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Duck Bay Jetty

By johnnyboy114  
Not posted on here for a while, baby and lack of time stopped play Smile

But recent trip to Loch Lomond, so thought I would take advantage of the lovely weather up there and get up early while the little one was feeding and try and get some early morning long exposures...

Now, I don't have any ND filters to increase exposure times and so on, so had to get up before sunrise to allow me to have as "little" light as possible to make sure the exposures were 30+ secs......

But, as you will see, I think I have gone about this all wrong somehow and the results weren't as I was hoping....

This is one of my very first REAL attempts at long exposure landscapes and frankly, a bit disappointed to be honest. White balance was a nightmare, I couldn't seem to get the exposure correct, its not as "sharp" as I would like it....there are so many things I am not happy about.

It has had minimal work with curves, levels, cropping, sharpening and so on, so what you are seeing isn't far off whats straight out of the camera.

I would like to know peoples opinions....I realise this isn't anywhere NEAR the calibre of some of the togs on here who do this on a regular basis and as my PS skills are also fairly minimal, I have done the best I can.

But ideas, thoughts, advice all welcome. Please don't rip me apart. I already know and can see its shortcomings (and the others in this set), just be gentle and pass advice Smile

Tags: Loch lomond 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.


aeras 5 6 Cyprus
2 Apr 2012 8:27PM
Hi ,
I think that you are too harsh with yourself. Smile
Since the photo is monotone the blue color works ok for me.
I think you could improve it if you cropped some of the empty space on the left making the composition tighter thus emphasizing the bridge.


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johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2012 8:31PM
Thanks Charles, I did think about cropping off the left a bit, but thought the dark jetty might cut a bit too far across the image then. You could well be right....might go back and have a look at this. Thanks for your words Charles. Appreciated
11 12 1 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2012 8:42PM
Hi J, long time no see. I like this waterscape, I no longer take seascapes or landscapes..but if this was mine I would have got in closer to the pier to give more impact. Also I would crop some space off this to the left. Yep would have got in closer and tried to retain some detail in the shadowed area around pier..probably easier if you had the big that you can take pictures in lighter conditions.

johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2012 8:52PM
Thank you Simon....and yeah, been a while....babies eh? Wink Thanks for your comments. Appreciated. The crop from the left seems like its the will have a look at this and post another version (not a member anymore, so can't post versions with this...). I was working with a 24-105 lens on a crop sensor camera, so without distorting, I did wonder if I could get closer to the jetty....perhaps I should have tried. I didn't really. I was more concerned about trying to get as wide an image as I could with the limitations of the body and lens at its widest....I would have liked a big stopper to be honest, but as it was opportunistic and I am normally a people shooter, then I have never really had any reason to excuse the cost! lol!

Thanks again Simon....good advice! Appreciated!
soulofharmony 7 22 1 Norfolk Island
2 Apr 2012 10:07PM
Works for me...johnny......!!!!

Nikki !!
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
2 Apr 2012 10:18PM
Hi John,
This isn't really my specialised subject but it is possible to rescue quite a bit from this shot.
I've uploaded a mod. in which I increased the brightness (+75), applied threshold curves to adjust the contrast and used the colour balance tool to reduce the blue channel (-54) and increase the red channel (+30).
I've also cropped a bit from the LHS and the bottom.
I'm sure that there's more to be had from this but I'm not sure how!
Hope this helps.

johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2012 10:33PM
Thanks Nikki! Smile

Bren, thats quite an interesting mod, I quite like it. Its not the look I was going for, but it does work. The crop is the most interesting thing for me really, so nice to see it actually in action. As for the actual adjustments, good stuff. I have a few from this set that I might have a go at with similar settings. Cheers for the variation!
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
2 Apr 2012 11:11PM
We aim to please John!
Actually, I think that's still too blue but I wasn't sure in which direction to go next. It would really have to depend upon the kind of image you were aiming to end up with. I think that there are plenty of possibilities in this, or rather, in your original.
johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2012 11:26PM
Was looking to either go cool with a few warmer highlights or try a high contrast mono, but kind of hit somewhere in between! Smile I am going to have a go at reworking this and the others and see what I come up with. Cheers again! Smile
3 Apr 2012 11:49AM
i think the crop has really done this shot justice Johnny, love the cool tones and the long exposure gives that feeling of tranquility. Thought you couldn't do landscapes WinkTongue
johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2012 12:40PM
Ahh Dave, you flatter me Wink lol! Its Ok I feel, but reckon it could be a lot better. But I guess as a first proper attempt I shouldn't be too annoyed lol! Cheers Dave, appreciated! Smile
paulbroad 10 123 1235 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2012 4:22PM
This is quite nice and I think you are over critical of yourself. For me, it is just a bit too heavy and needs brightening up a bit to lift the shadow areas form the background. I would leave the composition alone.

The mod is effective too.

johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2012 5:39PM
Thanks Paul. I think the detail is something I would like to have captured more of so good point. The mod is definitely going in the right direction. Thanks again Smile
Richsr 10 91 223 England
3 Apr 2012 8:13PM
Think the comp works well John and the long exposure has give the water that nice milk look.
I would not do too much more with this as the blue tones work well.
Regards Richard
johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2012 11:16PM
Thanks Richard, this has got a much more positive response than I was expecting. Really appreciate your thoughts
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2012 1:16AM
Well, I don't think this has all gone wrong by any means.

