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Stormy Weather

By Meta_Morph
Another shot from my recent stay on Burgh Island. This one taken in 70mile an hour winds, in the wake of Storm Eunice. I have called it Stormy Weather to fit with the 1930s vibe on the Island and the conditions.

Fairly sure it could be technically better, but pleased with the in camera composition which just required minor crop and straightening and with the result given the challenging conditions. Edited in lightroom, to adjust exposure, highlights and shadows, warmed up a little and some distractions removed. Also flipped it following Moira's previous advice.

Interested in what settings would have improved the shot and your views on the processing as the temptation (especially with sunsets is to over do it) when sometimes less is more.

Your thoughts as always welcome and appreciated

Tags: Landscape photography Sunsets Stormy skies Landscape and travel Burgh island Stormy sunset Sunset and Seascape

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mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2564 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2022 8:36AM
Hi Hannah, just a quick comment from me because I have to go out soon.

I reckon that you made a very good job in processing this. The problem though is that with that bright light in the sky has tricked the camera into under-exposing. This was a situation for a plus exposure compensation setting, I would start at +0.7 stop, check the result, and work from there.

Or alternatively, go with that moody contre-jour silhouette... I shall have a look at that later.

You are still relying on a program mode, it served you pretty well - the shutter speed is fast enough to freeze the wave action, F/7.1 is a reasonable aperture; but it's time to take control!

It's interesting that this is flipped, because it looks counter-intuitive to me. Classic composition would have the light coming from the left and everything else following it - the rocks drifting away to the right.

I'll be back later,
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1967 England
25 Feb 2022 12:08PM
Lots of good stuff from Moira. I've gone with dark and moody, for a minimal edit. A little lighter in the shadows, a bit darker in the highlights, and straightened. Does it need more?

Exposure: the +/- compensation is your friend, as is the electronic viewfinder, which can be set to show exposure visually - not a histogram, but the view is light or dark depending how you set the exposure.

And it's definitely time to try Aperture priority (Moira and I make different default choices, so you could equally choose Shutter priority).

My route means that you:
choose the aperture first, for whatever depth of field you want, then;
check that the shutter speed is suitable in the viewfinder readout, and adjust ISO to get the shutter speed where you want it.

Moira's route involves choosing shutter speed to suit action or the blur you want, then checking aperture, then altering ISO if required. An extra step is to make sure that the camera is not already at maximum aperture and giving underexposure because it can't open the lens any further. BUT it is the method generally preferred by people who shoot action and wildlife.
chase Plus
17 2.5k 668 England
25 Feb 2022 12:43PM
This is rather nice Hannah, the horizon sits nicely on the lower third and you have done well to bring out the colour from what looks like an underexposed frame.
I don't think you needed to flip here, the cliffs being on the right do give me a barrier and I find myself just looking at the gap, so I flipped it back Blush
I agree with the addition of some +exposure compensation to combat the under exposure.
Watch the lighter halos around some parts of the image, probably caused by having to lift the exposure during post processing. I did address those on a duplicate layer, clone tool set to darken.
I added just a smidge more warmth, slightly reduced the blues on the splashing waves, removed a couple of birds right at the edges...I do like the fact you managed to include some in the sky.
I used a levels layer to add a drop of extra brightness generally.

Don't be afraid to take total control of your camera settings, it is a big step to take.
Overall, I think you have done well here Hannah Smile
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2564 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2022 1:44PM
I'm back and I've uploaded a modification, similar to John's aiming for mood rather than detail.

In Camera Raw I added 0.5 stop exposure, and some contrast; I darkened shadows, used a plus setting on the Dehaze filter; and I warmed colour a bit, and boosted yellows. Unfortunately all this has created some noise in the sky.

Then rotation to straighten the sea horizon, a 16 x 9 crop and horizontal flip to have the light coming in from the left.

It's wonderful how many options a single exposure can offer!
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4333 Canada
25 Feb 2022 3:20PM
This is a lovely shot, and youve extracted an amazing amount of detail from an underexposed image. Ideally shooting into the light you would have increased exposure compensation. In this shot however, you really need less exposure for the sky, and more for the land, which is done usually with either filters or multiple shots on a tripod.

