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Thread: How would you make this photo work?

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular Geoff79's Avatar
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    How would you make this photo work?

    1. The RAW image:
    IMG_4740_2.jpg

    2. My effort (Why'd I go so heavy on the yellow?! ):
    IMG_4740.JPG

    2 seconds, ISO100, F18.

    Okay guys, if anyone out there has some spare time, or is super bored for some strange (but beneficial to me?) reason, how about some fun?

    I got up for sunrise at Colllaroy beach on Saturday morning and took a heap of shots trying everything in the world with my filters. I tried a single GND, 2 layered GND filers, a GND filter over a ND8 filter etc, 2 ND8 filters layered (now that was a red result!). I tried it all, but still got nothing close to the results I was after.

    One reason for my failure which I think may have some validity, is that it just wasn't that majestic a sunrise in the first place. The real super colours I've seen in the past just weren't there to be had. But I noticed that I just couldn't shake the dark foreground for colour in the sky and vice versa, with the detailed foreground and washed out sky. Especially when I was facing sunwards.

    I'm trying desperately to move away from HDR or layering of any sort because, based on images I see here, I'm sure I should be able to get the shot in a single go. With all that detail and clarity I desire.

    I know I probably need a much deeper understanding of Photoshop, but what tips could the punters offer for making this photo work, for example?
    Last edited by Geoff79; 06-07-2011 at 2:05pm.

  2. #2
    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    You are not going to like this.

    1: Stop trying to make it something it isn't. If you want a picture of a banana, go and find a banana. Don't take pictures of a potato and then go heavy on the yellow in post.

    2: It's a soft, beautiful, flat, grey morning. Try to capture what it is, not what it isn't.

    3: Cut out the bits that you don't want! Show the subject, not all that other stuff! I'd take out the rightmost 20%, the leftmost 10%, a tiny bit off the top, and a really tiny bit off the bottom, leaving me with the interesting rocks at centre right and left, the imteresting skyline, and the interesting water movement in the lower centre. (Best to do this in camera during composition, but better late than never.)

    4: Ignore the histogram! The histogram is a tool that can tell you what's going on in a picture. It is not, repeat NOT a guide to how to expose a shot in post. If you let the computer decide how much light to have in a picture,according to the "ideal rules", it looks like a picture made by a computer. Your eye should decide, and if that happens to leave the histogram unbalanced, we don't give a damn! Nature doesn't look at the histogram before it makes a new day, it just does it and leaves the light to fall as it pleases.

    5: Can you do anything about that terrible curved horizon? I doubt that it can be made straight, but at least try to tone it down a bit,

    6: Experiment with a darker overall look, possibly quite a lot darker.

    7: The colour balance in the first version looks about right. The second version ... well, I've seen those colours before, usually on a Sunday morning outside a hotel. Go back to the first one. That one is pretty good.

    8: I told you you weren't going to like this!
    Tony

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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    it just needs a little tweek... I dont have photoshop here at work just some little MS proggy, but I manages to make it look a little better (IMO).
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    ^ yuk!

    Your Worship, in the light of the new evidence as presented by my distinguished colleague Ving, the prosecution rests its case.
    Last edited by Tannin; 06-07-2011 at 2:38pm.

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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    hey, its colourful... what more do you want

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    I agree with the above.

    The sad thing about this sunrise is that it was a poor sunrise. It does indeed take a lot of time, skill and effort to make an potato look like a banana

    Your move away from HDR and layering. Well, it is a rare image where you do no layering or manipulation of some sort (such as dodging / burning). Of course, it is good to get it right in camera but, you'll need to do some manipulation

    I agree about the histogramme. Use it to expose - not so much in PP
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    Ving...

    WTH?
    Scotty

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    You are not going to like this.

    1: Stop trying to make it something it isn't. If you want a picture of a banana, go and find a banana. Don't take pictures of a potato and then go heavy on the yellow in post.

    2: It's a soft, beautiful, flat, grey morning. Try to capture what it is, not what it isn't.

    3: Cut out the bits that you don't want! Show the subject, not all that other stuff! I'd take out the rightmost 20%, the leftmost 10%, a tiny bit off the top, and a really tiny bit off the bottom, leaving me with the interesting rocks at centre right and left, the imteresting skyline, and the interesting water movement in the lower centre. (Best to do this in camera during composition, but better late than never.)

    4: Ignore the histogram! The histogram is a tool that can tell you what's going on in a picture. It is not, repeat NOT a guide to how to expose a shot in post. If you let the computer decide how much light to have in a picture,according to the "ideal rules", it looks like a picture made by a computer. Your eye should decide, and if that happens to leave the histogram unbalanced, we don't give a damn! Nature doesn't look at the histogram before it makes a new day, it just does it and leaves the light to fall as it pleases.

    5: Can you do anything about that terrible curved horizon? I doubt that it can be made straight, but at least try to tone it down a bit,

    6: Experiment with a darker overall look, possibly quite a lot darker.

    7: The colour balance in the first version looks about right. The second version ... well, I've seen those colours before, usually on a Sunday morning outside a hotel. Go back to the first one. That one is pretty good.

