this style of work that detracts from it, I would agree that it is not the most expressive or artistic form of photography (or at least lets say it's massively difficult to be soulful, expressive, demonstrate purpose, create mystery, etc. when one is taking a sharp, colour image of a grand landscape). But it is what turns me on. I imagine that makes me an artistic troglodyte to some. But to quote emperor Joseph II from the movie Amadeus, "There it is". Best, JJ

John A
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

As I read your entry here Jeremy, regarding the effort thing, I can't help but think back to one of the Adam's landscape workshops I was at back in the early 80's. Each instructor, on sequential nights, got up and made a presentation about their work and their own way of working. Towards the end of the week, it was Jay Dusard's turn and he opened up with a nod to two of the other instructors who had spoken before him. He ended his acknowledgement of their efforts with a quip I thought summed up this whole matter rather well and put it in perspective. He said how he admired Phillip Hyde's and Bruce Barnbaum's tenacity to hike miles and sleep in adverse conditions to get their shots but long ago he himself had adopted the philosophy that, "if I can't drive to it, screw it!"

Mark Alder
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Art is an interesting thing; it seems that people love it or hate it but few are in between. I think this photo is excellent and wish that my work was this good.

Raghuveer Makala
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Congrats to Marc "again" for the POW!
This shot is definitely beautiful and unique in it's own way! Of course, Marc has many many more eye-popping pics as anybody can see from his gallery.
The "Elves" indeed picked a good pic as POW, as it has attracted lots of "different" comments and discussion....... They're mischievous indeed!

paul langereis
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Hi Marc. I know that some people would consider this kind of work sort of passe, but I am not one of them as I love to shoot landscapes. I have always admired the effort you put into each shot, and it is obvious to me that you do spend the time at each place thinking about lighting, and composition. You are obviously very dedicated to your genre, and i am pleased that you make good money doing this kind of work. Your images are stunning to me, and they inspire me to become more dedicated in terms on analysis of light and composition. Keep up the great work, Marc! All the best.

C Jacobs
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I think that this image receives criticism due to a technical problem. The long exposure brings the 4th dimension into this image (and it is hard enough to try to map the 3-D to 2-D as it is). Certainly the treatment of the water falls and the stream bed is technically sound, but the rainfall and mist that are part of the live scene just can't be captured in a time exposure. In fact, they simply average out to a general dullness that one tries to eliminate in the post processing. At life-speed, mists move in the breezes and sometimes you get a crystal clear glimpse of distance and other times they coalesce and your vision is obscured. Even in a rain storm you will see much more detail of the distance with your own eyes than you can with a photographic long exposure. Just think of this effect in the extreme - a snowstorm - the time exposure will eventually look like a whiteout even in light snow.
That is why, in my opinion, this image requires the story in order to be fully appreciated. Of course with the story you can get the feeling of the moving moisture in the surroundings.
Of course that brings up the question - Just how much can the background story do to elevate the image?

Kristina Kraft
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Although this kind of photos are done zillion times, for me it is a kind of groundbreaking and innovative image in this field. Rendering of the light, water, moss and mist gives an extraordinary beautiful image that can invoke all kinds of feelings in a viewer.
Kind regards,

Marc Adamus
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

>> "In fact, they simply average out to a general dullness that one tries to eliminate in the post processing."
No, not at all. I tried to enhance the mistiness and fog as much as possible in post processing because it's what adds the 3'rd visual dimension - depth.

>> "Certainly the treatment of the water falls and the stream bed is technically sound, but the rainfall and mist that are part of the live scene just can't be captured in a time exposure."
Yes, the rainfall could have been captured. But what you may be missing is the fact that if I had captured it, there would be no depth. It would be a flat image with no mist. It's the rain throughout a long exposure that makes mist.

>> "Even in a rain storm you will see much more detail of the distance with your own eyes than you can with a photographic long exposure."
Yes, which is why I wanted a long exposure. I didn't want to be able to see as far, as clearly. The creation of mist, or 'dullness', as you put it is the most important element in this scene IMO. Without it, it's just another picture with no sense of depth and distance. Just look at the works of a landscape painter, for example. The HRS comes to mind. Look at the way contrasts are subdued in the distance to give the sensation of a 3rd dimension and you'll see what I'm talking about.

>> "At life-speed, mists move in the breezes and sometimes you get a crystal clear glimpse of distance and other times they coalesce and your vision is obscured."
True, and if there really was mists here and they were moving, video would have been a better way to capture it.