So looking at it from this point of view, I would process to reduce the exposure in the sky, - it gives it drama and colour; and get the sea to be a little brighter; I think combining the two produces a beautiful mood. I didnt increase exposure in the sea and land, I increased shadow detail to get that brighter appearance.

White balance is best set to daylight for this, as it provides a warmer tone, and Ive adjusted this in the mod,

Its not too hard to produce two image as suggested, one darker and one lighter, overlay one on the other, and mask the area you want included in the top layer.

Ive left the crop as is, and levelled the horizon. Looking closely, you can see small sunlight splashes of colour in the waves which are not visible if the exposure is increased too much.

Hope this helps, and well done


25 Feb 2022 3:41PM
Thanks Moira,

Much appreciated. Felt sure I had the composition around the right way, leading to the sun, but happy to be guided by you.

I am practicing with the camera manual settings, but conditions were quite challenging here so opted for auto, or risk getting nothing at all. Taking it with the camera not the mobile and managing to achieve the full composition in the camera without cropping felt like progress.

Thanks again.
25 Feb 2022 3:55PM
Thanks for taking the the time to modify the shot, John, much appreciated. I like what you have done but it lacks drama for me and warmth. I prefer Moiras.

I have been practicing with the camera, particularly with depth of field and aperture but was more interested here in ensuring I got a usable shot from the camera.

Useful advice on exposure I will practice this in calmer conditions.

Thanks again
25 Feb 2022 4:13PM
Thanks Janet for your encouragement it is much appreciated. I like your modification very much and appreciate you taking the time to produce this. I think the halos are a problem with LR as there are no layers, which seems to create halos at the margins particularly where there is high contrast. PS still not set up... good news is tripod has arrived, although fairly impressed with the camera performance here hand held. Thanks again much appreciated Grin -
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2564 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2022 4:18PM
Hannah, it's a joy to work with someone who responds and joins in the conversation! Thank you so much.

Just a couple of points:

Halos tend to result from pushing contrast and / or sharpening, in pretty well any software.

Plus, in circumstances like this, the view isn't going to go away, so it's worth trying a variety of different approaches. Try program, then take some control, think out your settings - and compare the results.

You're enjoying learning, that's the important thing!
25 Feb 2022 4:44PM
Thanks for your lovely comments Willie,

I appreciate your encouragement and your modification with the helpful explanation. I like your modification, which is similar to Johns and Moiras but has more warmth and a smoother sky.

The photo was taken handheld, with my husband acting as a brace behind me to stop me blowing away! He is very supportive Wink

I have a question here, if you are bracketing is it possible to take 3 shots from one click or does it have to be 3 separate shots, that are then combined post processing. I have worked out how to do this but they would not combine I suspect as not aligned due to camera movement.

Tripod has now hopefully this will resolve this...

Thanks again Willie, much appreciated Smile
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4333 Canada
25 Feb 2022 4:54PM
Its usually three separate shots, which is why that tripod id needed; you maintain focus precisely through each one.

Do you have an editor other than LR? Layers and mask are essential tools for editing and LR doesnt do this type of editing.

There are loads of Youtube tutorials on layers and masks for various editors. You can see from the mods, that you can increase apparent exposure without increasing exposure only, but also by lifting shadow detail, which gives a subtly different effect. The sky had exposure increased only, with the slightly warmer white balance. You should try setting your WB to Daylight when it is actually daylight (even cloudy) rather than AWB and take some shots, - you will be surprised

Its great to have a supportive husband!


25 Feb 2022 4:57PM
Thanks Moira, I really appreciate the help you have all been giving me, it is so kind of you all to share your expertise in this way. 😀

I promise you, I am experimenting with the settings, but not yet getting any results worth this situation with the very high winds and changing light - the moment was gone in a matter of minutes, and hail raining down on our heads.

Best regards
25 Feb 2022 5:08PM
Thanks Willie, That is helpful re exposures. I will try that with WB. The camera does seem to have a somewhat blue hue, perhaps that will fix it. I do have photoshop but still need to upgrade my PC to run it...
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4333 Canada
25 Feb 2022 5:09PM
Its Auto White Balance that causes the blue hue Hannah
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2022 7:10PM
It's a real pleasure to have your images in the Critique Gallery, Hannah, for your involvement in the conversations and especially your eagerness to learn.

