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Josh Sanders's picture

Long Exposure CC

I was in San Francisco this weekend and had a chance to try out my new filter system for my Sigma Art 14-24. The below shot is about a 2 minute single exposure using a 10 stop ND filter just after sunrise. I've never done this type of long exposure photography before, so any suggestions would be great--on both shooting these types of shots and processing them. What do you like? What don't you like? What would you improve?

Personally, I think the green rocks work well in the foreground, but I don't love the way some of the ones in the water get cut off on the left of the frame. Given how many of them there were I couldn't find a good way to frame them on the edge of the frame. I like the leading line from the top right leading to the bridge, but I can't decide whether the scattered rocks draw attention away from the bridge. What do you think?

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Phillip Breske's picture

I’d say your exposure is spot on. Very nicely done on the long shutter opening. But the composition has a lot going on; maybe a little too much. I’m not sure if I’d prefer a little cropped off the right side (the darkest rocks and the shadow-side of the hill aren’t adding much to the image), or maybe even a vertical crop of just the bridge and greenest rocks below it. On the other hand, if you increase the exposure on the right and bottom of the shot (at least the highlights), it might balance the whole thing out.

David Pavlich's picture

I would try Phillip's idea about the crop. I'd also back off the saturation slider a bit, especially the blue slider. However, the shot has a lot to like. Just a couple of tweeks to make it even better.

Mislav Žabarović's picture

love it. Agree with David and Philip about saturation, a dash maybe too much, and adding some highlights to the left bottom rock would make the foreground to work as a one element. But the atmosphere is spot on, really beautiful image. Congrats

Alan Brown's picture

I agree with others on the cropping.You have nice lead-in lines to the bridge but the image is very heavy on the right

I do like the vibrant nature of the image but perhaps the blue could be toned down as suggested. I would like to see a follow up where you are closer to the water and shot from a lower angle if that is possible.

Fine shot though, I'm including a very rough edit (I don't have tools available for more) just so you can see a possible option.

I like the creativity of the composition. I agree that the right side is probably not adding much and the saturation could come down a notch. Very nice image.

Chris Jablonski's picture

Nice image, Josh. I notice most of the posts make very similar CC suggestions, which I'd echo. I don't think the "cut" rocks mar this image. I'm surprised no one has thought the image (especially the sky) has a cyan cast, so maybe it's my setup, although my monitor is calibrated.

Just for fun, I've done my own edit, toning down and warming the colour palette but highlighting the bridge, as well as drawing a bit more attention to foreground textures. I would understand if others find the colours bland. I came up with almost the identical crop as Alan.

Jeff Walsh's picture

I love your edit, but in fairness to the original shot, yours is a very different mood. But still, this is an awesome edit

Alan Brown's picture

Hi Chris - I did notice the Cyan cast but attributed to artistic expression :-) You are right to identify this - you edit is indeed truer to reality and creates a totally different mood.
I particularly like the way you have kept the foreground relatively light, and find my eye being led in from the rocks and through to the bridge. That inferred lead in is definitely stronger with your desaturated water tones.

Chris Jablonski's picture

Thanks for your kind words, Jeff & Alan. On reflection, what prompted the mood in mine was Josh's note that it was "just after sunrise", and recalling the weak light, desaturated colours and cool air when making photos by the sea at that time of day - the actual "atmosphere".

Again, not to detract from Josh's concept & vision.

Jeff Walsh's picture

Love the shot, seriously love it. You've already heard the saturation, and the cropping, so I'll skip that. My only critique is that the sky and ocean are fighting the bridge. Its a highly saturated pool of blue/cyan, as well as the same brightness of the bridge. From my view the bridge is the "interesting" part of the photo. The sweeping clouds and water just add to the drama of the bridge. So, I would bring down the saturation of the sky and water a bit to allow the red to just pop. Similar to how Chris did in these comments, but more in the style you prefer.