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Bled Lake

By crookymonsta
An absolute beginner when it comes to landscape photography, I took quite a few shots of Bled Lake on a visit to Slovenia last year, this being one of the better ones, although I did get some with a boat and others in portrait mode with trees framing the island in the distance.

I would very much appreciate some advice on what works and, more importantly, what doesn't, as we are going back to Slovenia in June and I will have another opportunity to work on this again. This is straight from the camera, just lightly sharpened and resized for EPZ. Taken in jpeg, although I have now started shooting in RAW.

I know one mistake I made, which was to shoot hand held at 1/25 sec, but no doubt have made several others too.

1/25 sec
Pattern metering

Also, what is the correct metering mode to use for landscape?

All advice greatly appreciated.

Tags: Landscape and travel

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


13 Mar 2012 4:01PM
Very nice, picturesque.

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CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
13 Mar 2012 4:04PM
This is enchanting, Sandra, no wonder you want to return to this beautiful country Smile Carol
Daisymaye Plus
9 23 16 Canada
13 Mar 2012 4:14PM
A lovely looking place Sandra. Would not know how to improve this as it's quite beautiful as is. Very natural and true to life I think............Sandy
Lynamick 16 2 31 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 4:59PM
Hi Sandra. A good image, yo did well to hand hold. I have put up a mod to show the alterations that I have made. Your image is a little on the dark side so I have made it a tad darker also I have sharpend it to make the buidings stand out.
I hope this helps.
DanielD 8 1 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 5:34PM
Excellent Sandra - beautiful composition and superb colour balanced - and you didn't shake at all Smile

mhfore 11 6 176 England
13 Mar 2012 5:36PM
Hi Sandra,

Great capture. As someone who loves taking landscapes I have to say I'm a bit jealous, I would have loved to get this shot, well done. I'm glad to see your shooting in RAW so that's a good start for all the detail. Ok, a few basic rules for landscapes which are not hard and fast but they are a good starting point.
"The rule of thirds": Two thirds land and one third sky or visa-versa if the sky as the detail. Also with water it can work very well with one third Water, one third Land and one third Sky (see mod). In fact Sandra there is research that say's we all use the ROT everyday. For example, the next time you look at a scene and say "WOW" stop and look how your eyes have composed the scene, but then there are always exceptions to the rule.
Look for "Lead-in Lines" like rows on crops just starting to grow in a field and if there in interest get down low and shot along the lines. "Foreground Interest" look for something like rocks for your eyes to rest on before leading you into the image (but not too over-powering).
A tripod should be used and some ND and ND grad filters to allow you get the correct exposure. Nd's are great for calming water movement and ND grads for sky's that are much brighter than the land.
A good starting point is f/11 if you can, I would suggest you only use a smaller aperture if you need to get more depth of field but f/11 will serve you well. Use one focusing point (bottom middle maybe) and focus on a point one third of the way into the image. Sandra, I don't normally get technical (I leave that to others) but this will 90% of the time give you a good DOF.
Of course this is my opinion only and as always someone will have other ideas.

Take care, and keep clicking.

salopian Plus
6 3 27 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 6:22PM
A very attractive landscape as it is, though the sharpening of the buildings works well and makes it even better. Look forward to some pics from your next trip.

tomcat 12 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 7:04PM
I know nowt about 'scape shooting, but I know a good image when I see oneTongue

jaktis 14 84 Sweden
13 Mar 2012 7:06PM
A lovely scenery

franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 7:16PM
Beautiful scene.

Jasper87 Plus
8 2.0k 150 England
13 Mar 2012 7:51PM
A pretty good capture at 1/25s handheld. The composition is very good, the church is on a third (as per Martin's guide above), the horizontal comp gets a lovely symmetry with the reflection. The camera was probably set to an average Evaluative meter reading from different points in the image, hence a slight over-exposure. This is no problem at all and easily corrected if you shoot in raw. Unless there is a great contrast in the scene this metering will serve you well in landscapes.

I've put a mod up, and all I have done is click on the 'grunge' effect from Topaz Adjust plug in (via PSE8). No technical knowledge used at all. You have a lovely original capture, Sandra, easily made into a beautiful image.

Lake Bled is on my wish list, enjoy your return visit.

paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2012 8:00PM
This is very nice indeed. I wonder if it is a tiny bit over exposed, but may just be the superb clarity. You have done very well at 1/25 and you really didn't need f22 - a hell of a gamble! f11 or even f8 quite enough on digital for this type of thing - lens quality falls at tiny apertures, although not visible here.

Oliverpants 9 2 2 England
14 Mar 2012 9:06AM
Beautiful to my eye, really beautiful. Ann
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 10:20AM
I'd be interested to know how those who are advocating the rule of thirds would apply it to this photo. Crop off the beautiful reflections? Or add a load of boring sky to the top? How would either of those things improve the image? Mountains usually look taller and more impressive if they come close to the top of the frame and the strength of the reflections here makes the symmetric composition a total no-brainer.

camay 11 139 3 England
14 Mar 2012 1:36PM
I agree with Dave, if you are including reflections there is no way you can use the 1/3 2/3 rule. But you have used it in your positioning of the castle, well done. If you use PS I might think about putting in a gradient filter over the top of the sky, that darkens the top slightly and stops the eye from disappearing out of the top of the picture. Apart from that, a lovely photo.
camay 11 139 3 England
14 Mar 2012 1:37PM
If you are going back, think about going at dawn, when there is often no wind, so you would get a much clearer reflection in the water. Also dawn colours would be lovely.
ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
14 Mar 2012 3:14PM
I don't feel qualified to give you any advice on landscapes or metering but I will say what I think might be constructive advice:

a) Use a tripod. Especially if you wanna go all out with f22. Also, it will help you totally nail a horizontal.
b) Use the self-timer when taking the shot.
c) If poss, use a polariser...for the sky.

