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Photos Point Reyes Beach Shots

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by Ligoman17, 31 Jan 2010.

  1. Ligoman17

    Ligoman17 New Member

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    Today I drove up to Point Reyes (a large section of unspoiled coastline north of San Francisco) to take some pictures of the beach. The fog rolled in just before sunset and made everything a little hazy, but I think I got a few decent shots before conditions got too bad.

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    C&C Appreciated :thumb:
     
  2. GregTheRotter

    GregTheRotter New Member

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    First two look the same, apart from one bit of cloud being in a different position. Prefer 1 over 2 if I had to really look hard and pick one.

    In shot 2, there's too much plant in the frame, I would've preferred more sky. In any case, i think the landscape orientated shot is the better one.

    my 2c.
     
  3. Ligoman17

    Ligoman17 New Member

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    Thanks Greg :)

    1 and 2 were taken 20 minutes apart. Aside from the subtle change in lighting they are almost identical. I couldn't decide which I liked better so I uploaded both. Yeah there is quite a bit of foliage in all shots. I probably could have picked a better place to set up (see below)...


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  4. Porkins' Wingman

    Porkins' Wingman Can't touch this

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    Number 1 stands out for me too - bolder colour, more contrast - a nice shot. What gear were you using?
     
  5. GregTheRotter

    GregTheRotter New Member

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    ^ Canon 500D and the kit lens.
     
  6. Ligoman17

    Ligoman17 New Member

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    Correct on the body, but the lens is the EF-S 10-22. I also used a circular polarizer to darken the sky.

    The first pic is my favorite as well, except for that damn jetstream. I mean seriously... 2 hours driving, plus 30 mins to find a good spot, then as soon as I'm ready to start shooting a freakin jetliner flies through my composition. ^&%&*^!!!! :grr:

    Ah well, nothing a little clone stamp can't fix I guess.
     
  7. GregTheRotter

    GregTheRotter New Member

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    I hadn't even noticed it till you mentioned it.
     
  8. Ligoman17

    Ligoman17 New Member

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    Oh... I mean... What jetstream? :worried:
     
  9. NiHiLiST

    NiHiLiST New-born car whore

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    The first one's my favourite too. A ND grad filter might have been a nice way to bring out more contrast in the sky and add more atmosphere, but I think it works well as it is too.
     
  10. GregTheRotter

    GregTheRotter New Member

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    Too late now :p Now you gotta photoshop that muther outta there or else the pretty blue sky (no jetstreams allowed) in pitcha police is coming for you :hip:
     
  11. Ligoman17

    Ligoman17 New Member

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    Lol! I'm on it... :hehe:

    I totally agree. As I'm fairly new to photography however, it's taking me some time to assemble the right equipment. A set of ND grads is TOP on the list right now.
     
  12. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    I like the first one too - it's a nice composition and I think you've balanced the exposure pretty well. Lighting is good too, as evidenced by the golden glow on the rocks. Personally, I don't think the scene needs an ND grad... at least not a lot of grad - a 0.3 would be plenty just looking at it without seeing the histogram - as the clouds don't look over-exposed to me. You could use the clarity slider in ACR to give the clouds a bit more punch, which you won't get from an ND grad. I think too much grad would actually give the sky an unnatural look.

    The jetstream is a little annoying, but more annoying is that the image suffers from over an polarisation effect as a result of the (presumably) very wide focal length - there's evidence of a dark semi-circle just right of centre at the top. Picky, I know... but I used to get it a lot (and still do) if I over-polarise at a very wide angle. What focal length did you use?

    Aside from that, it's a good image and I'm really just picking at minor niggles that could be fixed in post. On that subject, I'd maybe do a bit of selective dodging and burning to enhance the way you want me to move through the photo (especially on the sea), but that's more personal taste than anything. :thumb:
     
  13. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    I hadn't noticed this thread until today, but I just wanted add my opinion.

    I like the vapor trail. I think it adds a subtle man-made touch in an otherwise natural scene. Plus, the angle mimics the mountains just below it, which in my opinion adds to the contrast between technology and nature.

