Upload & Sell: On
I'm no landscape master but here's my 2 cents.
- First, what you have here is not a "bad" image. It could look very nice printed big and hung on a wall at home. It could even be hanging on a wall in a nice hotel and nobody is going to think "man, who put that ugly thing in here!?" So if that is your bar/point of comparison/goal, then I think you probably made it.
- If, however, you want to look at your image as compared to the very best landscape photography out there (a tough goal; there is a lot), then that is where many little things start to accumulate in your image and prevent it from reaching that level. Here are a few of the things that I see, none of which is necessarily the kiss of death but when summed up begin to reduce the impact of the image:
* As has already been mentioned, you sort of set up a stage there on the middle left but there is nothing on it other than a rather distant view of the mist/fog.
* You give us a very slim view of the river/stream and since there is no other really dominant feature, I really want a better view of it. The straw bales or logs also have an implication of looking out onto the water but you don't let me do that.
* The sun through the trees is nice but a little high in the frame to be a nice focal point. IMO you don't always need to slavishly follow the rule-of-thirds but it's usually a good idea to ask yourself why you didn't.
* The dead branches in the foreground lead my eye out of the frame and again almost tease me that there is something off-frame that you are not letting me see. For the first several times I looked at your image, I thought those branches were the roots from a tree off to the right.
* That little splash of light/color in the bottom right has some nice elements but it just doesn't seem strong/big/well positioned enough in the composition to carry the image. Those dead tree branches kind of disturb it as well.
* I'm pretty certain that you had the camera straight but the non-level hill-line gives me the impression that the image is not straight, even when I consciously tell myself that it is. That impression ruins some of the "intent"/"purposefulness" that I expect to feel from a shot like this.
* The tree trunk on the far-left is cropped very thinly into the frame. I would like to see a more decisive crop to either include the trunk or leave it out.
Beyond those observations I can't help but think about a recommendation that Scott Kelby mentioned in a composition seminar he did. His recommendation was "don't be afraid to work the scene". It is the rare pro that just shows up, sees the magical, perfect shot/composition at first glance, snaps the shutter, and goes home. Most spend quite a bit of time exploring the scene with both their eyes and the camera, shooting high and low, experimenting with different in-camera framing, trying different exposures, etc.. Sometimes the best shot is the one they had in mind when they first arrived and sometimes they are pleasantly surprised to find something great that was completely unexpected.
I mention this for two reasons:
- I am guilty of this myself, either because of being rushed and not having enough time or being lazy and not taking the time.
- I see many elements in your shot that look like they would have been worth exploring separately with your camera:
* That spot of light/color in the grass/leaves in the foregound - both with and without the dead branches.
* That framed "stage" on the middle left but with a better view of the stream and perhaps with that log/bale in the ROT spot.
* The light coming through the trees.
* That almost symmetrical view of the three logs/bales on the right and "their view" of the stream. Seems like that might have almost produced an interesting triptych-like view of the stream and mist.
* A more intense study of the color contrast between green, gold, blue, and cyan.
* A more intense study of the splotches of light, color, and shadow on the ground and in the trees.
Anyway, just wanted to give you some ideas and maybe help you look for things when you compare your image to other landscapes. Have fun and keep shooting.
P.S. I totally agree with the recommendation to post in the landscape forum and get input from those folks. The only thing I would add is to make very clear that you really want honest feedback and that your skin is think enough to take it. The landscape folks (as opposed to the sports guys ) tend to be extra-polite unless you make it clear that you are learning and want good, honest feedback.