Back Modifications (1)
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Storm Brewing

By JohnM6
Taken at Budle Bay. The wind was whipping up the sand and clouds were rolling in. Almost got back without getting wetTongue Still at least I had waterproofs, not like the poor chap in the picture.

Tags: Photo journalism General 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.


banehawi Plus
13 1.7k 3807 Canada
22 Apr 2012 5:02PM
Hi John,

The scene is dramatic, but it appears quite soft on mu screen. Looking at your settings, the shutter speed was quite slow for the aperture used, - you would need about 1/40, which could have been obtained at f/8, which would provide enough dof for this shot. remember the wider the lens, the deeper the dof at any given aperture.

Check this link:

Its also important to sharpen your re sized image, so if your original looks sharper than it does here, its because you didnt check the re sized image before uploading, - something to keep in mind for next time.

So its a process that goes like this:

Resize image: Image>Image size> set pixels per inch to 72; then set the longest side to what the site allows; then during the save as process, you will adjust the quality slider to get the right file size, then save.

Next: OPen the new image. Check for sharpness at 100%. It will very likely need to be sharpened. You can use whatever method you prefer; here is a reliable method you can use:

Filter>sharpen>unsharp mask; set Radius = 0.8; set threshold = 3; now slide the Amount slider all the way to the right, which oversharpens the shot; then slide it slowly back to the left until it doesnt look soft, and doesnt look too sharp. You can view your image and turn Preview on and off to see how youre doing. When your happy, press OK, then SAVE. Now upload.

With the image sharpened it looks a lot better.

The mod Ive uploaded responded well to sharpening, - quite a lot, so I would conclude the issue is skipping the step to sharpen the re sized image, and youve managed to get away with the slower speed.

The mod also is slightly less blue and a touch brighter.



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JohnM6 Plus
10 5 1 England
22 Apr 2012 6:24PM
Thanks Willie, I'll give it a try with my next upload.

puertouk Plus
6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2012 6:56PM
I would have gone to f8 or f11 and dropped the ISO to 200. I would have also cropped the shot from the right a little, making the person on the beach more prominent, as he his secondary as the shot is dominated by the rock. If you were looking to make the rock and the weather your main criteria I would have removed the man in PS or waited for him to pass by. Hope this helps.
Happy snapping
JohnM6 Plus
10 5 1 England
22 Apr 2012 8:34PM
It does Stephen. All input gives me a new slant on taking my shots, and what to do to make the most of what I have in the image. Even if other photographers give conflicting advise it's helpful because it gives me more options to achieve the end result I am after. It's horses for courses, what helps with one image can be less effective than another, but with people like yourself and Willie giving me the benefit of your photographic backgrounds, I hope to produce better end results.
Thanks for your input
9 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2012 9:33PM
hi, i can see where you are going here, i love my landscapes too and a stormy sky is a big lure. -- but only if there is some directional light to lightup the stage set.

compositionally its fine with the foreground interest, dramatic sky and wrap around headland. for me though im not sure if you have made the best of the available elements.

im feeling a little bit underexposed on the sand and a using a 0.9 soft grad would have helped and there is a an overall softness that could be minimal camera shake by the conditions even on a tripod. in rough weather id be tempted to drop back to f11 or even f8 with this viewpoint and have the backup of the faster shutter speed.

the figure helps add scale but the way hes breaking the horizon isnt definable enough, similar in tones, a red anorac would have helped a lot or even waiting for him to be full on the beach. alsdo think id be tempted to have moved a little to the left and gone for a wider angle to make more of the headland heading off to infinity andf make the rocks stronger in frame.

but its light or the lack of light that prevents this from moving up into the next division.

best regards
paulbroad Plus
10 123 1216 United Kingdom
23 Apr 2012 8:34AM
The basis of a fine shot but Willies image clearly improves things and, because you have motion blur, he has done well to improve sharness. 1/10 sec, I assume hand held, is going to give a degree of un-sharpness. It would have been far better to use a wider aperture and faster shutter speed for sharpness than small aperture for depth of field and get softness.

JohnM6 Plus
10 5 1 England
23 Apr 2012 9:59AM
Thanks all, I've taken all this on board and will endevour to improve my pics. I particularly appreciate the advise on aperture settings. I always thought that a shot like this needed a very small setting to get the required dof, and that opening up to f11 or as wide as f8 would be a disaster. I am really grateful for all your advise.
Thanks again
Steve-T Plus
10 56 66 England
23 Apr 2012 8:05PM
Hi John, f22 for back to front sharpness is photo magazine technique IMO. My wide angle produces its best performance at about f11. It is easy to test by taking a series of shots on a tripod of the same scene and at different apertures - then compare at 100% on your computer particularly the corners. Hope that helps. Steve
JohnM6 Plus
10 5 1 England
24 Apr 2012 11:03AM
Thanks Steve, I'll give it a try and see what I get.

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