The white balance looks fine, to me, in that the colours make sense for the scene. If you're not happy with it, take a test shot of a white piece of paper (or, ideally, a photographic grey card) and use that to calibrate the white balance in your raw editor. But, for a shot like this, I think it's more important to adjust the white balance manually to give an impression of what you saw, rather than get all scientific about it.

Likewise, exposure. What you have here looks natural to me -- you have pure blacks in your photo but no really bright tones. That seems about right for early in the morning, when the light is subdued and there aren't any really bright tones around. If you want, you can use a levels adjustment to give the full range of tones, or a fuller range. Setting the white point to 220 is a good compromise, I think: it perks the image up a bit without making it too bright. It also lifts the colours a bit.

Sharpness is a legitimate complaint. The foreground looks fine at this resolution but the horizon does look rather soft. It may be that there was a little mist in the air; if so, end of story. Otherwise, the two things to look at are aperture and focus (I'm assuming you were on a sturdy tripod and it wasn't blowing a gale). The problem with very narrow apertures is that you get diffraction, which reduces sharpness. This will be an issue to some extent at f/22 so a decent ND would have been useful. It doesn't have to be anything crazy: a two-stop would have let you shoot at f/11. Actually, having just looked at a depth of field calculator , focus isn't likely to be the issue as the hyperfocal distance is only 4'6" away at f/22 and 24mm which means that, as long as you focused at least that far away, infinity should have been in focus.

By the way, don't expect a sharp image with "minimal sharpening". But you already know that, right? Particularly when shooting raw, the camera applies very little sharpening, on the assumption that you'll do it yourself. Any image shot raw needs to be sharpened to an appropriate degree because otherwise, by definition, it won't be appropriately sharp! Don't be afraid of levels, curves, sharpening and other such adjustments. They're a fundamental part of the process. It used to be called "darkroom technique", which sounds rather noble; now we often call it "Photoshopping" and it suffers from the association with airbrushing and other kinds of potential dishonesty.

johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2012 8:21AM
Dave, thats excellent stuff! Really appreciate that.

The sharpness point interests me a lot as when I see this kind of shot from others, they are utterly tack sharp images. I wanted to get as much in this image as sharp as possible, so stopped down as far as I could and focused about a third into the image. As it turns out, even with a small amount of sharpening (I did sharpen, but not too much...), it still doesn't look like it will sharpen anymore to get "detail" in the edges etc etc......I guess that I should stop open a bit more to about f11-16 and find a stopper to lengthen the shutter speed. I will keep this in mind for the future, so thank you for that.

Really appreciate the critique.
DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2012 8:32AM
You're welcome! By the way, if you only need a stop or two, a polarizer can be used as an emergency ND.

johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2012 9:35AM
Believe it or not, there was a polariser on this.... Smile I think it might have been a bit too light by the time this shot was taken! lol! Scotland at 6am...would have expected it to be darker! lol!
Cheers again Dave
Paul_CA 10 16 4 France
4 Apr 2012 11:23AM
I might crop this a little as others have suggested, otherwise I like the mood and the exposure looks ok for the atmosphere that this image presents - nice moody and very dawnish. No, I quite like this and you are maybe being a little harsh. (unless you had something completely different in mind when you took this)
Dawn light is amazingly cold and if you're not careful with your exposure you end up with something really dark and excessively blue. Try setting white balance to cloudy or shadow to warm things up a little - you shoot RAW so you can mess about with white balance to your hearts content when you post process. At f22 I'd have expected everything to be nice and crisp especially at the wide end of your lens so I'm not understanding the softness you speak of at all especially around the horizon diffraction or no. Was it windy ? Did you walk around by the tripod during the exposure ? A mystery unless you focused on the wrong point - I reckon focusing on the end or half way along the pier should have got everything pin sharp. For shots like this I generally spot meter off of the 'crucial' bits with a hand held spot - setting spot metering on the camera is a pretty good compromise. A spot metering off the brightest part of the sky or the brightest part of the water should get you in the ball park pretty quickly. Check the histogram and adjust the exposure for the mood you're after.
johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2012 11:35AM
Cheers Paul. Yeah, not sure about the focusing either, although now I come to think of it, there MAY have been a touch of mist across the loch.....I couldn't see Ben Lomond from where I was and normally on a clear day you can see this quite clearly. So it could well be down to this....but I would have expected a touch more sharpness. And no, didn't walk around, but it was a slightly breezy morning. But my tripod is a pretty sturdy thing, so hoping it wasn't that. Who knows.....can't recreate the conditions now can I? lol! Wink

Good advice on the spot metering too. Will give this a go. Cheers for the comments, much appreciated!
paskinmj 9 11 1 United Kingdom
12 Apr 2012 1:58AM
Hi John. By your description you make out it to be a total disaster, which is NOT the case. The lack of sharpness is misfortunate, but I think the exposure and colour temperature works really well. The only snags I'd critique are a slightly tighter crop, and capturing the shot from a lower angle thus making the path more head on and horizontal (if that makes sense)? Great first attempt though.
johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
12 Apr 2012 6:39AM
Cheers Matt....all good stuff and food for time eh? Smile

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