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"Valley of Sienna, Umber and Ochre" view Larger

Comments are always welcome. Ratings are gladly accepted with supporting comments, otherwise, they are respectfully ignored. Thanks for offering your comments, with or without ratings. The Larger preview is preferred!


Mark Geistweite , November 22, 2010; 11:40 A.M.

During or after a rain is really the best time to capture fall colors. What captivated me most along this valley was the sage and other ground cover along with the changing cottonwoods and aspens. The rain saturates the dry brush, giving it a full, earthy vibrance. The moisture also washes the surfaces of the leaves and underbrush, removing any layers of dust and dirt, allowing the full color to come out. A polarizing filter cuts reflected light on the foliage, which accentuates the deep colors. The mountains, as well, have grown darker in color from the rains, with a fresh dusting of snow at the highest elevations. The rain also cleanses the air of all dust and haze, so the entire landscape is clean and fresh, displaying the full range of tones and spectrum of colors. Finally, rainy or stormy conditions often provide the perfect sky to top it all off. We arrived at McGee creek in the morning, so the light was still soft and warm, which offered the final ingredient for a compelling scene. If you like shooting the fall foliage, don't ever let the rain keep you away. Unless it is a full-out downpour, this is the magic time to capture your fall images. Please consider the Larger preview before making any assessments!

Robert Premkumar , November 22, 2010; 11:46 A.M.

Beautiful image. Nice composition. Regards.

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Mark Geistweite , November 22, 2010; 11:53 A.M.

Thank you Robert! This is a simple and straight forward composition. It was the complimentary conditions that made it shine!

Volker Birke , November 22, 2010; 12:24 P.M.

Beautiful landscape photography, Mark. Simple and effective - I can smell the autumnal winds and feel the winter which is about to arrive... Best wishes, Volker

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Rene GM , November 22, 2010; 12:44 P.M.

great image. I do not like the color cast in the clouds however.

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Mark Geistweite , November 22, 2010; 12:50 P.M.

Thanks Volker and Rene! I'm looking for the color cast Rene, but I don't see it. The left side might have some cyan perhaps? Please clarify!

Zsolt Andras Szabo , November 22, 2010; 03:51 P.M.

outstanding textures, details, tones as usual. the light and color was fabulous. great compo as well. very well done.

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Mark Geistweite , November 22, 2010; 04:04 P.M.

Thank you Zsolt. Your expert approval is significant!

Zsolt Simay , November 22, 2010; 04:40 P.M.

Nice image, with great colors, as you described it. the rain made it real clear , i would like to ask you one thing only. did you use a different exposure for the sky? it looks a bit too dark for me, especially the top right corner.

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Mary Dineen , November 22, 2010; 06:01 P.M.

this is just sublime.

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ML M , November 22, 2010; 06:56 P.M.

Mark...  What a superb range of colors and temperature in this shot.  The warm, earthy foreground fades into the barren cold of the snowy mountain; all in fine detail.  The composition grabs the eye with the clump of trees and leads us up the valley to the last little spot of yellow...  Fantastic... Mike

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Mark Geistweite , November 22, 2010; 07:29 P.M.

Thank you Zsolt, Mary and Mike!! Zsolt, you are an eagle eye! This is a blend of two, one exposure for the sky and one for the foreground. More so, I did add a multiply layer mask at low opacity to give the sky a little more drama in keeping with the actual conditions, but I may have executed a skosh too much creative liberty. I think I can agree that it is a tad dark, but not enough to pull back. I appreciate your assessment!

harry tsappas , November 22, 2010; 09:08 P.M.


Another excellent image Mark,wonderful capture of the fall colours,typical of your compositions,always a nice foreground to lead the eye,Excellent work,Harry

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Mark Geistweite , November 23, 2010; 01:21 A.M.

Thanks Harry, always good to hear from you!

paramdeep thakur , November 23, 2010; 06:34 A.M.

great picture


This is a very beautiful picture and you have wel captured the snow peaks ,mountains & trees . perfect colour.


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Neil Jolly , November 24, 2010; 09:37 A.M.

A gorgeous fall scene expertly photographed, and processed, Mark! Love the range of colors in the immediate foreground. I'd agree you have the sky pulled down a touch too much, but that's more of an individual taste issue, and can easily be adjusted. Well done man!

All the best,

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Mark Geistweite , November 24, 2010; 12:11 P.M.