Andrew Aungthwin
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Jeremy Jackson
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Just how much can the background story do to elevate the image? Good question. We can talk about it ad nauseam or we could use a scientific method to address the question. Randomly assign subjects to 2 groups. 1 group gets the image alone; the other gets the image and a background story. Ask both groups to rate the image on a number of factors (artistry, appeal, aesthetics, etc) and compare the responses of the two groups. Any differences give a somewhat objective, numerical statement of the amount that the background story influences the assessment of the image. That's how a social scientist would attack this kind of question. Best, JJ

Fred G
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Jeremy, the key point is that it may elevate the assessment of the image, which it is often meant to do, but not elevate the image itself. In some cases, the context and story is wrapped up with the image, as Gordon pointed out, and there it would be hard to separate the two. But in many cases, I'd maintain that effort, titles (like the title of a recent flower POW: "A Sense of Wonder"), and background story are meant to inflate the significance of the image when the image on its own simply wouldn't hold up. By no means is that ALWAYS the case, but it's often quite transparent when it IS the case.

Rob Wilson
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Just to add my 2p worth...

I think that this is a pretty fine shot. I think it's missing something from the foreground to make it complete, but is a still attractive to look at. It did immediately bring to mind Peter Dombrovskis' picture Rock Island Bend as someone above noted. It isn't quite that good (and that's no criticism really!), but I still like it a lot.


John Rowsell
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Marc, I appreciate your effort to take this photograph.
It shows how life flourishes in difficult spaces. I am amazed at the amount of plant life given the obviously low light levels. Your photo also illustrates that powerful and destructive natural forces created these spaces and now they are occupied by watercourses, abundant life and waterfalls- beauty has taken over destruction. It also shows how we haven't messed up this space yet.
Maybe someone else has photographed this location before but YOU brought it here for us to enjoy, and YOU did so in such a way that it informs us about nature and pleases us artistically at the same time. It makes me want to know more about this place and the plants and creatures that inhabit it. Nature is magnificent and you have captured it magnificently.
Thank you very much for sharing it.
Regards, John

Alex S.
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Bottom line. The gloppy water in the foreground kills the image. Cropping is not going to help. The scene has to be shot again with a fresh view. How? The photographer's problem.

Marc Adamus
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

It's your problem, Alex. You are the one who does not like it, not the photographer. No photographer can please everyone. I took many images with faster shutter speeds and did not like any of them as much. Sorry.

Stephen Penland
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I agree with Alex -- that gloppy water kills the image. The fresh view should show serene and calm water, reflections of some trees, a few interesting boulders showing just under the water's surface, a mother duck leading her little ducklings across in an arc, and the sun glistening in their wake. No need to thank me Marc; I was given inspiration.

John Rowsell
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Maybe the issue is the same as with people. Some like them as they are. Others like them with gaudy piercings and tattoos. You can't resolve personal taste through discussion; yet, that never seems to inhibit it here in the POW.

Alex S.
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I can take tattoos to a point and dislike body piercings. I don't like gloppy photographs. In this one the glop comes at you in the foreground and takes our attention away from the rest of the image, which is quite beautiful.

This is the sort of photograph that is naturally popular, imperfections notwithstanding.

John A
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Alex, I think as others have said here, it does seem to get down to personal preference--although leprechauns and ducks do seem like good ideas...;)) (yes, I am kidding!)

But early on the water here was discussed as being a lead into other things, some spoke of there being a specific subject and others no real subject and I guess I sort of come down on the fact that this image--and many in the genre (Marc's portfolio included)--don't really have distinct subjects but are about the whole as a whole--sort of a container of completeness. For instance, I don't see anything in and of itself that is distinguished in the photo here where my eye wants to rest or that suggests that "this is it". The waterfalls are not enough, the cliffs don't outweigh how the water is presented etc. So, I see this as a very descriptive image of the place at a certain time in certain conditions. As I said earlier, the water isn't an issue here for me.

People have mentioned this Peter Dombrovskis fellow a few times and I went and had a look. Certainly the genre here and the one Peter worked are similar but I also think they point out some differences from my way of thinking. Peter's work seems much more about describing things as they were found and in a sense are thus more open ended. I don't feel that the presentation or post has over ridden the reality or tried to push me any particular way. I look at them and I know I am being shown something that was as it was and the work I saw seems "objectively" artistic. This shot, and many of Marc's, is of a different sort altogether to me. I think that is maybe why I don't connect with them as well as I actually can with Peter's work (although we are talking degrees here--and even though I have spent much time in the location of this POW). In Peter's work, I feel invited to look around and discover. To look into the minutia and the insignificant and how everything relates. The sort of work that is embodied in this POW just seems to be about a more monocular interpretation, sort of closed ended as a visual in its totality as presented--maybe like a specific event. Certainly, when one connects, one might go off into another world, but if it isn't one's thing, it sort of dead ends. Even if one doesn't necessarily connect with the genre, Peter's visual itself allows for engagement in different ways, not just one. Even in Adams work, we not only see the power of the landscape, but we sense there is more and are generally left with the feeling of "what if we could see just a bit more or what is just over this or that rise or around that corner--I don't get that here, I think what we see is just what we are left with. That said, I do think if one connects with this sort of imagery, it is probably much more exciting for those who do than Peter's work but that connection and a certain type of relationship with the land is essential.