I have read all of the above comments and didn't want to intervene until the end. This is mainly because I really like your lead upload, was interested in what others thought of it, and liked the way that Janet has flipped it back, saying, " I don't think you needed to flip here, the cliffs being on the right do give me a barrier and I find myself just looking at the gap".

I like what you have produced from the original, the colours, the composition and the wave action, but especially that dramatic sky and the sun's rays breaking out from behind the dark cloud. We often advise people to wait until the sun either goes down over the horizon, or until a cloud hides it, to avoid a big white blob appearing in the sky, and making exposure problematic because of its brightness. But you knew that, didn't you!?

Also, it looks as if you know about the Rule Of Thirds, judging by the placement of your horizon and the rocks. Very good! But remember that this "rule" is simply a Guideline, and can, with a lot of compositional experience, be effectively broken, as many rules are.

chase Plus
17 2.5k 668 England
25 Feb 2022 8:19PM

Quote:if you are bracketing is it possible to take 3 shots from one click

I will attempt an answer to that based on my own experience, albeit with a Nikon D500.
I use a shutter release cable attached permanently to my camera. I set the bracketing, for me, 3frames, one stop apart. On the top of my camera I have a dial which I can set to continuous shooting, one press of the attached shutter release cable, count the 3 exposures, job done.
Iím sorry, I donít know your camera therefore I donít know if that particular function is available to you.
So, answer, in short, yes it is possible but will depend on your cameras capeabilities.

Pleased the tripod has landed, it will take you perhaps a little longer to initially set your shot up but will be worth it in the end Smile
25 Feb 2022 8:32PM
Hi Pamela,

Glad you liked it. I tried really hard to get the composition right in the camera here and was pleased to have achieved this, figured I'd learn the rules first...then break them...interestingly I went to the NHM Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition this week and many of the highly commended and winning images had deliberately broke the rules. I rather liked the humour created by the composition in this one Departure - Exhibition is well worth a visit if you get the chance

Thanks again for your comments much appreciated Smile
25 Feb 2022 8:45PM
Thanks Janet, that is helpful, I will try that, once I set up the tripod. Hopefully we will get some weather this weekend and I can get out and about to give it a try.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1967 England
26 Feb 2022 9:59AM
Yup, that one's brilliant. And - as a side-note - would be an instant fail in 50% of camera club competitions...

As others have said, it's great to get thoughtful comments back. We all know we'd be friends with you if we met on the path to the beach and started chatting about cameras!
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2022 3:40PM
The "Departure" picture is a winner in my book !
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2564 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2022 4:22PM
I love Departure - but as John indicates, so many people just would not 'get' it.
27 Feb 2022 11:59PM
Perhaps we should have a break the rules day on here, to see what creativity it drives out. Could be fun?

dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1967 England
28 Feb 2022 9:48PM
Brilliant idea, Hannah!
24 Mar 2022 11:15AM
Hope you do not mind my very late contribution. This is a really evocative image I get the feel of the wind, spray, shifting light and the difficulties that presents.

For me I have no problem with the highlights and shadow as these can be controlled sufficiently in Lightroom for me. Neither do I have an issue with the orientation. Where I do think this image could perhaps be modified is by deciding what the subject is. For me it would be the light falling on the stacks. I can imagine it might have been difficult to get nearer or lower to these but if you could I think it would be good.

Hence, I have cropped what I felt subtracts (many may well tell you never to crop, for me it is a valuable tool). I have used a brush and exposure adjustment to bring out the light across the foam and on the stacks. I used a grad to adds some contrast to the sky and a radial grad with de-haze and de -clarity to soften the bright sun area reducing the highlight slider slightly.
24 Mar 2022 3:53PM
Thank you Gerainte,

I appreciate you taking the time to modify this, I am quite partial to a square crop and often take them this way in camera.

I like the mod and appreciate the advice.
Unfortunately there was no chance to get lower as was a very steep cliff and a very windy day! But perhaps a bigger zoom would have helped.

Tbh, I was pleased to get a viable shot, given this was hand held in high winds.

Thanks again,

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