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Gareth Yearsley's picture

Wild Coast Sunrise

Sunrise at the Morgan Bay cliffs on South Africa's Wild Coast

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Phillip Breske's picture

Wow. Based on the scale afforded by the vegetation, that rock looks as big as a car. Very cool. However, I think the gradient burn you’ve applied to the sky at the top of the image is a little too much. The clouds don’t look white anymore, but gray and flat. It looks like you’ve attempted to lessen the distraction of the bright background up there, but might have gone a little too far. It’s also affecting the top of the rock, making it very dark.

Whenever I apply a vignette or some burning/dodging to an image, I use a Curve instead of Exposure. I’ll drag the middle of the curve to brighten or darken the parts of the image I want to change and this leaves the highlights and blacks almost completely untouched. Of course, this only works if you have a little headroom between the brightest or darkest pixels and the right and left edges of the histogram, respectively. White pixels (255,255,255) or black pixels (0,0,0) will not show any change using this method.

Phillip Breske's picture

Oh, wait. I was looking at this image on my phone earlier and didn't notice something: You used an on-camera flash for this shot. That's a no-no.

Please turn off ALL automatic flash functions of your camera. Nothing says "amateur" like the tell-tale shadows on the left side of the image, under the horizontal surfaces of the rocks.

I'm sure you intended to fill in the shadows on a wildly underexposed foreground, but the reason I thought the gradient mask was too heavy on the top is mostly due to the fact that the rocks closer to the camera are picking up some light from the flash and the bridge-rock is just too far from the camera for the flash to have the same effect.

I've attached a copy that shows what I'm talking about, as well as a crop suggestion with a few tweaks of the background.

Scott Steinson's picture

It amazes me that a guy whose portfolio photos average a 2.0 has so much advice.

Phillip Breske's picture

It amazes me that you think those numbers mean something.

Scott Steinson's picture

They don't mean nothing.