Thorro Jones  

Valley Pond by Thorro Jones

January 2021 - Valley Pond

January 2021 - Thorro Jones


About the Image(s)

This photo was taken September 14, 2020 along State Highway CO-69 in southern Colorado. The pond was found along a two-lane highway on our National Parks road trip to Utah. If you have the time take two-lane roads when traveling as they get you closer the scenery than just zipping by on an interstate freeway. I tried to capture the feeling of isolation of the wide-open range and the reflection of the snow-covered mountains and the tree on the surface of the pond. This was a perfectly clear sky with no wind blowing. I just wished I had been able to capture the reflection of the tops of the mountains but there was no high spot in the area. I could have used a small step ladder, but I never thought of it when planning for this trip. I used Lightroom “Auto” to adjust the Tone along with changing the Clarity to +10, Dehaze to +10, Sharpening amount to 50 and the masking to 50. I then adjusted the Tone Curve to brighten the colors. In Photoshop I removed some out-of-place objects and used the Dodge tool to remove some of the shadow on the lone tree by the pond. Any suggestions to improve this picture are appreciated.
Image photo data: Nikon D7500 camera with NIKKOR 18-140 lens at 35mm; 1/500 sec at f16, ISO 400, no filters, no tripod.

8 comments posted

Jim Horn   Jim Horn
Thorro, you did capture the open range feeling. the fence posts and barbed wire tell that story and I'm glad you didn't try to clone them out. The only suggestion I have - might not work if this is private land. Instead of wishing you had a ladder, getting closer to the fence and holding the camera overhead might get you the whole mountain ridge in reflection. My view screen has a pivot which allows you to shoot overhead.
The saturation, exposure and focus are right-on. Cropping the tree on the left was the best thing to do, but the bushes with yellow make a good foreground. If you would have lowered your camera to your knee level you would have strong foreground, subject and background to show the distance. Jim   Posted: 01/02/2021 10:39:11

Thorro Jones   Thorro Jones
This was private land and there was another fence between me and the pond that I shot above. I did raise my camera up so that I could capture more of the snow-covered mountains reflecting on the pond's surface.
As to your suggestion regarding the foreground, this is something I know I need to consciously think about more when taking photos. Also, I need to work on better understanding my vision for the photos I take. In this case was it the wide expanse of the open range where a strong foreground subject would help or was it just about the snow-covered mountains and their reflection on the pond. Both would make great photos, but I would need to shoot them differently. I did try cropping the photo to make the fence and the yellow bushes a stronger foreground subject. Let me know what you think?
Thanks for helping me on my photography journey.   Posted: 01/05/2021 07:46:31
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Jim Horn   Jim Horn
Much better. The yellow bushes up front are setting the perspective of distance now. The grass added nothing so it is good to crop it off the bottom. Jim   Posted: 01/05/2021 09:04:09

Sam Fernando   Sam Fernando
Thorro, You have improved the original photo a lot. It is a wise decision to remove the tree on the left side. The reflection of the tree in the middle enhances the beauty of the image.

I am ok with keeping the fence posts, but the structure on the left near the water's edge (looks like a sort of ladder to me) needs to be cloned in my opinion.   Posted: 01/16/2021 03:00:33
Thorro Jones   Thorro Jones
Sam great suggestion. As many times as I looked at this photo, I never noticed how distracting the ladder was. I also removed the six utility poles reflecting on the pond surface. What do you think of this edit?   Posted: 01/16/2021 08:09:48
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John Tabaczynski   John Tabaczynski
Thorro, Your last edit looks the best to my eye. I like the image. I think it captures your intent of the wide open spaces. Your idea re the two different possible interpretations of the scene is a valid one. That is why I advocate working the scene. Take 25 images from different locations with different lenses. You can throw away the 23 that don't work. I wonder what you would see if you walked down the road to the right, looking back at your lone tree and its reflection along with a view of the peak near the edge of the image. Perhaps a tele could compress that scene into an interesting vertical conveying the impression of Mountains. But then again maybe you find the pond obscured by some tall bushes. Don't know until you try. Tab   Posted: 01/16/2021 13:23:06

Albert Zabin   Albert Zabin
Technically this photo is really very good. In 2019 I went to Yellow Stone and the Grand Tetons and I had similar composition challenges to yours. I would try to crop a good deal more off the bottom. My feeling is that the river with partial reflections of the mountains is a distraction also there seems to be an artifact on the right or it may that there is a wire fence across the stream. I would crop just a bit short of the little village. That way the height of the moutains isn't swallowed up. The panoramic format may also c onvey the spaciousness that you want.   Posted: 01/20/2021 15:11:45

Laura Lee Bartholomew   Laura Lee Bartholomew
I prefer your second edit with the foreground cropped up a bit more. It would be more effective if you were able to get the entire reflection of the peaks.

I don't think I would crop the river out completely. Doing so, in my opinion, would remove any focal point from the image.

Your color tones are definitely better than in the original, however, to my eye, the blue is a bit overpowering and might need some desaturation.   Posted: 01/24/2021 12:15:37


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