Back Modifications (4)
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Gruinard Bay

By Bigpoolman
Seascape taken in WesterRoss, NW Scotland. I was trying to capture the colours in the rocks on the beach and set them in context. I used a tilt/shift lens to try and get the foreground and background sharp.
Critique on the photo appreciated, all aspects and particularly the composition.

Tags: Scotland Autumn Landscape and travel Westerross 2016 GruinardBay

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paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2017 9:09AM
More of a rockscape, I think. No technical issues but a great deal of foreground rock. The rock is undoubtedly the subject, but does it hold attention and if it is considered to lead into the image, then where does the eye go?

12 Jan 2017 9:25AM
Thanks Paul, I'm probably overcomplicating it as usual by trying to capture the colour and texture of the rocks AND the lovely beach, headland, sky etc. I was trying to lead into the beach and distance from the rock tip and positioned the camera so that there was some separation between the top and the headland.

mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2423 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2017 1:05PM
Hi Tim, welcome to the site and to the Critique Gallery, I see that you have just joined us. I hope you'll enjoy it here, it's a very friendly site and a good place to share and to learn.

Landscape isn't my area, composition is. My first thoughts are similar to Paul's. I really enjoy portrait format, the way it leads the eye to explore upwards towards the horizon. The problem for me is that most of the interest here is in the upper part of the frame, the foreground rock textures are satisfying but the shape is too simple, blunt, to detain my interest. Now a rock with more variation of angles, some horizontal bits, maybe with rock pools, that would be different...

A diagonal lead-in can work well but it works best when there is a line leading up from a corner.

And the real joy for me is those tiny figures in the distance. They add life, a personal touch. So my eye is impatient to get to them, and takes the shortest route through the foreground, ignoring most of what is there.

I've uploaded a modification (click on the blue modifications button below your upload, then on the number). It's simply a square crop, keeping the sea horizon on the upper third. I've cropped to square, which doesn't dictate a route for the eye to follow. And the balance of background and foreground works better for me. See what you think.
banehawi Plus
17 2.5k 4247 Canada
12 Jan 2017 2:19PM
Welcome Tim

I downloaded this last night and applied some tweaks, mainly to increase the foreground exposure and decrease that of the sky, as if this was a bracketed shot.

But I wasnt happy with it. When I saw Moiras crop this morning, I realised why, as hers looked a lot better.

So I have cropped my original modification so its less tall, and have uploaded it.

Its a good technical shot, and likely better if its a bracketed shot to get a good exposure on both sky and rocks, and maybe a landscape orientation.


pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2224 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2017 5:13PM
An attractive scene with excellent texture and shapes to the foreground rocks, and I do think your lead-in idea works. The rock colours are good, too, so you achieved your goal.

However, I immediately felt overwhelmed by the size of that large dominant rock, and therefore really like the modifications that have been done.

You have a lovely sparkle on the water.
Once I saw the people in the water, I was engaged. This is what a bit of human interest can do. The size of the rock became less important then.

I was interested in your use of a tilt/shift lens, to give you selective focus. It's not something I would think of being used for a landscape of a seascape.

paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2017 6:40PM
The tilt shift lens has a very wide range of uses and is designed to correct perspective and increase depth of field whatever the subject. Never used a modern tilt shift lens, but was trained on MPP and Sinar monorail.The original tilt shift systems - bellows.

Very useful.

12 Jan 2017 7:13PM
Hi Moira, Willie, Pamela and Paul
First of all, thanks for all your feedback. Really useful and just what I'd hoped for.
I much prefer the modified versions to mine.

Bit more background that I should probably have put up to start with:
- I used an ND grad (prob 0.6 but can't remember exactly)
- I edited the image in Lightroom and then applied some selective tweaks in Photoshop.
- I did take a few different shots but picked this one as I also liked the people in it, although they stand out much more now that its been cropped!
Finally, since I got introduced to the tilt/shift its my normal lens of choice for landscape (tilt rather than shift at this stage).

Thanks again and look forward to comments on my next offering.


dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1861 England
13 Jan 2017 6:56PM
And a belated welcome from me, too.

I'm not entirely happy with the shot as uploaded. There's a combination of distant detail and close-up, separated by a bit too much distance that somehow doesnt' push all the right buttons - just quite a lot of them. That's always frustrating.

Moira's crop works well, definitely.

I don't agree that the rock's uninteresting - the shape's wonderful, and there's a sort of driving diagonal composition based on it and the smaller rocks near it. But the detail makes it fussy, and isn't helped by the relatively small size of hte file.

What I fancied was a mono conversion, to make it more about shape, and preferably suppress detail, make it all big shapes. I have two versions - one using a Nik film noir filter, the other a high contrast filter.

It's a very different picture - but does it work, and make the composition seem right?
13 Jan 2017 8:56PM
Hi and thanks for your comments. Hadn't thought about mono, interesting results. I think that I like the first one better than the second (not sure which is which as I haven't used either?).

I'll have a go at the cropped version in it and see how it works

dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1861 England
14 Jan 2017 5:19PM
V3 is the high contrast filter, V4 the Film Noir. It's possible ot do that without either the vignette or the border, if you want to. It's a really OTT view of things, but it really concentrates attention on the big shapes...

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