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Rishabh Gupta's picture

Sunrise at Newfound Gap, Tennessee

During Christmas week, I traveled to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. To get this shot, I woke up early in the morning and reached the place (Newfound Gap) before the sunrise. This was the first time ever I was shooting with a DSLR camera which I bought just before the trip. I shot this picture in raw, then retouched with Adobe Photoshop Express.

As I am very beginner in this photographic world, it will be my pleasure to have some feedback on these shots. I want to learn more and improve my skills.

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joseph cole's picture

watch as many tutorials as possible you will learn a ton i would recommend looking into photoshop cc its $10 a month and if you plan on doing this more frequently i would highly suggest it. i really like the second one as it seems more complete. the light flowing through the image is really nice.
the first one is a beginners attempt but you will soon overcome these issues look into masking go to greg benz on you tube or his site he has a free download for luminosity masking it helps... A LOT!!! great start keep it up!!

Rishabh Gupta's picture

Thank you for your suggestions.
I watched a lot of videos/tutorials and I am still watching them. As I am student, I thought to get little bit of confidence with using Adobe Photoshop Express by playing some basic parameters before moving into the Photoshop/Lightroom CC. I will start learning how to use the luminosity mask and will follow greg benz.
Once again thank you.

Terry Waggoner's picture


Find, whether it be written or found on the internet, any articles/tutorials about composition. They are not rules even tho there are some that claim that but ideas that will make your images more pleasing and balanced.

The first image- Firstly, the jet trails are distracting and add nothing to the image. 2-I might have aimed lower to include more of the landscape and since the sunrise was your subject I would placed it a third of the way in and a third of the way down.

The second image-This is a lot better but the sky is a disaster. It bland and boring. Compose the shot to eliminate or lessen the amount sky shown(Read up on Graduated Neutral Density filters). Again, the jet trails add nothing.

Most importantly...............enjoy your photography but think before you shoot.

Rishabh Gupta's picture

Thank you for your suggestions.
I know I missed the composition in both the images. For the first image, I tried to apply the rule of third but due to a lot of people coming in my frame from the left and bottom of the image, I zoomed in a little bit to avoid them. Similarly, in the second image, I tried to avoid the sky as much as possible but I wanted to keep the slope of the mountain in the frame. As I am using a very basic tool (Adobe Photoshop Express) which allows only the global changes that's why I could not be able to make any local changes in the sky. Once I get the command on this tool I will probably jump to Photoshop or Lightroom CC to improve my images further. Soon I will buy a Neutral Density Filter; but as I am student, I am keeping things simple and inexpensive.
Once again thank you for such a detailed feedback. I really wanted that.

Eric Yiskis's picture

I really like the atmospherics in the second photo. So congratulations, you found some excellent quality light! But I think in a landscape shot you need to have a subject. What are we looking *at* exactly? Basically, when you see something cool and you want to take a photo of it, you have to figure out *what* you think looks cool and emphasize it.

Maybe the subject in the first photo could be the clouds streaming over the ridge. But the clouds need to be larger in the frame, and placed in such a way we know they are the subject.

Rishabh Gupta's picture

Thank you for your suggestions.
I need to learn about the subject thing. You said it right, I saw something cool and I clicked it. I did not notice what exactly is looking cool. I think, I saw the whole scenery that sun is at its initial phase and there is a lot of mist and cloud which are actually obstructing the sun lights and looking amazing. So I actually wanted to take the whole thing into my frame. I could have zoomed a little bit more to avoid the tree at the right side of the image. This would have given a more emphasis on the cloud and sun would also be have shifted a little right which would have made the whole image better. Just correct if I am wrong.
Thank you once again.

Alan Brown's picture

Rishabh, first off I applaud your courage in posting as a beginner and being open to critical feedback - it is indeed the best way to learn. A few things;
1) As Joseph indicates you can get Photoshop CC for a $10/month subscription. As the Photography package, this actually comes with Lightroom CC. I would highly recommend you start with Lightroom before PS - there is a much less of a learning curve, it provides many of the PS functions (plus more like cataloging), provides non-destructive edits, and allows direct round-trip links to PS should you want to utilize for more local or advanced editing.

2) Watch videos, look at photos and figure out why certain compositions work - DON'T focus on rules but understand how they MAY help a composition (use 'rule' where they may support a composition, don't compose to satisfy rules).

3) Know that the ONLY person you have to please is yourself. Art is subjective and as such you may get 10 different viewpoints from 10 different people - stay true to yourself and view our failures as opportunities for growth.

4) It is so easy to point and shoot nowadays that we tend to lose the art of being patient and considering what is in the viewfinder before we hit the shutter (some of us had to pay $$$ in the past for a roll of 24/26 or even 12 pictures so you can bet we spent time on each...). As Terry indicates take your time and enjoy the experience.

5) Don't feel you need lots of/expensive gear. I have seen fantastic shots taken on a mobile phone, but of course decent gear makes this easier and provide more options. Always remember that it is the photographer that creates an image - a good photographer with a cheap camera will always produce better work than a bad one with expensive gear

Good luck and I look forward to seeing more from you .

Rishabh Gupta's picture

Thank you for motivating me and giving beautiful suggestions.