I am not trying to cause any more animosity or boorish (rude comments about others who don't agree that are persistent by some) behavior by any of this, just maybe trying to dig out the reason why there might be a divide between those who do and who don't connect with this sort of work. Myself, I always take these opportunities to try and understand why we see differently, not chastise or diminish those who don't see the same as I.

Stephen Penland
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

I've been on the receiving end of comments from one of the contributors to this discussion in the past, and I was told that my view of a particular subject was entirely wrong, that my approach to photographing the subject was entirely wrong, that I should throw out all of the photos I've ever taken of the subject and start over again (and this time do it in the fashion that the person writing the comment thought it should be done). When I see similar comments appearing on this POW, it just doesn't set well with me. I'll try to bury it.

I've greatly appreciated the discussion among Jeremy J., Fred G., John A., Gordon B., and others on the nature of landscape photography and why some folks tend to really go for it while others tend in the opposite direction. Much seems to center on the idea of "depth." This has come up in the past, and over time I've concluded that a lot of landscape photography doesn't have the amount or kind of "depth" that other primary photographic subjects more commonly have (I'm especially struck by some street and portrait photography in this regard). I think John A. said essentially the same thing, and I think Jeremy J. and Fred G. were in general agreement on this issue (I hope I haven't misrepresented anyone's opinion here). I think I understand this point, I understand the importance it has for many people, and while I can share an appreciation of this attribute when it does appear in a photograph, I also understand why I can thoroughly enjoy a landscape photograph that does not necessarily manifest "depth" and instead rests on strong natural aesthetics (yes, a pretty picture).

I also believe those who celebrate depth and those who celebrate beauty in a photograph have far more in common regarding photography than we initially imagine, but that commonality is a bit harder to define and describe. But it's there.

I'm particularly intrigued by John A.'s past involvement in landscape photography that has now transitioned to other subjects. That's why I always pay particular attention to what John writes in these posts, hoping to gain some insight into his view of landscape photography that might help me better understand and articulate my own assumptions, views, and understandings related to my own photography. Jeremy J. has done the same for me in the past, and it has been helpful and much appreciated. I've gained much from two people who have differing views on the same subject.

IMO, two of Marc's most striking characteristics that appear in his photography are 1) the lengths he will go and the hardships he will endure to get a landscape or environmental photograph, and 2) his almost unique processing techniques that control the distribution of light in a photograph. In my mind, this second point is not to be considered manipulation as much as it is Marc's personal form of HDR photography. My only hesitation is that this technique sometimes, IMO, produces an artistic signature, and one can identify Marc's photo from across the room simply because it "has the look." I honestly don't know if that's good, bad, or inconsequential, and I wonder if Marc thinks his photos have sometimes/often have an "Adamus signature."

As for the POW itself, from my first look I've thought this photo to be relatively rare, and I could not understand some of the impressions saying it's been done many times before. I just don't know that many landscape photographers who wade up a river being fed by snowmelt in a driving rain. I intuitively saw that in Marc's photograph, and yes, it did influence how I viewed it. No one had to explain to me how the photo was created and under what circumstances -- I could see it all in the photograph itself. From my point of view, that was a part of the photograph from the very beginning. The river is what it is because of its source and because of the rain. It's not the draw for me; that lies in the mist, rocks, moss, broken light and shade, and increasing light beyond. I had a very positive impression of the photograph before it was selected as the POW, and I still have that positive impression. I also like the discussion and differing points of view it has generated, which is what a good POW should do.

Ben Huybrechts
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Hello Marc,
Fantastic picture, and as i have said before, I will come back many times to your portfolio to learn from the best.
Just a quick comment from personal experience, on the fact that you got some negative critiques on this picture. The best art has always people pro and contra, consider it a confirmation that you are at the top.
We have a saying in Belgium, high trees catch a lot of wind ....

Fred G
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

[Again, not talking about Marc, his work, or this photograph.]

Ben's and Rashed's sayings suggest that anything someone critiques negatively must be better than their own work. That makes critiquing impossible. I prefer a discerning viewer and a dialogue with different opinions and tastes to the homogeneity they are both suggesting.

