PhotoZAP 32: The View From Kilimanjaro

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“This is a great shot from a pocketable camera!”  —Jack Howard


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© James Prutilpac, Rochester, NY. Gear: Nikon P80, handheld. Exposure:  f/3.5 at 1/60 sec, ISO 64, metered manual.

Photographer’s Statement: “This picture was taken around 6:30 a.m. at roughly 18,700 feet. I was hiking to the Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro. I was about an hour from the summit and was going on an hour of sleep with 10 hours of hiking behind me and another 4 in front of me before I would get sleep for 1 and then wake up and do another 3. I was so exhausted, I had to go through my photos because I didn't know what shots I had even captured. I chose this shot because of the beauty it holds for me and less about quality. This trip sparked my passion for photography and now I'm trying to make all my future shots better.”

Our critics say…   

Mason Resnick: What an amazing experience this photo represents and what a breathtaking view this must have been! However, the light comes across as flat, and the horizon in the center of the image is a compositional no-no. Go back and re-shoot! (I'm kidding!) I’d crop this shot and goose the exposure in Photoshop. In the very rough version below, I increased contrast and color saturation, and tried to lighten the lower part of the image to pull up more detail. I also changed the aspect ratio to 3:2 to emphasize the panoramic nature of the scene and bring the horizon closer to the top third of the frame.



Monica Cipnic: Quite an accomplishment to have climbed this peak, and you have a special memory of all that you went through when you view this photograph. I agree with Mason's crop, increasing the color saturation and contrast, and opening up the foreground--all the better to see your climbing companions, and this awe-inspiring view.

Jack Howard: This is a great shot from a pocketable camera! I agree with a lot of what Mason and Monica say so far, but I want to take this even farther. 3:2 crop? Why? There's so much gray sky, but great cool twilight blues in the foreground that I say we go with just the sunbreak slice of the sky and a 16:9 HD crop on this shot. I'd also agree with boosting the saturation (or preferably Vibrance) a touch in some image editor. Here's a quick tutorial on cropping to fixed aspect ratios in Photoshop CS4, Elements 8, LR 3 Beta and Adobe Camera Raw.


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