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Shelter from the storm

By Bajob3
I have been entering some exhibitions and get wildly varying results for the same images. I am looking for cc as to how to improve my processing and the overall impact of the images, Thank you

Tags: Landscape and travel Lake district landscapes Exhibitions2020



mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
6 Jan 2021 9:00AM
It's a satisfying composition, it contrasts 'our' world with the inhospitable snow-covered tops; the hills roll past, the farm sits very comfortably for the eye.

How well it fares in a competition depends on whether the judge favours dramatic processing or a more natural look. That's always going to be the unquantifiable factor. My advice would be - produce images that capture your memories, convey what you saw. Don't let your photography be governed by competition requirements! (But then I do solemnly swear that I am not and never have been a member of a Camera Club...)

Could you add the original unprocessed file as a modification please?
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 2018 England
6 Jan 2021 10:08AM
What processing have you done here?

I am struck by what looks to me like a certain lack of sharpness: I'm not sure if this is the result of camera shake, focus issues, inherent lens quality or file size. Unless a landscape is impressionistic, there's a tendency to expect absolute sharpness (as opposed, though, to extreme sharpening).

The light wasn't necessarily doing you great favours: maybe a burst of sunshine... But one of the skills of the really expert landscaper is to go out when the light is likely to be great, and then waiting until it is. That can require extreme patience, and a lack of a dayjob!

I have a feeling that some workers would use complex processing to exaggerate differences in light levels, and maybe in the colour palette between the areas - it's outside my skillset, though.
chase Plus
17 2.5k 676 England
6 Jan 2021 12:05PM
This generally is a nice image but, as John has mentioned, it does lack some sharpness.
This file is fairly small (722kb) so difficult to work with without introducing more noise than there already is here, especially in the sky.
I was once a very active member of a camera club and I found that whilst one judge would award high points for an image, the next judge wouldn't like the very same image at all.
Impact on the viewer/judge will depend how this is displayed, a digital file or a print.

To me this looks very dark and possibly a touch over processed so I did a mod, cropped off loads of the sky and some of the bottom, lightened slightly and added just a wee bit more warmth.
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
6 Jan 2021 12:39PM
The image is soft and while 1/160 should be safe if you're handholding at that focal length it;s still possible to get camera shake. That, and heavy compression adding to it won't help.
landscapes like this, for exhibition (competition and sales too) need to be sharp.Impressionism is another matter. Slightly fuzzy doesn't work and won't result in acceptance. So make sure your capture technique is up to scratch before thinking about processing.

I agree about shooting images how you yourself want, but there's no harm in shooting in a certain way for a competition as it can challenge you and think about technique and seeing things from a different point of view. Some people enjoy those aspects.

How much processing to do depends on the competition and it's rules.
In my mod I did a small Levels adjustment by moving the white point in (which was a useful boost if I'd done nothing else), a small Curves adjustment to increase brightness and contrast a little, wamed the colour balance using the snow on the hills as a white point reference, then a final Curves adjustment on a central selection to boost the light in the valley.
All minor adjustments but making the most of the original - while sombre ican look good, iof it tends to flat and muddy it won't capture the attention or imagimation.
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4354 Canada
6 Jan 2021 2:02PM
I can only comment on what I see, so Im not able to comment on processing without seeing the as-shot image as well as the finished image.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2021 7:58AM
Thanks for adding the original file. Could you let us know what you were aiming at in your processing, and how you feel it improves on the original?
chase Plus
17 2.5k 676 England
7 Jan 2021 9:54AM
The original is nice to see, thanks for providing that.

You have done lots of post processing here which really hasn't helped the quality of your final image.

Generally the idea would be to get it right at the point of taking the image, for instance, waiting for the light to appear, going out with the camera on a day with good light and shade and a better sky perhaps.
Your composition is ok but the original image is tonally flat.

Would be nice to know why you have done the post processing that you have done.
Bajob3 2
7 Jan 2021 10:41AM
Thank you. I had been on a drive through with my wife, mother in law and my wifeís uncle so I couldnít wait for the light - or could have at peril of my life. The light was bad for most of the trip in as much as there was very little light and grey skies. I 100% agree that it is better to wait for light rather than fake it post processing but am based in Northern Ireland so can manage it with local venues but had to take what was dealt to me in the Lake District.

The photo I had uploaded was very much a trial to see if it was worth trying to work on flat images, or not, and get ideas for composition and crop.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2021 11:57AM
I've added a modification based on your original, trying to extract a better sense of weight in the sky. I pushed the dehaze filter to +28%, at which point artifacts start to set in.

