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Loch Sloy Dam As The Clouds Are Coming Down

By scuba_steve1888
I am just looking for a bit of advice on how to make this image look better and even advice on how I could possibly compose this better. Any critique welcome as I am still new to photography and looking for advice.

Tags: Scotland Loch lomond Lomond Loch Dam Sloy Landscape and travel Loch sloy Wildlife and nature



dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
19 Feb 2015 4:18PM
This is a bold subject and is composed well with the track leading the eye into the picture.

I notice you also uploaded this into the regular gallery, and while getting a few votes, didnb't get any constructive comments.

The mod by cats_123 addresses my main concern, and that is lack of contrast, something to visually excite the eye. I like the muted tones so i've left my mod with a modest contrast increase using my preferred method of using Curves.

As the subject relies a lot on shape and tone, I tried two monochrome versions too.

One moody to suit the conditions and dominance of that high dam where I reduced the red and yellow level content in Image > Adjustments > Black and White. I could have burnt in the sky to make it darker and provide an 'edge' at the top of the frame. I boosted contrast further, as mono images can take more contrast than colour. They often need to, as all you have are shades of grey and you need that separation of tones to avoid anb overall mid grey look.

A second to imitate an infrared effect by increasing the red and yellow, so the vegetation becomes light leaving the dam dark.

Finally to composition. As I alluded to before, this is good. I'd like to see more of the dam to the right but as I don't know the location it may or may not help the image.

My final mod is thus more of an alternative, keeping the lead in of the path but less of it, increasing the power of the dam (no pun intended for hydroelectric engineers!).

banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4354 Canada
19 Feb 2015 4:44PM
Its an interesting scene. Ive never seen an image of this place as far as I can remember.

You used the tracks as a lead in to the Dam, and the composition I think is quite good.

You can also crop it to a 16 X 9 format as Ive done in mod2 that works too.

When you have a bright sky in the shot, you can usually expect the land portion of the image to be underexposed to some extent, and this is whats happened here. It would require you to take multiple exposures on site and combine them in post processing to get an overall exposure that is good for both sky and land; or you can use this image and with a layer and mask in Photoshop, increase the exposure on the bottom area. Thats what Ive done in both mods.

The image needs sharpening, which Ive applied. If you shot in Jpeg, the camera applies noise reduction that might cause loss of detail depending on how aggressively its set, - you can check this easily.

Finally, auto white balance will most often cause a loss of warm tones, and its liekly happened here, so the white balance in the mods is a little warmer.

Nice work overall. Hope this is helpful.


TanyaH Plus
20 1.3k 411 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2015 4:50PM
I also think this is actually a very well composed image as it stands. I particularly like the two grey tracks that lead the eye into the rest of image. Yes, in many ways that's Basic Composotion 101 for you, but lead-in lines work for a very good reason, more often than not. They direct the viewer's eye into the rest of the image and here they do an excellent job of both leading to, and contrasting with, those straight lines of the dam's structure. They complement each other beautifully, especially as they're of a similar grey tone and the dam's arches sit on top of those straight grey lines Smile

I think that for me, the only bugbear in the image is the featureless strip at the top of the frame. I know that's unavoidable in some ways because of the low-lying cloud and mist, and you could crop the image to remove it, but I think that would also remove some of the power of the overall image. The dam is a STRUCTURE in every sense of the word - permanent, solid, unforgiving and demanding of attention. Removing some of it would diminish that feeling of power for me.

So I've done a quick mod where I've tried to tone down that featureless sky bit at the top a touch. I simply used a Linear gradient on a new layer, set to Foreground to Transparent (with foreground colour as black) and dragged down from the top to about half way down the image. I then set the Opacity of that gradient layer to 85%. Although this doesn't replaces dark moody clouds at the time of taking, it does enhance the feeling of gloom up in the hills. And for me, that also strengthens the relationship between the brigher, more autumnal foreground and the dark, forbidding nature of the land beyond the dam.

I also added a soft, dark vignette to the whole image which has in fact taken the moody feeling to another level again Grin (You may or may not like that effect, though.)

Have a look and see what you think.

paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
19 Feb 2015 7:23PM
Rather like this. I often want a particular subject to act as a compositional focal point. That would be one or two figures on the track, but not entirely necessary here.

I would just run the burning in tool over the sky and brighter hillside. Care though as it would soon go muddy.

Thanks guys for all the comments and mods. It certainly helps me for next time. Thanks a lot guys

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