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hi .. I took this photo about 5.30am in a lovely scenic spot in New Zealand.  And while I like it, there's something missing or wrong with it and I can't quite put my finger on it.  I know there's a bit of extreme lightness on the horizon at the right, and the shadow is a bit dark from the side of the hut .. but they seem to balance each other so might not be the cause.  Any ideas on what is niggling at me.  Composition???

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This looks a bit like HDR.  I think your dismay might be because it is bland.  More contrast might help.  The sky is burned out at left horizon.  There are spots in the sky caused by sensor dirt.  And, the halo around the stove's chimney, the roof and mountains is due to too much sharpening or HDR settings.  The hut's wood is weathered grey?  On my monitor the shade is not appealing.

Can we see the straight out of camera version?

How's this?

The sky around the chimney still has problems, cheap editing job on my part. ;o)

I believe you're right to worry about balance.  I'd say that picture is way out of balance, with a big dark, visually heavy mass all to right of center, and a light, bright, empty space filling the left.  Looks to me like a classic rule of thirds error. If you're using that silly idea I strongly suggest you forget you ever heard of it.   Take an art course, not a photography one, or read about serious composition, the kind artists learn.  

Try cropping off most of the left side.  That'll also eliminate the blown clouds and give you more tonal range to brighten the shack, but still ....

What are you trying to show?  A weathered shack in the middle of nowhere?  If that's it I think the clutter to the shack's right is a problem, and you don't need all that visually empty space on the left to show isolation.  If it's the shack itself, why?  What's interesting about it? And that light is poor to show it well.

In short I'd say that picture indicates no clear purpose and the composition's way off.

Also I agree with CC about the technical problems.  A thing to be aware of using any automatic processing step is that software doesn't usually understand depth in pictures, so often messes up at foreground background joints, like by making those halos.

Thank you AAMouse .. that is very helpful feedback.  I think I was so excited to be in this beautiful spot in the middle of nowhere and didn't pay enough attention to what I was actually doing.  It was quite depressing going through the photos later and feeling I had not achieved what I wanted.  I think my next step is to go back again, get out of bed even earlier and have another go at shooting this place.  Regards karlum

Hi Camera Clicker .. thanks for taking a look .. here's the RAW .. as you can see I did a lot of fiddling to get it to where I did (contrast, levels, exposure, mid contrast and a bit of cropping) and still not happy.  The colours on Picture Social are remarkably different to my computer .. much more grey/brown.   Your edited version actually looks very similar to what mine was (contrast boost etc).  I suspect Anon-aMouse may well be right its just a bad photo and there's not much to save it.  I was going for the 'mark of man on the tussock landscape' .. and wanted the hills behind and the sense of isolation .. there are other huts in the same area so was trying to cut them out as well.  Again. Thanks for the feedback. Karlum

I think I prefer the uncropped version.  More empty space to balance the now smaller, less in your face shack.  Maybe with "landscape" and "hand of man" more nearly equal the picture becomes more about both, rather than mostly an ugly, okay  "rugged" shack.  Even the background junk could work toward the idea.  Decide what the picture's about, then put everything in that reinforces that and leave out anything that doesn't, because it will weaken your idea.  A strong structure, aka composition helps, but that can be a very tricky, subjective thing.

Maybe put it aside and look at it again next week. Sometimes it takes time to see the picture rather than your memory of the scene. 

Hi, hope you don't mind.  I just wanted to see what I could do with your pic.  I love old structures.  

Thank you for taking the time to do this Mary. You've certainly zizzed it up from my original .. makes quite a difference. Did you use photoshop for that? I'm still only at the basics on PSE but will be heading off for a Lightroom course this year I think.

Hi Karlum, I used lightroom 4.  

Hi Karlum, I should have told you what I did in Lightroom.  I adjusted the "shadows", bumped the "clarity" just enough to see a difference, the clarity adds more definition to everything,  Adjusted the green slider, and the yellow slider, and bumped aqua up a bit to add more blue to the sky.  Lightroom is a lot of fun.  Once you get into it more you will enjoy all the neat things you can do, that you can't do in Photoshop, and visa versa.

This cropping really works well and gives more of a focal point on the lovely structure ..really like this edit.

Canon 30D with EF-S 10-22, and no lens hood.  The Colour Profile shows as Adobe RGB (1998) and Colour Mode shows as RGB.  Your Canon manual says you should be setting the Colour Space to sRGB, see page 63 of your manual.  Curiously, it also says the file name will change to _MG_#### if you set it to RGB, and your file name is IMG_0995.jpg!  The other thing I see is Application is noted as QuickTime 7.6.6, which is Apple's movie format.

Something like this, perhaps?

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