I have to be blunt - years ago a friend and I used to exchange holiday postcards, looking for the most extreme examples of over-processing that we could find, and your main upload is rather reminiscent of some of our finds. If you want enhanced mood, better to look at b&w.
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
7 Jan 2021 12:13PM
Thanks for the original.
The first problem is underexposure because of the relatively bright and large area of snow and sky and that's resulted in flat tones though flat light hasn't helped. Moira's mod is I reckon close to what the original scene looked like.
A fair record, pleasant enough and no doubt has memories for you.

I can sympathise with havig to take the conditions you have at the time and even for someone who's local they may pay 20 or 39 visiots before they get something they're happy with. Other times the first visit can be so good that you'd not better it in years. Such is the lot of landscaping.
For exhibition images you do need good lighting (and I don't necessarily mean bright) that creates drama, has shadows and highlights that reveal texture, and so on.That gives you something to work on to enhamnce.
Duller, and flatter, conditions can still work but it's usually the detail oriented shots that work best, so shooting with the conditions rather than against them is key to getting a result. Thinking of it the other way, you're not going to get a moody image in full summer's day sun.
clevercloggs 19 251 15 Netherlands
7 Jan 2021 12:20PM
Well, if the image was perfect, you would not have posted it up for critique here.Wink

Thanks for uploading the original. That one shows some weaknesses in itself. It seems to me that the overall image is not exactly in focus, or enough in focus to process it into a 'pleasant for the eye' image. Especially, what i believe to be the focal point of the photo, the houses in the centre appears to be blurry in the original.
Processing to 'up the image' you have done, but possibly no matter of software may turn this into a sharp enough image. We all feel there is something not right with it.

In terms of taste, i would think that the clouds on the top of the page are overdone and draw unnecessary attention to them.
Whereas the focal point, the houses, could do with some more clarity, by upping the brightness/dodging or upping the clarity depending on which software you use..In that way your eye would be automatically drawn to the lighter spot. Which is what you want.
Maybe using a gradient filter to darken the clouds would be enough for these to come out with some detail..

As far as competitions go, by all means enter, so you can learn from the competition element (others) and comments from people with more experience and/or talent. Try to look through personal opinions as these are ofttimes just that.
Practice makes the master, so keep on doing what you like doing and you'll increase your skillset and become better.

Good luck,


dudler Plus
19 2.0k 2018 England
7 Jan 2021 3:23PM
Thanks for the original image.

Unless you strike incredibly lucky with the light, serious landscape photography is incompatible with family: the exception may have been when Colin Prior used to camp on the top of Scottish mountains in winter with his dad, in order to shoot the dawn from a peak.

I'm sure there are people who could make something impactful from your original file, but most of us struggle without the light. hwatt, who is one of the best landscape workers on this site, once defined the requirements, in this order, as light, composition and location.

There's a price to pay in every type of photography, a learning curve to climb, and dues to pay. Almost without exception, the best landscape photographers are happy to walk up a hill in the half-light and wait as long as it takes. Still life workers devote a room to their work, and keep a lot of what spouses call 'junk' around. Figure workers like me pay good models, and either buy kit or pay for studio time (and sometimes pay a social price, too, as do our models).
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4354 Canada
7 Jan 2021 7:32PM
I think the answer in this case is yes, its worth spending tome on the original.

Ive uploaded a mod with quite a bit of work. I processed the upper area, sky and snow differently to the land, and combined. The major changes are white balance is warmer, land exposure and contrast increased; sky exposure decreased with noise reduction. Colour saturation increased where appropriate.

Mod 6 is the result, if you click on it you will see a larger version.

Let me know what you think,


Bajob3 2
7 Jan 2021 9:07PM
Thank you all. It is amazing the results from a single image and the cracking feedback. Iíve just spent the last couple of hours culling in lightroom again.
28 Apr 2021 2:40PM
Hi, hope you do not mind but I had a go at editing your image. I think less is more so I have tried to be a bit more subtle. I used the grad tool in LR to bring down and give some contrast to the sky but reduced the blues here. I used the radial filter to bring some light and colour to the focus of he image which for me is the house. A spot of real light would of course be preferable. I lightened the orange, yellow colours in this area. I used a large radial filter to give a slight vignette . I obviously cropped the image to take out the foreground as this IMHO did not add. There are dust spots in the sky top left (easy to remove) and as some have said it is not really sharp, you probably need to lug a tripod or up the ISO.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 2018 England
28 Apr 2021 6:19PM
That's a lovely and subtle mod, Geriant... Respectful of the light as it was.
Bajob3 2
29 Apr 2021 6:37AM
Thank you again for another option for editing

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