Michael Brocious's picture

An Alaskan weekend warrior looking for critique

Hello all,

First time poster here on Fstoppers. Over the past few months, I have been making an effort to get out in my free time to explore the huge state that I live in, Alaska, and work on my skills as an amateur photographer. I've attached a few images that I've taken to date. This time of year is a little more difficult to get great light conditions, as sunset/sunrise is extra late at night/early in the morning.

I would love to hear from others. Can you offer up any improvements I can make in my composition, shooting, post-processing, etc. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks, and looking forward to posting more in the future!

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user-187388's picture

You have a good eye for a photo Michael. Alaska would be a great place for photography I imagine.The colour in these seem a little blue of green and I am not great at colour correction so others could comment on that.The only criticism I have is that in the last pic I think the flowers in the foreground need to not cut into the shoreline of the lake. That line of trees would be better above the flowers.If you look up Sam Abell's talk on the life of a photograph you will pick up what I mean.

keep up the good work.

Michael Brocious's picture

Thank you, Geoff. I really appreciate the input.

You are right about the color correction - this is definitely something I can work on. One of my challenges in post is trying to balance a natural looking image while still making it eye-catching. Anybody have any advice on how to improve on this?

I also see what you are saying about the last photo. I could easily have created more separation between the layers of flowers, trees, and shoreline by just raising the camera a bit. I will definitely keep that in mind going forward.

Lorretta Clarke's picture

Wow lucky you living in Alaska - jealous. 1) Love the subject, not one that gets photographed a lot. I would say with multi-subjects, make sure that you take a shot with less bunching, ie Perhaps if you waited a second longer the guy in the biege jacket would have his own space - perhaps you should use high speed shooting in this situation. Normally In landscape you would have the horizon out of the center, but it is not strictly a landscape and therefore you have pictured the elements perfectly. 2) Love the second, I think it looks as though you used a long exposure on those clouds, if you did I would have suggested you took one with no long exposure and compared the two? 3) beautiful shot, nice colors and crop, only put a tiny bit of clarity in ps or lightroom on the mountain. 4th) too busy, and horizon smack in the middle - would have cropped in with fewer foreground elements to show the mountain more - lighting not great, wrong time of day?

Michael Brocious's picture

Lorretta, thank you very much for the comments and the well thought out critiques.
1) Good idea on shooting high speed continuous in this scenario. I captured a few images from this particular moment, but this was the least clumped. Continuous shooting most likely could have found a better placement.
2) No long exposure on this shot. The clouds and fog in the valleys there were beautifully dense and smooth - I wish I could have captured that a little better somehow. Any ideas?
3) I will give that a try!
4) Lighting is particularly difficult this time of year, as sunset was ~midnight, and the sun would rise again ~4 am. I have been trying to experiment with photographing the wildflowers. I still haven't quite figured out how to capture the flowers in detail, while still capturing the much larger scale of the mountains in the background.
Thank you again!

Sandro Loos's picture

Hey Michael.
Beautiful area you live in ;)

1. Pretty cool shot. Would work for an adventure company or quad rental. But like someone else already said, in situations like this maybe rapid fire so you get a shot where your subjects are more spread out in the picture and not bunched up in one spot.
Another thing i would try is to get a bit of the blue haze out of the mountains in the back. And (thats personal taste) i would add a tiny bit of contrast to the sky.

2. Great location and gorgeous shot. I'm a sucker for moody fog pictures. Only small complain for me is the empty foreground. Maybe get a bit closer to the water, go a bit wider and use a rock or ice thingy as a point of interest. Or change position to the left or right and find a tree or something to put in the foreground.

3. Great scene. Composition and colours work for me. But it looks a bit flat in some places. Like Loretta already mentioned, maybe add some local contrast or clarity.

4. Pretty busy shot that one. Again, maybe try to get a bit wider but closer to, lets say just the one flower to the right and use that as foreground interest. Change position to get the horizon out of the middle.

Just my 2 cents as an amateur ;). Keep going.

Michael Brocious's picture

Sandro, thank you for your input!
1. I was really loving the haze and rainy look happening in the mountains in the background. I do agree that some added contrast in the background could make it even more dramatic.
2. Oh I wish I thought of that! haha. There were kayaks and canoes on the beach that would have made a great foreground element.
3. Agreed. Some clarify in the mountains would help.
4. The centered horizon seems to be a common response. I will definitely be cognizant of that in the future!

Thank you!