What's the 1 thing that's missing in this Paddock Bay photo?

Review by Samuel Ogunlaja, photo by Jacqui Scott

"Paddock Bay" by Jacqui Scott. "Arrived early at Paddock Bay, with gum boots on I walked into the lake and waited for the sun to rise above the mountain no clouds or wind but I like the light on the trees. Paddock Bay, Lake Wanaka." Olympus E-M5 Mark II

Initial Thoughts

This is a very attractive piece of art! One thing that’s very glaring (in a good way!) is the crisp outlook. The elements in the picture are easily differentiated (in terms of sharpness, colour, exposure) while still being complementary.

The photo is artistically sound; how the water body was perfectly able to reflect the details of the elements above it is tremendous; creating an awesome balance. Also, the rhythms formed by the mountains; the flow of lines which shows the similar shapes and the even spaces add to the aesthetics of the picture.

The rhythm and line flow of the mountain

Even more beautiful is the absence of distractions from the photo. Everything in the frame falls under the element of nature, complementing one another but each with their own part in the general view and presentation of the picture.

Colour Grading

The colour grading is perfect. Most often than not, the cool times of day during perfect weather conditions reflect a bluish or cyan tone and the photographer is mindful of this by showing exactly how the scene would look at that period of time. If the picture had of been graded with a warmer colour, it would have looked a bit distracting. So the use of the cyan colour grade to intensify the cool weather makes it much more alluring.


The exposure of this picture is great, nothing appears over or under exposed, in fact every element of the picture is well exposed and in focus from the sparkling water, the details in the grasses, and the presence of fog which tries to show distance between the first 4 mountains. From the details, it is evident the photographer took his time to ensure proper exposure.

Visual Weight

Another thing that stands out is the visual weight of the picture. This entails apportioning enough space to the most important elements in the picture. The grasses, the sky and the mountain occupy much of the apportioned space (about 63%) and (37%) for the other complementing elements like the water which serves to show the foreground of the scene.

The Visual weight Percentage as seen in Photoshop.

Making This Photo Even Better

As perfect as this photo is, paying more attention to a couple of things would have made it even better.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds states that when a picture is divided into nine equal portions with the grid lines, the most interesting parts of the subjects being captured should fall across the intersections in the grids. In this picture, a proper cropping would have helped place the most important details on the intersecting lines on the grid. In particular, the photo would have been more perfect if the line demarcating the water from the surface fell directly on an intersecting line in the grid.

The rule of thirds as used by the Photographer.

The rule of thirds as corrected.


Also, the photo lacks important spacing that is supposed to help viewers enjoy the view even more. There is almost no space between the mountain (at the upper right of the frame) and the whole frame itself. See the photo sample below where I've added in more sky to free up the space.

Spacing and rule of thirds corrected


This picture has everything good; enthralling, detailed, artistic and beautiful. However, the photographer should pay more attention to the composition next time for an even more striking photograph.

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