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Charmouth, Dorset

I am not really a landscape photographer and dont think I am particularly good at this subject, but I have decided to put one of my landscape shots up for critique.
When I look at some of the stunning landscapes on EPZ the thing that sometimes strikes me is how manipulated they seem to be, almost to the point of looking surreal.
Is this the right way to go or should I stick to, 'what you see is what you get'.
(I know this is obviously personal taste).
The only tweak I have done with this image is,
Darken the sky a little and a bit of dodging and burning on the foreground rocks.
Any advice and critique would be greatfully accepted as I need to improve with this subject.

Tags: Landscape Cliffs Beach General Coast Landscape and travel

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CherryMartin 13 10 United States
10 Oct 2008 3:06AM
beautiful shot.
CathR 14 151 564 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2008 10:53AM
Thanks very much for putting your shot forward. I am sure you are right that it is a personal thing about what we as photographers are trying to achieve. Is it about reproducing as fas as possible what the eye sees or is it more about being creative and using the imagination? We all have our own ideas. Mine, for what it's worth is that I don't like over manipulated images which are completely unrealistic but nevertheless I like bold, striking images.

Using this as a yardstick I would say this is a very competent piece of work without having that "wow" factor. The shot is well exposed and lovely and sharp throughout, so you have the basic technical aspects well under control.

But the content and composition just lack that little bit of extra something which would raise it to something special. The rocks in the foreground are well placed but they lack interest for me in terms of shape, colour or texture. They are simply darkish rocks. The same with the cliffs in the background - a bit uniformly grey.

I am wondering at what time you took the photo. Possibly during the height of the day and with landscape photography the quality of the light is all. Here you have plenty of light but it looks a bit flat. If you wait until later in the day when you get that gorgeous soft light you might get a more interesting shot.

Another point to consider is whether you want you shot to be a sky shot or a land shot. I think some of the most successful shots have a two thirds, one third ratio between land and sky or the other way round. Here you are more or less equal withthe horizon going through the middle, which kind of divides the picture into two equal halves and it is less clear what sort of shot it is.

I think you have a good solid technical basis but you just need to tune your eyes a bit to what makes stunning landscape photography. Sorry, I seem to have gone on a bit, hope you don't mind.

PR 14 183 England
10 Oct 2008 6:02PM
Thankyou for the critique, I have taken everything on board you have said.
You were correct about the time of day I took the shot, unfortunately it was a short visit to Charmouth, so I just had to grab the shot while I could given the available light.
Looking at the photo again with fresh eyes I can see what you mean about the grey and flatness of the rocks and cliffs.
I will bear all this in mind for my future landscape shots.
Thanks again for the advice.

Thanks to Cherrymartin for the complement aswell.
paulbroad 14 131 1293 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2008 6:06PM
Yea, a competent shot of it's type. For me the problem is not with this shot as such, it is that I have seen basically the same shot dozens of times.

Have a play with the image. Never mind those who knock image manipulation - the ability to do that is now, with digital, in everyones hands.

You have the basis of a striking shot - up the contrast, convert to mono, sepia tone - try a combination of effects. Use the tremendous media that you are working in to develop your OWN image - not one taken so many times.

canonman58 13 2 1 United Kingdom
11 Oct 2008 9:02AM
I like the shot, but as previously stated, the time of day makes or breaks an image. I have tried to improve it by use of a grey gradient and an adjustment to curves, to give a shallow "S" curve in photoshop.
I also think the image would be stronger if the horizon were not in the centre of the picture, but having tried cropping, a different viewpoint would be needed to get the foreground interest in the right place. What do you think?
However, you have approached the subject in the right manner and it seems very crisp. Well done
PR 14 183 England
11 Oct 2008 3:54PM
Thanks to all for the above comments and modifications, appreciated.
Certainly gives me some things to consider until I find my own particular style.

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