    8: I told you you weren't going to like this!
    Haha. No worries mate. When it comes to me, don't worry about whether I'll like it or not. I'm not going to get any better by not hearing stuff like this. It can surely only assist in the future. To answer a few of the points:

    1. Yep, I'm not actually sure what I was thinking with the yellowness. I haven't really done much colour adjust in the past - well, pretty much none at all. I'm not sure what made me think it was warranted this time - as I said, I was trying all new stuff at the time of the shot, and I guess it carried over to post-processing too - but I clearly went over the top with the yellows, and then apparently chose not to revert back to something more akin to the original.

    2. I think this is where I went astray. The morning actually wasn't that grey in all honesty. Maybe it was the filter/s I had on at the time, but what may have added to my post-process frustration and over-yellowing, is that the morning wasn't actually that grey at all and I seem to have wanted to try to displaying that... something more lively.

    3. Yep, yep and yep. I so rarely look at cropping land and seascape shots as I like to trust my original capture. But everything you say there, it all makes sense. Especially the sky crop. So obvious, but I missed it.

    4. Just to highlight how dumb I truly am ( ), what exactly is the histogram and it's relation to the photo in this instance? Sorry for my stupidity.

    5. Haha, sorry mate. I don't have a grasp on how more advanced punters straighten out that curved horizon. I've gone on record in the past saying I dont mind it... if it's a vacant horizon. I do admit I hate it when there's a headland or something on the end of it and it's all curved and just looks wrong. If someone has an easy fix for this, and going forward how to fix it constantly, easily and quickly, I would hug them.

    6. You beat me to it. As you were typing this I was playing with something Bill mentioned in another thread - the Shadows/Highlights option in Image Adjustments. I darkened up the image - particularly the sky - and it already looks much different (and more what I was going for)... but still yellow. lol.

    7. Yep, I definitely stuffed the colour balance on this one.

    8. Whether I like it or not, I appreciate every word you say, mate. It only serves to help me out for future efforts. So I thank you.

  9. #9
    Ausphotography Regular
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    Okay chaps, thanks for all the feedback. If nothing more, this is at least better than the original, right?

    IMG_4742.JPG

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Cheers Geoff .... you know what the really funny thing is?

    Here am I, quite possibly the hardest of hard-line post-processing minimalists on the AP forum, one of the very few non-beginners who has not only never done an HDR job but probably never, ever will, the lone voice crying in the wilderness against the horrors of blurry slow-mo water and saturated sunsets .........

    .... and what am I doing today? Yep, playing with some distinctly non-natual post-processing. Yes, you heard right. As we speak, I'm messing about with a shot of the Thompson River taking almost all the colour out of it. It's not colour, it's not monochrome, and you know I rather think I like it!

    So here I am, the High Priest of As-shot, doing a weird Photoshop job on an otherwise perfectly innocent picture. And here you are (I gather from other comments in the thread that you are a Black Angel of HDR and similar Evil Photographic Habits), on the very same day, trying for a more natural look! Should we exchange socks or something?

    I blame the weather. It's about 7 degrees here in Ballarat, windy, raining, thinking about snow or hail but not quite managing it. I don't imagine it's a whole lot better up your way. How else do you explain two apparently healthy photographers both going completely gaga at the same time?

    I'll post that river shot shortly - see what you make of it.

  11. #11
    Ausphotography Regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    Cheers Geoff .... you know what the really funny thing is?

    Here am I, quite possibly the hardest of hard-line post-processing minimalists on the AP forum, one of the very few non-beginners who has not only never done an HDR job but probably never, ever will, the lone voice crying in the wilderness against the horrors of blurry slow-mo water and saturated sunsets .........

    .... and what am I doing today? Yep, playing with some distinctly non-natual post-processing. Yes, you heard right. As we speak, I'm messing about with a shot of the Thompson River taking almost all the colour out of it. It's not colour, it's not monochrome, and you know I rather think I like it!

    So here I am, the High Priest of As-shot, doing a weird Photoshop job on an otherwise perfectly innocent picture. And here you are (I gather from other comments in the thread that you are a Black Angel of HDR and similar Evil Photographic Habits), on the very same day, trying for a more natural look! Should we exchange socks or something?

    I blame the weather. It's about 7 degrees here in Ballarat, windy, raining, thinking about snow or hail but not quite managing it. I don't imagine it's a whole lot better up your way. How else do you explain two apparently healthy photographers both going completely gaga at the same time?

    I'll post that river shot shortly - see what you make of it.
    Haha. Yes, I'll certainly take a peek at the shot.

    I can fully, 100% see where you're coming from. The first time I ever used Photoshop in my entire life? About Feb/March of this very same year. And before that I'd always told myself I would NEVER use it. I thought if you didn't take a good photo first time round you didn't deserve a good photo.

    First time I tried HDR - about mid last year. I never wanted to do it and still don't, but in my quest to get that detailed foreground and colourful sky I was taken in that direction and sadly got a little caught up in it.

    I'm trying to reform now and get back to the single image shots, as that is what I'm after. It's a hell of a lot of work inbetween, but at times it can be enjoyable and also rewarding.

    Looking forward to seeing your shot. As for the weather, I'm sitting here in a weighbridge office in about 30'C I reckon. lol. Still, it's freezing outside so I'll give you that.

  12. #12
    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    looks to me that you need to reshoot this shot with more colourful sky... there is nothing else for it i guess. no sense in trying to rescue it... or maybe just post the original as a drab colourless morning shot. certainly evokes coldness.


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    I don't think you'll ever get what you are after without layering, the dynamic range is too great. process it twice - one for foreground and then one for sky and layer them. There's a lot more detail in those clouds.
    Odille

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