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Loch Stack in Sutherland

By Bigpoolman
I saw this lovely rock on the banks of Loch Stack in NW Scotland and thought it made a really interesting foreground for the loch and mountain in the distance.
Taken with a little stopper to smooth the water and enhance the reflection and a TS lens for front to back sharpness. ND grad to balance the exposure and some editing in LR and PS.
Comments appreciated as always.

Thanks for looking


Tags: Scotland Autumn Sutherland Landscape and travel Loch stack

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2406 United Kingdom
21 Apr 2017 11:12AM
Intriguing image. Wide angle combined with portrait format can have some strange effects, the distortion of verticals (real and reflected), on both sides of the frame but more noticeable on the left, gives a slightly Alice in Wonderland feel. And as a result the background rather dominates at the expense of a very satisfying foreground rock.

It's growing on me, but I think I would find it better balanced if there was a stronger distorted vertical on the right for balance, rather than simply the reeds.

And I cannot help wondering what a lower viewpoint would give, with less water separating the two areas of interest. Did you try anything like that?

I'm not a landscaper but this is moving into landscape that I find stimulating, landscape of the mind, and the tricks it plays.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1843 England
21 Apr 2017 1:22PM
I really like this.

However - and I'm amazed that Moira didn't comment on it - there is actually a tilt to it. Unless the front of the boathouse slopes a lot this is two or 3°anticlockwise from true. So for my mod, I rotated clockwise and also secured the right top corner upwards so that the loch surface looks reasonably level where it meets the shore.

Might big thought for improvement is that a fraction lower viewpoint would have left less distance between the near rock, the rock in the middle, and the boathouse. I think that would have tied the composition together a bit better, though I had to get the idea of putting stuff towards the edges of the frame.

Does any of this strike a chord with you?
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2406 United Kingdom
21 Apr 2017 4:29PM

Quote:However - and I'm amazed that Moira didn't comment on it - there is actually a tilt to it.

John, I wondered about this - but look at the position of that cloud's reflection, it's already to the left of the actual cloud. And the angles of the reeds and their reflections on the right. That's why I mentioned Alice, it's a brain-teaser!
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4235 Canada
21 Apr 2017 5:37PM
A little tilted. I think the conundrum here is explained by the fact a TS lens was used, and we dont know to what extent optical corrections have affected what we see. We can assume, but we will be wrong. The example here is that hut, its leaning back, and its reflection would also be leaning back. but its not.

I addressed this area by rotating that on its own.


salopian 9 3 28 United Kingdom
21 Apr 2017 5:43PM
I like this very much as well and read John and Moira's comments with interest. These made me study the shot more carefully and I realised that the tall portrait presentation, with the tilt that John noticed, made the Image look rather tall and narrow as well as a little unstable ! Probably my eyes, but I tried a mod to broaden the aspect ratio. I cropped the sky to concentrate on the hut and boulders in the mid and foreground and put a thin black border to tie it all together. I also (rather crudely!) tried to tone down the very bright reflection in the water - top right third.
Just an alternative idea - the original looks great.

21 Apr 2017 10:24PM
Thats what I love about the critique gallery, you always get a different perspective and its thought provoking.

So thanks all for your comments and suggestions.

I can now see what you mean about the tilt but I know the shot was level originally as I use a spirit level thingy (technical term) on the camera and I haven't knowingly modified it in that regard. To my eye, the water slopes downwards fractionally on the mods but then the shack looks straight so I am somewhat baffled. I did some cloning around the boathouse to remove a couple of my fellow photographers, that may have corrupted the verticals slightly but not the roof line.

Whilst I think there needs to be enough space between the rock and the boat house to give the reflection space, I agree that it would have helped to go slightly lower and reduce this, good pointer for the future thanks.

I have uploaded a mod that gets rid of the foreground rock completely, interested in your reaction. This was suggested to me by a very experienced photographer as it makes the scene calmer. I do agree with that but am also rather wedded to my foreground rock.

Great comments, further thoughts / explanations very much appreciated



mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2406 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2017 7:57AM
Thanks for your feedback, and for adding the additional composition. I do like the distortion (and as with the main image, I'm quite satisfied that it's level, looking at the cloud reflections). But there are wispy bits of grass along the bottom edge, rather than a real sense of terra firma below our feet, and there's still a lot of empty water.

I'd like to get down really low, to raise the foreground within the frame. It's often very revealing to move as far as one can away from the standard eye-level view. Less of the classic view, more personal.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1843 England
22 Apr 2017 1:11PM
Thanks for the extra version: and there's a geometrical conundrum here... Diverging verticals?

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