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Photo Critique 5/21/2021

This Friday’s photo critique is another one from my portfolio. I wanted to share a little backstory on this one as it has been one of my more popular photos to date. The photo was taken during sunrise over the Willamette river. Oddly enough, this morning was dedicated to testing out a new lens that I had just received, my NIKKOR 70-200mm lens. Unfortunately, this lens was defective and had focus issues, so I was unable to get clean pictures with it this morning. If you are interested in more information on that whole debacle, you can take a look at this blog post on it.

1/13 second at F/11, ISO 100, 24mm (NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S)


Despite the frustrations of the morning with the new telephoto lens, I was still able to capture this shot with my 24-70mm lens. It has a row of rocks leading diagonally into the frame with a handful of fallen leaves on top. Additionally, it had slight reflections of the row of trees off in the distance. The rocks form a diagonal triangle leading the eye towards the tree line, and then the eyes follow the tree line through to the center of the frame. These items, along with the warmer, softer light of the sunrise create for a more pleasing image overall. Luckily, the sky also had plenty of cloud cover, without overdoing it to help to avoid the overpowering and empty space of a blue sky. The blue of the sky being a primary color tends to draw the eyes, and blue sky is typically not particularly interesting in a photo. This is something I try to avoid when out looking for good compositions.

One of the things that most stands out to me to improve about this photo is the lack if balance for the heights of the tree lines. I think the composition would have benefited by rotating the shot more to the right to balance out the tree line and bring the focal point a little more center frame. At the time I was trying to avoid showing too much of the docks on the left side but looking through this scene in more detail now it would have looked better to just include this from the start and exclude the scattered tall trees on the left of the scene. Another change I might make is use this as one of the few times that I throw an ND filter on the end of the lens so that a longer exposure could be taken of the river to smooth out the ripples a little more. This would also make the reflections of the trees more prominent. Who knows, maybe I will go back sometimes soon and capture this change and see how it turns out!

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