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Stuart Carver's picture

Learning Local adjustments.

I took some time working out my composition for this scene, i eventually settled on standing further back with a telephoto to get in the right position. Im happy with the flow of the falls through the image and im enjoying the process of learning local adjustments to bring out the subject and remove distracting bright parts. Lots more to learn.

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23 Comments

EL PIC's picture

I like it.

Jordan McChesney's picture

I’m on my phone, so it’s hard to say for sure, but I think you could use a brush to emphasize the water a little more. I think the water could use a touch of brightness as it looks a little flat.

Overall, it’s really nice, though.

Stuart Carver's picture

Thanks Jordan, i was trying not to make it too bright as the scene itself wasnt like that and i felt i would be pushing it too far, ill have a mess about tonight though and see what i can improve.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the scene itself being dark, but the water itself looks like the highlights were pulled back a little too much. I don't normally download other people's images, but I thought I would just to highlight what I was kind of talking about
Mind you, this was a rush job, with my daughter crawling all over me. All I did was a simple trick using the "adjust levels" tool I use for all of my photos in Photoshop. All it did was emphasize the highlights and deepen the shadows. And then I did a quick (rather rubbish), local adjustment to highlight the water. This isn't what I would call a finished product, but it's leaning towards what I was talking about.
I hope that make sense.

Stuart Carver's picture

Yeah definitely, i think half my problem was on the retina screen on my laptop the water looked super bright, i did dodge the waterfall parts but then dialled it back a bit after i thought it looked super bright.. i think half the trouble is on one screen it can look mental bright but others not so much.

I did want the end look to be slightly understated at the time as it was quite dark at the scene with some very late evening sun just catching those trees near the top (which i had to darken with a radial filter) so was trying to avoid the blurred water being too white if that makes sense.

Phillip Breske's picture

Jordan is right; the image is a little dark and as such, it lacks some punch. A simple Levels adjustment will do wonders for the overall contrast.

Stuart Carver's picture

See its all personal preference but i think this now looks a bit overcooked and you have removed the green in the trees/moss which i had about bang on to what i saw with my eyes whilst there.

If i was to improve the shot myself i think i would reduce the heavy vignette i put on it so brighten the corners slightly.

thanks for commenting though its all appreciated and helping me improve my editing.

Mike Young's picture

It does look dark but it looks balanced IMO. Long exposure on water already looks unnatural to me, so raising the whites could increase the effect. All a case of personal preference but I would want to get the shot as natural as possible, unless I was pushing for a specific artistic effect.

Stuart Carver's picture

Hi Mike, thanks for the comments.. in truth i prefer a 1/4 second shutter etc so the water doesnt look as smooth but it was really dark and even at say f8 i was getting around 5/6 seconds if i recall, i think i took a couple with the ISO bumped up so ill have to check through my RAW files when i get home tonight.

Mike Young's picture

Having taken a lot of shots in the local woods, I can understand. The contrasts can be quite sharp and getting the balance between blown out whites and the blackest of shadows is a challenge.

Stuart Carver's picture

Yes definitely.. all part of the fun though:) this one was doubly hard because that area of trees to the right of the top falls were bathed in late evening sun so i had to use a radial filter to darken it quite a lot.

Ive worked out i need to be there slightly earlier so the sun is having more of an impact on the whole scene, but its not exactly a hardship visiting such a stunning location:)

Phillip Breske's picture

My only suggestion about the greens has to do with your ability to print those colors. If you never intend to print anything, then it doesn't matter, but inks and pigments have a much more limited gamut than a computer screen and a print simply cannot display all the colors you see on a monitor. If you have a color corrected workflow, you can turn on "proofing" to approximate what the printed image will look like and I'd bet those greens will be heavily desaturated. Again, if you don't print, it doesn't matter.

Stuart Carver's picture

Ah yeah that’s a fair point, printing is something I do occasionally.. when we upsize our house one of my first purchases will be a printer so I can start doing my own.

I’ll let you into a secret too, I’m actually colourblind haha, so I have to try extra hard to make stuff look right. The late sun was catching a bit of that moss and those leaves which is why I tried to keep it looking like that.

Sue G's picture

Its all about mood and your pic nails it.
If you need to relie on instruments use an incident light meter at the sceen. But its all about mood and histrograms suck at mood. I like the vignette .. So be moody or suck !

Stuart Carver's picture

Thanks for the comment Sue, you are so true about the Histogram, for me its a great tool for checking highlights and shadows are not clipped but i try not to get caught up in what the histogram is 'meant to look like' as its not looking at the actual picture.

EL PIC's picture

Photography is mood and feelings. So is painting dancing singing etc.
Histograms are stupid because it don’t account for type of display, room lighting or type printer, paper, ink, and most important mood you want to convey.
But stupid people will stand their ground and think they are Gods Gift to Photo.

Phillip Breske's picture

He(?) means me. In case you were wondering.

Stuart Carver's picture

Like i said Phillip any advice is welcome, ive had a play around with it at home and brightened it up a bit, not quite as much as you did as i still dont want it to be brilliant white but its lifted it a bit.

Alan Brown's picture

Late to the party, but in agreement with general consensus. My immediate reaction was that the whites/highlights could be brought up, especially on the main fall to draw the eye through the frame.

I do feel the scene is well composed, so well worth the effort you put in.

Stuart Carver's picture

Thanks for the comment Alan, ive had a play around on the back of people's comments and lifted it a bit on the RAW file.

Im glad the composition is correct as that was my main aim when i head out to get the image flowing correctly, its a world away from my first ever shot up there when i just started out.