    It also plays a bit of a compositional role, as well. As the eye begins in the center, the inverted triangle created by the vapor trail and the clouds to the right lead the eye down to the water. The line of waves carries the eye to the bottom-right of the frame, where the motion of the grass carries it to the left side. The eye then follows the coastline up, where the vapor trail causes it to stop, then start the journey all over again.

    It may not have been intentional, but in my opinion it works.
     
  14. Ligoman17

    Ligoman17 New Member

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    Tim: The scene was shot at 20mm and I rotated the polarizer to block as much light as possible. This probably caused the banding you're seeing, but it was the only way I could darken the sky with the equipment on hand (the sky was very bright, as you can see from the two shots in post #3 that I took with a P&S camera). The histogram is shaped roughly like a pyramid occupying about 60% of the dynamic range and is tallest just left of center. I'd be interested in learning more about using dodge & burn to lead the eyes through the scene. Do you know of any good references on this technique?

    Supermonkey: That's an interesting perspective. When I took the shots, my goal was to try and capture both the scale and remoteness of the coastline. To me the vapor trail just ruins the feeling of remoteness; but you also make a good point in how it acts to move the eyes through the scene. My eyes follow a similar pattern to what you described - Eyes start in the middle, then follow a circular path clockwise, ending up on the illuminated cliffs in the left-middle of the frame. If the vapor trail was gone, where would the eyes go?

    Finally, in general: Thanks all for the great commentary. I'm determined to improve my photography and your suggestions are very helpful. :thumb:
     
  15. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    Ah, sorry, I missed the two P&S images - in that case, a 0.6 or 0.9 hard-edge grad along the horizon would have probably done a better job than the polariser. Photography is all about compromises though and, as you say, the circular polariser to over-darken some portions of the sky was the compromise here. :)

    I don't have any real references on the technique, but if you look at any work from the landscape photography greats, it makes heavy use of dodging and burning to bring out the emotion of a scene (or exactly what promoted them to make the exposure... remembering that they were using large format cameras, so the number of exposures they could take on a single trip was limited by weight).

    I've just looked at the larger version in Photoshop and I've made some minor adjustments (this was about five minutes of work, which is about what I spend per image if I'm not doing any major work in post) with step-by-step photos to show the effects of each enhancement to your original image. Of course, the copyright for the photograph is yours and I hope you don't mind me posting these as a visual aid for what I've done to enhance your original... but if you do have a problem, I'll take them down right away.

    Original photo:

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    I first created a curves adjustment layer which is designed to punch the colours. I use points 46,35 and 194,214 (x,y) in addition to 0,0 and 255,255 - this is a standard action I use on most photos.

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    Second I create another curves adjustment layer, where I adjust the contrast, making sure that each of the three channels has the correct levels. I manually adjust the red, green and blue curves until the exposure looks balanced, but with better contrast.

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    Third, I copy the original layer and select soft light from the lighting dropdown. This will result in a heavily contrasted image. Then goto Filter/Other/High Pass and turn the layer into a high pass with a 1.0px radius. This is much better than using the traditional sharpening methods as it leaves less of a halo around objects.

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    Finally, I did some selective dodging and burning of highlights and shadows (respectively). I used a fairly large brush with a 3% exposure. Personally, I think this adds more drama to the scene, but I may have over-cooked it in other's eyes...

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    Final image comparison:

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    I hope this helps and, once again, if you want me to remove them, it would be unfortunate, but I totally respect your original copyrights. One thing I didn't tackle was the polarised effect in the sky - that was difficult with the original JPG, but can be reduced greatly with some adjustment layers. Oh, and if the colours look slightly whacko, I'm on my laptop which doesn't have a properly colour-corrected screen. :worried:
     
  16. Ligoman17

    Ligoman17 New Member

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    Wow, that was way better than a link to an article. By all means, leave the tutorial up!

    I especially like what you've done with the grass in the foreground. It almost suggests an arrow pointing into the frame. Very nice. :thumb:
     

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