Back Modifications (3)
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Woodland Stream

By Bore07TM
This was taken in Colby Woodland Garden, this stream runs through the park on its way down to the sea at Amroth.

Following my very first post this was an attempt to create a blurred effect on the water of a fast running stream, using a tripod but without ND Filter.

I tried to use the path running parallel to the stream and the pebbly foreshore to frame the shot.

I tried a number of different Shutter priority settings and this was the best result.

How could I improve the shot?

Tags: Pembrokeshire Rapids Waterscape Landscape and travel Colby woodland garden

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.7k 2099 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2017 6:04PM
I am finding your experiments fascinating - partly because I am not a landscaper so maybe I take a more detached, objective view.

The shutter speed works - I like water with a movement but also a sense of substance, weight. That's present here. There's a smooth flow over the rocks on the left but a splash and a swirl on the right. I can feel the spray.

So shutter speed, fine. But I'm pretty sure the camera gives ISO 100, so why use 200? F22 is beyond the optimum range. I would put using the lowest ISO ahead of using an ND filter on my list of priorities. But as I said, I'm not a landscaper.

For me it needs just a bit more contrast - I made a small Levels adjustment first to boost highlights, then did some very gentle dodging and burning to bring sparkle to the water, hard darkness to the rocks.

The composition: Well I thought about this a while. There's a problem which is quite easily sorted - that line of path at the top simply draws to eye up, away from the water and towards nothing in particular. That's easily cropped.

But beyond that, I think the frame needs to reflect the direction of flow, which is diagonally downwards. I cropped to square as being a balance between landscape - sideways movement - and portrait - vertical movement.

Then I cropped tighter to exclude all vegetation at the top. And I think that's my preferred choice.

These are just suggestions, different ways to see the original frame. Well done for experimenting.

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paulbroad Plus
12 131 1286 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2017 6:08PM
What you have done, you have done perfectly well. I am not a milky water fan, and the problem here for me is a lack of impact and compositional content. The image needs something to make it exhibit strength to attract and hold the viewer - a strongly coloured sharp subject to act as a focal point.

banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4050 Canada
28 Jun 2017 6:50PM
Hi Anthony,

Apart from the lack of focal point, which may be moot as this is an effort at milky water effect, you seem to have done most things right.

based on looking closely at the image, I cannot see any area that sharp, - it all a bit soft; I wonder then about focus, and how you focused, auto or manual, and where you focused on. At f/22 the near rocks should be sharper. Manually focus into the scene, about 1/3 distance. Its possible the camera may have moved slightly also perhaps, especially if you didnt use a remote release, or the timer.

The far bank is a distraction, effects exposure, and should be removed.

Since this camera has the ability to select focus after the shot has been captured (with the latest free software) you may be able to improve this?

Cropped mod upload that has been sharpened quite a lot.


28 Jun 2017 7:10PM
Thank you all for your comments

For this shot, I used manual focus, but as pointed out by Willie, I think the camera did move then though I tried not to move it. I was using f22 as I was trying to ensure everything was in focus.

As a manual setting for ISO, I believe ISO 200 is the lowest setting (I will check).

I did play around with cropping but not a portrait version which I like.
dark_lord Plus
15 2.4k 600 England
28 Jun 2017 7:37PM
It's really all been covered above (some people are very quick off the mark!).

It was the lack of focal point that struck me, so although it's a pleasant looking area you sometimes have to work harder to get an appealing composition. The mods already done should help with ideas. It's all about shapes and angles. It can be that selecting smaller elements of the scene results in a bollder image. Trying to get too much in frame is something we've all been guilty of from time to time.

There is a softness to this and it's possibly a combination of using f/22 (not an optimum aperture for lens performance, though I understand why you chose it) and slight camera movement just enough to take the edge off. If you fired the camera using the shutter release rather than a remote cable or device or even using the self timer then that can be enough. Eliminating one possibility at a time will help determine the cause.

Technically as regards settings everything looks fine.
I like to see some movement in the water, and as paul points out it's not to everybody's taste so it is worht experimenting with a few different shutter speeds too as each occasion will be different dependingoin the speed of the water flow and its relative size in the viewfinder.
dudler Plus
16 986 1537 England
28 Jun 2017 8:28PM
On shutter speed: it works. Experiments will give yo ua range of different effects, and adding a polarising filter will extend things a couple of stops further (though beware of the orientation, as killing all the reflections here could be either the making or breaking of the shot).

It is the composition: framing is a good idea, but don't make the frame baroque and gilded (as some picture frames in galleries are). I really like Moira's third mod, as it makes the motion in the water really visible.

I've just bought a very dense filter, and will be experimenting with it in the near future... An alternative (which I've tried already) is shooting at dusk, so that f/22 gives 30 seconds or so shutter speed. Could this be yoru next experiment?
29 Jun 2017 11:52AM
Yes, its certainly on my list of things to try, particularly as dusk shooting appears to be one of the recommended times of the day for shooting waterscapes (whether inland or coastal), however I have to find another subject.

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