Ben says, "The best art has always people pro and contra, consider it a confirmation that you are at the top." Of course, it's also true that the worst crap has always people pro and contra. The fact that opinions vary about something means only that we're human and tastes and vision differs. It doesn't mean something is good, or art, or good art.

Josh Root
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Hi folks,

Just a heads up.

Wasting POTW conversation with either generic "nice shot" compliments or personal attacks will get you booted from the discussion going forward.

There is nothing wrong with giving a "nice shot" type comment, plenty of people love getting those comments about their images, but that isn't what the POTW is for. If you want to compliment the photographer, send him/her a personal message or just leave a compliment on their portfolio. The POTW discussion is supposed to be an in depth discussion of the image itself, not just a place for praise.

As for personal attacks, while it should be obvious that we don't allow that sort of thing on PN at all, the fact goes double when we are discussing something that is likely to have wildly differing opinions. In the POTW, there has to be space for someone to say "the long shutter speed look of this water kills the image for me" as well as "the long shutter speed look of the water evokes a sense of calm and wonder that brings me back to childhood" or some such thing. Nobody is stupid for thinking one thing or another, nobody is jealous just because they don't connect with an image, and nobody is a suck-up just because they love an image.

You guys are all great at discussing images and photographic concepts and the POTW can be the best example of that on the site (along with perhaps the philosophy forum). I'm not lying when I say that. But we need to keep both extremes (praise and personal scorn) stomped down for that to happen.

Alberta P.
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Overwhelming. What should be an informative, easy read of the strengths and weakness in a selected photo of the week as found by the Photo.net community has evolved into a very long-winded and often off-topic discussion that too often pits members against each other.
That said, about this photo - not any other in this PN member's portfolio - not how he had to wade through trecherous waters in inclement weather to get it - just this photo
It made me immediately want to download it and apply a PhotoShop Auto Tone filter and crop out the bottom part of the river. And I liked the result much better.
Marc, you took your shot and at the time I'm sure you were very pleased with it. But I'm almost certain that sometime since that shooting you've looked at it and wondered if a bit more contrast and a crop wouldn't improve it.
Or not.
Cheers ~
(beauty is in the eye of the beholder) Alberta

Ken Thalheimer
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Beautifully done "As is" Marc

Marc Adamus
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Quite frankly, I never saw any personal attacks or anything off-topic about the discussion above. I thought it was neat how people expressed their thoughts on the art, like it or not.

Fred G
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Marc, some of the statements Josh is referring to have been deleted.

Jeremy Jackson
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

John, I think that is a very clear characterization of the differences between Marc's work and, let's say, more classical landscape photography. You mentioned that the classical style is more interesting to you because you appreciate the opportunity to look for nuance and perhaps project your own way of seeing in to the image. That makes sense to me given your previous commentary on pnet. You also mentioned that you find it interesting to learn about how/why others see in the way they do. My own approach to landscape photography is to place more emphasis on the photographer than on my own relationship with or reaction to an image. I am interested mostly in what the photographer wants to show us (why they chose to push us more in one direction than the other, for instance) and on their technical, compositional, artistic and physical approach. But I certainly do want to see a mystery as well. To me, images that are visually simple and also create a sense of mystery about what is around the next corner are very good. This is what I like to look at. If I think about the images that are most memorable to me, they vary a lot. Some are technically appealing, some appeal because of composition, some because of artistic approach, etc. There are none that I can think of that are of the open-ended type you describe. Maybe I'm just too lazy to want to really work for it. Could be. In any case, thank you for your last post. It gave me something very interesting to think about this weekend. Cheers, JJ

Anton Gorlin
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

what I like:

what I do not like:

George Hamilton
Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

Wow, what a stunning photo. The falling water and the water in the foreground makes the scene come alive.
Also, the light filtering in and nestling softly on the canyon walls adds to the beauty of the photo. It's such a peaceful scene.
I rarely travel. My hat off to the photographers who take these beautiful photos and share it with others. What a beautiful creator God is. Thank you Mark for this great photo, you have an eye for detail.

Paul Greenwood
Response to Rainforest Canyon by Marc Adamus

In my mind this photo takes you to a place you want to be. Has beauty, mystery and is adjusted to fit the mood. The foreground water effect is somewhat of a letdown visually, yet adds more interest to the deeper regions....

Marc Adamus
Rainforest Canyon I have seen a lot of photographs of Oregon's unique Oneonta Gorge. I have taken a lot too. Over many years, I have found one favorite way to shoot it - in the pouring rain. I came out here many times and finally, on the heels of two days of rain as it was, got the type of deluge I was looking for. The effect of the rainfall on a 10-second exposure is the misty atmosphere you see here and the additional side waterfalls which rarely occur within the canyon. For me it brings about the essence of the temperate rainforest.

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