Photo Critique – Rainy Morning by John Rowe

Rainy Morning by John Rowe.

Rainy Morning by John Rowe.

I’ve selected the above photo, Rainy Morning by John Rowe, as the first photo to critique as part of my Flickr critique group. Thanks to all who have joined the group thus far! We have 24 group members now and I really enjoyed looking through the 35 images posted in the last month or so. It was a real challenge to select a photo. Several immediately jumped out at me as excellent photos, and in the end I selected John’s shot of cascades on the Cold River both because I like these kinds of shots and because I felt it would make a good image for the group to learn from. For having his image selected, John will receive a copy of a book of his choice from our website.

Kudos to John for finding this scene – the repeating cascades make an excellent subject. Two things stand out as well done in this photo. First, instead of shooting the falls head on, he shot them from the side which created the graceful curve the leads the eye from the bottom right into the rest of the photograph. This almost always results in a better photo than a line going straight across the middle of the photo, which would create a more static symmetrical design. Perfect symmetry may be perfectly balanced, but it usually makes for boring photos. The second element that makes this image work is the light. The diffuse light of a rainy day is great for waterfalls and forest scenes as it evenly lights the scene, eliminating the distracting contrast that can result from dappled sunlight, especially in the middle of the day. This even light allowed John to capture the richness of color in the forest without blowing out the highlights in the waterfalls. The key to making this light work in a situation like this one is to show as little of the white sky as possible, which John did here.

My guess is that John used a polarizer to reduce the glare of light reflecting off of the wet leaves and the surface of the water. This further enhanced the color saturation of the forest. There is still a little glare on some of the wet rocks of the cascade (a polarizer can’t polarize the light from every direction), but those are small enough not to detract from the image in my opinion.

From a composition standpoint, I think this photo could be a little stronger by getting a little closer to the falls, using a wider focal length lens and moving the top of the falls up in the frame. This would make the falls even more prominent, imparting more energy to the image. I made a similar change in composition when making the below images.

A tributary of the Baker River cascades through a hemlock forest in Groton, New Hampshire.

A tributary of the Baker River cascades through a hemlock forest in Groton, New Hampshire.

A tributary of the Baker River cascades through a hemlock forest in Groton, New Hampshire.

A tributary of the Baker River cascades through a hemlock forest in Groton, New Hampshire.

Despite this minor complaint, I really like John’s Rainy Morning, maybe even more than my photo above!  John has more excellent photography on his Flickr photostream, and I encourage you to check it out here.

Thanks again to John and all who posted photos! I’ll be critiquing another photo next month, so if you’d like to participate, please join my Flickr group and start posting photos soon (you can post up to three photos per week.)

Until next time…


2 Responses to “Photo Critique – Rainy Morning by John Rowe”

  1. dspinkphoto says:

    Congrats John. Great image!

  2. […] my photo of Cold Brook in Tamworth, NH was featured on Jerry Monkman’s Blog as part of his new photo critique group on flickr. After reading some of Jerry’s suggestions, […]

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