The morning glow fades

I appreciated greatly the feedback on yesterday’s landscape images. I said I am not a landscape photographer and I meant it. I rarely take landscapes. I regard myself as a good jobbing photographer. I can turn my hand to most genres but do not specialise to the extent that I have become an expert in any one of them. Before you push back look around at what else is out there. Digital cameras have unleashed a torrent of creativity. Much is run of the mill but there are some outstandingly talented amateurs giving the pros a run for their money. Some of them read this blog!

It seems clear that the top photograph was the favourite. I have 3 different versions of this now. Each time I look at it I see something different. None of them really passes muster in my eyes. Let’s look and I’ll try to explain why I am dissatisfied. Here is yesterday’s shot again.

Nai Chungdawn


Look at where the hill meets the sky where the sun is rising. There is a definite fringe there. It is on the original RAW file. Is it a shortcoming in the Fuji sensor or could I have done something technically different to get rid of it? Is it a fact of life shooting at 6am in low light with high contrast? It is not CA. Did the big stopper cause it? I have no idea. I shot this at ISO 800 to keep within the 30s max exposure – of course I could have shot in “bulb” and held the shutter open manually. Here I show my technical limitations. I don’t really understand reciprocity failure on digital cameras and I get nervous shooting very long exposures. The sunrise lasts about 20 minutes, maybe 25. If I knew in advance what I wanted to shoot and what settings to use then it would be easy. I did not and if I had spent a while experimenting the sun would have been up. But at 800 there is just the tiniest amount of noise. I am sure it would not show in a print but it is visible on a screen.

As far as the composition is concerned two things bother me. The very small rock in the foreground and the empty space between the rocks and the groyne. Should I have left out the small rock? It simply feels too close to the edge of the frame. I don’t know about the empty space. Positive or negative?

Finally when I increased the contrast further I found a dust bunny I had missed. Aargh. OK in digital at home but if you go all the way to the printshop and then it shows up its a huge waste.

And so it goes on. One reader also helped me understand why one frame I shot came out as a jpeg even though I thought I had shot in RAW. My dial had moved and I was clicked on to the double-exposure mode instead of single shot. Here you are – an X-T1 jpeg in Velvia style. Eek.

_DSF4719-2I guess I shouldn’t take it so seriously but I do. This is a public service blog. I have never tried to sell my work so there is no pressure from that angle. As Fagin famously sang:

I’m reviewing the situation and

I think I’d better think it out again!




15 thoughts on “The morning glow fades

  1. As well as the detail, I look at the overrall (non tech) picture, as they say, and this photograph is spectacular taking in so much of this beautiful, awesome Earth landscape. How lucky to experience it in person.

  2. As I am not a photographer’s AH I am not in a position to comment, but since you brought up the topic of composition, I have taken another look at pic 1 and asked myself how I would have positioned the rocks if I were doing a painting (not that I do landscapes). Having had a very traditional art education I was taught that golden mean proportions are more pleasing on the eye. Therefore I would have positioned the stones slightly higher and moved them left. You may have been happier with your composition had you been able to do that with your shot, but sometimes perfection can be quite boring! And yes, the small stone at the front may be very near the edge of the frame, but it gives a lovely curvaceous sweep to the line of rocks that takes your eye into the picture and to the curve of the hill on the right.

    If you won’t accept that you are a good landscape photographer, perhaps you will accept you have shown us some rather stunning ‘seascapes’!

    • Thank you so much, Willo. I shall try to prepare better next time but of course the tide may give me very different seascapes to work with. And I shall revise the golden mean.

  3. As I use a camerone (camera-phone) for all my photos, all of the technical stuff went flying over my head. However, I do very much concentrate on composition with my shots, as I rarely do any ‘after editing’.
    I understand what you’re saying with the 3 ‘lil rocks. After covering them with a paper and then revealing them, I’d agree to probably not have them in that first shot. It balances it to an extent, however I think it took my eye of the main subject (sun) too much. Now, the bottom shot I really like. There are more rocks and the lines all mesh together. I like it as there is more depth in this shot. Rocks close, water, mountains then sun/sky.
    I have NO art training. .. aside from a double art major husband’s influence. His sculptures are still displayed in some locations.

  4. Gee whiz. I’ll open my mouth and write my 2 cents worth. The three rocks or so in the top photo spoil the pic. They just look out of place. I would have left them out-totally. The 2nd pic I don’t care for at all. Too much dark fuzzy wuzzy looking things in the foreground.

    Can you erase the rocks in lightroom? Other than you wanting a critique, I find no 1 as a stunning and serene landscape. We all know I’m a limited amateur but I know what is pleasing to “my eye.”

  5. I tend to agree with the others that those three little rocks should go running wee wee wee all the home. I had a similar issue with an image once, only with one rock, and Alister kindly pointed out that it did nothing to enhance the image…my words, his were a bit more, shall we say, pointed. 🙂

    Yeah, cloning them could be considered cheating I suppose…or you could call it assisting the rising tide. 😀

    But I must add that I appreciate your hard critique and it is a good way to improve. OTOH, I think that top image is pretty cool.

  6. I try not to get too bothered by the technical details in a picture. Otherwise I’d end spending more time than I really want to on adjusting lines and cloning out dust spots! What’s more important to me is the emotion that it evokes – and based on this, I like the first picture with its dreamy mood.

I'd be delighted to hear what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s