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Forth Rail Bridge

By s2005b
Forth Rail Bridge this weekend, I am a beginner and trying to get used to Manual instead of using Auto all the time. I had some good advice about another picture I put on where the lights were rather bright and I think thats the same problem here. Will keep practising Grin

Tags: Architecture Black and white

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


Mike43 5 17 21 England
10 Feb 2014 12:16PM
Shame about the pier, afraid it spoiled what would have been a rather nice photograph.
Sorry about that but of course just my opining.

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s2005b 4 7 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2014 2:04PM
Thank you for your comment Smile
banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3528 Canada
10 Feb 2014 3:03PM
Hi Sadie.

lets forget about the pier for a moment, and look at the technique.

Scroll up, click the modification tab, and look at the mod Ive uploaded. See the difference?

The only thing Ive done with this is reduce exposure by one full stop. A full stop less means that the amount of light entering the lens is reduced by half. So in the mod, half as much light is used for the exposure compared to your original. So looking at the shot details, that would mean the shutter speed would be about 7 seconds, not 15; or the aperture would be f/5.6, and still 15 seconds. Each approach reduces the light by half.

So the trick then is how to get the exposure right. Start by using Aperture priority, Av, set the aperture and ISO, and then zoom in to the brightest area of the bridge; half press the shutter; take note of the shutter speed the camera chooses; then go to manual mode, use that shutter speed, manually focus, zoom out to 18mm and take a shot. Look at the result. If the bridge is glowing, - too bright, reduce the speed until it looks right. An alternate is to use spot metering, place the spot on a bright are of the bridge, see what the camera says, then use that speed, - with the same check and retry approach.

Hope this helps,


s2005b 4 7 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2014 3:16PM
Thanks banehawi, I must admit I do like your modification a lot Smile I like it darker.

Also as I am a beginner I did have to read your comment twice and now I understand what you mean, practise makes perfect and I have some practising to do Grin

Very much appreciate your advice.

dark_lord Plus
12 1.8k 329 England
10 Feb 2014 5:17PM
Although there is attractive colour in night shots, mono can often be effective, as it is here because of the bold shape and lines of the bridge.

Willie's mod is more as I would aim for myself. I'm guessing here that the colour version looks a little washed out. While not compulsory to upload the colour original, it may be worth doing so in the Critique gallery if you have any concerns over your conversion technique.

While not an excuse for rescuing an overexposed shot, converting to mono avoids what may be wish washiness. What I'm getting at is that mono images can be pushed further regarding contrast and bright areas which is something to bear in mind when converting to mono from a 'correctly exposed' original. What might seem like extreme adjustments may well be needed to get a pleasing mono. I include this more as general info for the future.

s2005b 4 7 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2014 5:29PM
Thanks for the advice dark_lord. All advice is very helpful.

Sadie Smile
paulbroad 9 116 1064 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2014 6:42PM
You have it basically right. You can crop off at least half if the sky but, as Willie indicates, you are a stop over exposed. Just experiment, but use your LCD to look at the images. Enlarge sections. The LCD will clearly indicate exposure issues. Always shoot a number of frames with varied settings. Digital is free.

I would, even with correct exposure, then burn in the foreground wall a bit to make it darker than the bridge. The bridge is then dominant.

s2005b 4 7 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2014 9:31PM
Ta paulbroad, you are right what you say about shooting more than 1 picture Grin I don't know why I haven't done that with different settings, I will now though Smile


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