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Archive 2012 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)
  
 
hellfire88
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Hi all, first post here, hope i'm doing this right.

Please help to critique and suggestions much appreciated! Thanks!




Mar 02, 2012 at 11:56 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Welcome to FM! I see this is your first post, and it's a great start. It's nice photo with some nice things going for it.

I have a few questions. Did you do any corrections in the water? It seems very neutral in color with no hints of the sky reflected in it. I would have expected to see more color in the water.

Also, I'm not sure what it is, but there's a white spot on the smaller rock that's almost dead center in the image. I think it brings too much attention to itself, especially since it doesn't "read". I'd consider either toning it down or removing it. Do you use Photoshop? If so, you can put the retouch on a separate layer and then turn the layer on and off to compare.

Again, welcome!



Mar 02, 2012 at 12:46 PM
hellfire88
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


hi dmacmillan thanks for the critique! firstly the "white spot" is a small pool of seawater that was on the rock. will try to clone it out.

the color in the water was a good point, did not notice that and I went to relook at my raw files. this image was create by manual blending in 3 exposures.

1. for the sky


2. for the waters


3. for the foreground rocks


I'm not sure why the colors of the sky are not really reflected in the waters. I think i will rework on this image again. Does the foreground rock works for you? I not sure if I applied to much sharpening+brightness to it.



Mar 02, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Nice shot. The tones in the sky are not reflected in the water because the exposure for the water has a blown out sky. Any tones that did exist that day were lost due to the exposure time.

You can blend layers to recover the sky, or you can achieve the result in-camera, with one exposure, by adding a Graduated Neutral Density filter to the front of your lens. These filters rotate, allowing you to fix the gradient over the sky in your viewfinder, knocking the light down by a stop or more (depending on the filter you purchase), which will result in a colorful sky, and icy-smooth water in the same shot.

You can also by an ND filter, without a gradient. These have an even coating across the filter, and will evenly cut the light down across the entire scene. Great for timed/bulb exposures during the day.

Edited on Mar 02, 2012 at 03:45 PM · View previous versions



Mar 02, 2012 at 03:43 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Foreground works for me. Now that you've told me it's a small pool of water, I can see it. I'm not sure if you could blend in from a darker exposure and have it work or if it just needs to be cloned out. It's your photo and your call.

Now that I know the photo is from three different exposures what I'm seeing makes sense. There's the nicely exposed sky from one and the nicely exposed rocks from the other. The water lost color and saturation since it is from an exposure where it is reflecting overexposed sky. I bet if you were really clever and so inclined you could paint in a little of the sky color into the water. I hesitate to suggest it because the photo is fine as is.

The wonderful thing about digital and editing tools is you can easily experiment. This photo made me think back to the day of capturing images like this on slide film. The only way you could come close to approximating it would be with a graduated filter, probably a G2.



Mar 02, 2012 at 03:45 PM
hellfire88
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


hi Skarkowtsky thanks for the explaination! really helps in my understanding!

guess i will need to go get some graduated filters.

hi dmacmillan thanks again, this is something new that i learnt today. yes digital has made things quite flexible. i went to rework on the image again cloning out the water spot and using another exposure for the waters and tried to bring back the colors.



is this better? my aim is to make it reasonably realistic/natural, if it screams "photoshop" it means i have failed to achieve my goal.



Mar 02, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


This is looking much better. You can also wait until the right time of day, and make the photo in-camera, without the filter. I hope you don't mind my posting two examples of mine. The BW was shot around 5.30AM, no filter, one exposure. The color was shot around 7.30PM, no filter, one exposure.














Mar 02, 2012 at 04:31 PM
 

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dmacmillan
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Funny, John and I were having similar thoughts. His post was two minutes before mine. We were typing at the same time, but he must be faster.

I agree with John your latest edit looks much better. Far more important, though is what you think. Glad we could provide some assistance.

John, your photos are gorgeous! I love the simplicity and subtlety. Although the color pattern is different, I thought of the French flag when I saw the color photo.



Mar 02, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Thank you, Sir. Funny that you see a flag. I too see something in the 'stripes', but I haven't been able to place it. It's been 2 years!


Mar 02, 2012 at 05:21 PM
hellfire88
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


hi Skarkowtsky, lovely black and white image. thanks for sharing! good to know that it is possible to create images without filters.

hi dmacmillan thanks for the assistance. much appreciated!

personally i preferred the latest edit as well, thanks so much for the critique!

please critique more on the latest edit if there is anything else. thanks!



Mar 02, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Perhaps more exposure, overall. It seems a bit dark, with little detail in the shadows.


Mar 02, 2012 at 05:34 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Like the rework. Perhaps some retouching and a bit more vibrance and saturation for the water?







Mar 02, 2012 at 10:59 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


Looking at the photo, before reading that it was multiple ambient exposures, I would have guess flash was used in the foreground due to the way the nearest rock is much brighter than those near it. Flash falls rapidly like that, natural skylight doesn't.

But regardless of how you did it you made the big rock in the foreground unnaturally bright relative others. What the natural light looks like in scene like that is a warm sunset, warm reflection of the sky on the water, but on the shaded side of the rocks opposite the sunset the light will be perceptually cooler because when the sun sets the overhead lighting on the shaded side will be from the sky which is cooler. Everything the foreground will the same level of brightness. More like this...







What did is first take your darkest and lightest exposures layered them, then applied a Levels correction to the lighter one to uniformly lighten all the rocks in the foreground more. Then using screen / multiply / soft light layers I did some selective manipulation to wind up with this...







To add some additional texture to the rocks I did a two stage application of USM...







The reflection of the sky and boats was added by copying the top part of the image, flipping it vertically, then using the Blur > Surface filter to stretch the reflection down. I then used a mask to blend it in around the rocks. I opted to clone out the reflection in the pool of water and spot on the rock because I found them distracting.

When all is said and done it's not a very compelling photograph for me because:

1) The sunset isn't very spectacular
2) The rock in the foreground isn't very interesting
3) The more interesting content the building and boats are too small to be seen.

Had there been a Heron or seal on the rock, a boat, kayaker, etc. or anything more interesting than just a rock it would have been a more interesting photo. Had the sunset been spectacular it would have also been more interesting. If it had both all the better. Not saying it's bad, or that I don't like it, just saying what could make it better. Technique aside you need interesting content to tell an interesting story.

Chuck







Mar 02, 2012 at 11:01 PM
hellfire88
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Sunset Rocks (critique please)


hi Skarkowtsky, noted will try that out and see how it goes.

hi AuntiPode nice rework, noticed that you clone out some stuff too.

hi cgardner your rework was a much better representation of the actual scene. thanks for sharing the technique.

i understand about the content part but i guess this is where the difference in countries weather might lead to different expectations. the sunset was one of the more spectacular ones that i have seen so far in Singapore. the foreground rocks are about as the most interesting thing i could find at this location as the foreground interest.

thanks all! appreciate the critique, will rework again on this image at a later time to get a fresh perspective.



Mar 03, 2012 at 04:37 PM





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