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Marius van Dyk's picture

Storm incoming

Esha Ness lighthouse on Shetland Islands

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Really nice and moody image. I like the composition, and I particularly like the processing and the mood that you get from the color and tonal balance.

You could question if the bird adds anything to the image, or if it should be retouched away (if you are the sort of person who would do such a thing)

Marius van Dyk's picture

thank you Peter. the birds go crazy around these cliffs. in a way it adds to the action/motion of the incoming storm. but im new to this so im open to listen to pro/cons.

Dora Artemiadi's picture

Very nice picture and mood. If you allow me just one comment. Why did you use such a wide aperture ? I saw in your profile this is taken with f3.2 . I believe there is a problem with the focus in this one , probably cause of the wide f. The rock in the front left seems really good and focused but the rest seems to loose a little in detail .

Marius van Dyk's picture

hi Dora ..thank you for the kind words. several things were done to get here
1. i made some basic and huge mistakes - focus composition etc - i was still new in the game (year 1) with 0 formal photography background - still self taught by trial/error
2. at the time i did this i only had a 16-35mm (got the 70-200 after this trip)
3. Now 1 year later i revisited the photo and decided to retouch it to get this mood of the island which is almost constantly under high winds/bad weather
4. over and above the mood i also wanted to layer the photo to give it more of a 3D look keeping the focus "sharp" on the front rocks and blur the background rocks a bit and keep some sharpness on the lighthouse but also raise the exposure on the building and pop the yellows/orange on building and grass.
5. i did some desaturation on the blue's and others in the rocks and clouds to play with the mood.
6. this photo was on my hike back the day and i just took it in Auto mode / handheld / JPG format .. but with all that i learned this past year i decided to give it a bash and see if i can do something with the "black swan"

i have huge gratitude in anybody's pro/con advice hence the reason im on these forums to learn from people like yourself

Chris Jablonski's picture

Wow! I'd never have guessed that this is what you started with!

Joe Svelnys's picture

Seeing the original definitely helps.

The blur on the cliff-face looks painted to me, which clashes with the style of the rest of the image. You could leave the focus/sharpness as is but in the foreground rock do a small highpass filter just in that area to pop the sharpness a little bit further.

The bird dose feel weird to me, as it is out of focus but the waves (also moving fast) are sharp (ish). I almost never do it, but I'd replace the bird with a bird that is more in focus. That hurts just saying that as I really try to keep subject edits to a minimal (if ever). heh. Id just test it and see how it feels.

With the dark sky and the golden grasses, Id also actually color shift the lighthouse roof to a red so it will pop more.

Interesting project. Where i live I'm stuck with walking/hiking paths in forests, no grand vistas in my area..

Chris Jablonski's picture

Great mood here, Marius. I echo Peter's comments, point for point. I'm torn about the bird. I guess I'd have tried for a capture without any, unless it were something like a white gull, against the sky, in the right place... I'd take a lot of frames hoping for one with no birds, and some with bird(s) in the right place.

Personally I don't think the selective softening is a good idea here.

One other point - I think the image may be rotated ACW about 0.7 degrees.