Thanks Paramdeep and Neil! From the earlier comment, Neil, I can see the UR portion as a tad darker than purely natural, sort of like an "Adamus Vignette". If I were going to print (I'm thinking this would make a nice 16X20), then I would probably back off some, but as is, I like the subtle infusion of drama. It really does possess the original ominous appearance as I thought we could get a thunderstorm any time while we were out in this meadow, having possibly to race back to the distant car. My six year old daughter would have been drenched and not too happy, so good thing it remained ominous only!

Gunnar Vaht , November 26, 2010; 04:41 A.M.

Beautiful colours, very nice view!

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Mark Geistweite , November 26, 2010; 12:46 P.M.

Thanks Gunnar!!

Dave Edwards , November 30, 2010; 08:59 P.M.

Yet another outstanding image, Mark.  My only minor nit would be with regard to the intensity of the yellow in the trees on the mountains in the far distance being the same hue as the yellows in the near trees.  I have to imagine that at that distance they would be a bit more subdued and I find it a little distracting and my eye keeps going there.  An easy thing to adjust if one were so inclined... or not ;-)

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Mark Geistweite , December 02, 2010; 11:29 A.M.

Distraction or final Destination? Thanks Dave for the comment! Yes, the patch of aspens do appear bright now that you mention it. The RAW shows the same, so I didn't do anything during processing locally to brighten or exclusively saturate them. I agree, a grove of aspens far off would normally appear less vibrant, but because this is a wide angle, that patch really isn't as far off as it appears (perhaps a mile or two). As I said, the air was really clear and fresh, so there was no ground level haze. Meanwhile, all I am doing is explaining it's unusual appearance. If it is a distraction, I can tone it down selectively. Meanwhile, an earlier comment seems to justify it as a final place for the eyes to rest. Well, after 30 years of shooting landscapes, these things still seem like a conundrum. I think I will go with your suggestion and pull back a tad to keep it from pulling the eyes away from the balance of the scene!

Matt Cooper , December 10, 2010; 09:22 P.M.

I predict this would look great as a bw conversion with a yellow or orange filter to let the trees really stand out. Perhaps even a square comp cutting off some of the left side of the image, although it might be hard to find a pleasing point to cut off the trees. 


Awesome just the way it is as well!

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Mark Geistweite , December 11, 2010; 01:52 A.M.

Hey Matt, thanks for the suggestion. I feel confident in your prediction, but I also feel confident that I will have to rename this if I do so. I guess I could call it "Valley of White, Black and Gray". No, really, I think it would turn out a pretty decent b&w, but these colors are what flips my switch, so while I might toy with a mono, I doubt it will replace the color version. As far as square, I just don't see that working. Thanks!!

Matt Cooper , December 11, 2010; 10:05 P.M.

Hey Mark also wanted to mention that I happen to live in Visalia, and your portfolio has been a big source of inspiration for me since I discovered it about a year ago. I am a beginner and your photograps in and around the San Joaquin Valley very much capture a certain side of this area that I too am trying to present. I really like the industrial series. Thanks!

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Mark Geistweite , December 12, 2010; 03:06 A.M.

Thanks Matt! Those are kind regards. A reward for me is knowing that my photography could be a source of inspiration to someone. I am happy to know that it has had that effect on you!!

Harry Lichtman , December 28, 2010; 10:26 P.M.

Mark - Congrats on your Editor's Picks - great reward for consistantly quality work and your education enrichment to the PNet community.  Is there an award for that?  SHould be!  I can see why so many images seem to come out of this area of the Sierras this past year.  I guess I never realized what a draw it was, like Zion in the fall or similar.  The yellows are electric.  I agree with the rainy day fall photos- can create real magic, and often keeps extraneous folks out of the image!.  Skies can be difficult, unles moody skies appear.

Regards, Harry

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Mark Geistweite , December 29, 2010; 03:00 P.M.

Thanks Harry! Yes, it's always nice to be recognized by the PNet gurus. I had everything to work with here; rain soaked foliage with breaking clouds. As for prints, this didn't turn out as nice as I had expected, but I think I let it go darker than it should be in print, so it got muddy. If I print again, I will brighten it with some dodging to draw the eyes to a particular spot. This was my first successful East Sierra trip with timing for fall colors, last year we were late for up high and early for down below. They say this year was one of the more colorful ones, mainly because the second of the many storms that wipe the leaves away was delayed a couple of weeks. Thanks again and a HNY to you and yours!!

Borut Jurjovec , January 04, 2011; 01:41 P.M.

Thank you for sharing, I specialy like yellow colour of cottonwood.

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