Lovely shot here although the range at the back seems a bit faint, as does the sky.

DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 3:41PM
ChiliMan wrote:
> c) If poss, use a polariser...for the sky.

But that would kill the reflections!

mhfore 11 6 176 England
14 Mar 2012 4:26PM

Quote:ChiliMan wrote:
> c) If poss, use a polariser...for the sky.

But that would kill the reflections!


Polarising fiters don't just remove "Reflections" they remove the glare which can enhance reflections, but you have to be careful and get the balance right. So it is exceptable to use one which could also give you an extra two stops.
With regards to the "Rule of Thirds" I gave the basics as stated in my comment, I know along with other's that with reflections it is one of the times when this rule can be broken and will actually strengthen the image if it is 50/50 .
Someone in a "voluntary" position ie "Critique Team" should not automaticly think they are right and disagree with others opinions but should be aiming there views and critiques at the person who asked for them and should also be adding that it is in thier opinion only. In my opinion.

DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2012 5:40PM
mhfore wrote:
Quote:Someone in a "voluntary" position ie "Critique Team" should not automaticly think they are right and disagree with others opinions but should be aiming there views and critiques at the person who asked for them and should also be adding that it is in thier opinion only.

If I didn't think something was right, I wouldn't say it, and I hope that goes for everybody else, too. My views are almost always aimed primarily at the person who asked for them but, if my advice is the opposite of what somebody else has suggested then, I'm sorry, but there's no way of expressing my opinion without disagreeing with what was said earlier. However, all advice is potentially useful to anyone reading the page and I phrased my response on the rule of thirds as a series of questions to encourage everyone to think about the issues involved. If anyone thinks that I am wrong on that or any other point, they are welcome to say so, as long as they can provide justification for doing so -- as, for example, you did about polarizers just now. It is for the reader to decide which advice they will take and which they will not.

Photography is almost entirely subjective. As such, almost all advice given is just that person's opinion; there's no need to say that every time.

crookymonsta Plus
10 838 10 England
14 Mar 2012 7:32PM
I very much appreciate all the advice and comments from everyone and I know that I will learn a great deal from you all. There is a lot to take in here, I have used a polariser before but ND grad filters are certainly something to look at.

I do hope no-one will get too hung up on apparently conflicting advice, I do understand the rule of thirds but know that there are times when you have to break away from them and this, to me, seemed to be one of those occasions. None of the mods offered cropped the image in any way, so hopefully I have got that right.

Putting this image in for critique has been one of my best experiences on EPZ, so a huge thank you to everyone.

Anjantoo 10 7 1 England
14 Mar 2012 10:14PM
No advice from me as this is well out of my range.
Beautiful capture, I love the reflections and the beautiful mountains in the distance, I can see why you're going back!
ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
23 Mar 2012 8:15AM
Oops! I didn't think about a polariser ruining the reflection.

Is there a polariser which can make the sky bluer without ruining the reflection?

I've heard of linear and circular polarisers. Never used either, I must confess. Would either one be able to deepen the blue in the sky without messing with the reflection in the water?
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2012 9:24AM
ChiliMan wrote:
Quote:Is there a polariser which can make the sky bluer without ruining the reflection?

I've heard of linear and circular polarisers. Never used either, I must confess. Would either one be able to deepen the blue in the sky without messing with the reflection in the water?

The short answer is no. Linear and circular polarizers have the same visual effect; the only practical difference is that linear polarizers confuse exposure meters and autofocus systems but circular polarizers don't so, for photography, you should use a circular polarizer. (There may be specialist applications that require a linear polarizer.)

ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
24 Mar 2012 10:04AM
Ta, Dave.

Paul_CA 10 16 4 France
4 Apr 2012 5:48PM
This is a nice scene, the central horizon in this case isn't a bad choice but I think if the reflections were crystal clear it would be a little monotonous. I might just cut a little off the sky - maybe chop that little white cloud out just to make the mountains more impressive. Composition looks ok to me, the castle is in about the right place in the frame and it's all nicely balanced. Apart from that I would say it was overexposed a little - perhaps 1/2 stop to a stop, I rarely trust my camera metering shooting landscape but if I have to then I make sure I bracket shots. 1/25 of a second is a big gamble hand held and with this ammount of light I'd have opened up a stop or two at least. There's no foreground to speak of so depth of field isn't that much of an issue and f8 ish would have been fine here. Possibly the most important thing is to get the light - usually that's real early in the morning or an hour or so around sunset where the light has more colour and everything it touches is richer and has more texture and of course shadow to give form. As it stands though a nice shot and a really nice souvenir of your holiday and certainly several stages above the 'normal' holiday shot.

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