Back Modifications (2)
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View from Stone Arthur

By limafish
I took this picture before Christmas in the Lake District whilst involved in a Mountain Rescue search with a compact camera on its landscape setting.

I have played around in photoshop trying to get the picture to stand out using a variety of different adjustments but can't work out what I need to alter to improve it. The view when standing there was breathtaking, especially when we had set out in fog, so to pop out above the cloud with the peaks poking through was a real bonus.

I would appreciate it if you could make any adjustments you think would be appropriate and if you could let me know what you did to get there to help my learning then that would be great.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Tags: 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.


CathR 11 151 564 United Kingdom
9 Jan 2011 2:54PM
I definitely would not like to be lost in those sorts of conditions so all credit for turning out, Rob.

I think the problem you have got here is a lack of contrast. The sun is very misted over so it is not giving you much in terms of light and shade. You can see the effect if you look at the levels display. All the pixels are bunched to the centre with not a lot at either end.

I have uploaded a mod for you. What I did was to pull the left hand tab at the end of the levels display towards the centre. Same with the right hand end, pull it towards the centre. This will increase the contrast. I applied the changes with a layer mask and avoided the sun area as it was burning out too much with the increased lightening.

I also used the sponge tool (I have elements 5) to enhance the saturation of the blue in the sky. It's rather lovely and it adds an element of colour into the pic.

The main problem with the pic is that, as you say, it must have been a breathtaking sight but it does not translate all that well into a pic as there is not a lot of differentiation between tones of black, white grey etc or colour for the camera to latch on to. It's difficult for someone who was not there to appreciate that the peaks are sticking up through the clouds. What may have helped is to include a bit more of the foreground. Then you get a better contrast between the ground and the cloud/mountains etc. I like it though as it gives you a good feeling for the mountains in winter (as long as you are not lost).

Best wishes


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looboss 11 3.1k 7 United Kingdom
9 Jan 2011 4:12PM
I think the basic problem here is that you forgot to overexpose the shot by at least 1 stop, that is why it came out a dull grey bluish tint to it.

when shooting a bright snow/fog scene like this, the camera records a mid grey tone so you must compensate by using the AE button. In contrast when you shoot something really black like a cat, dog, cow, bull you must underexpose it by at least one stop also as the camera will render it also mid grey with a blue tint to it if in colour.

I tried to correct it in the mod, but with such a low quality image it's almost impossible to get good results.
Tooth 13 5.8k 227 Ireland
10 Jan 2011 1:26AM
Sorry to be harsh here but picking up on a few things Cath said...first of course kudos for going there and being there...and having a camera to record it. But the emotional contact you had with the scene would be hard to translate into a picture that someone with no knowledge of the context would say..that's a lovely picture. There's just not enough in it in terms of composition

The other point is you took it with a compact camera and are asking how it can be improved, but there really is a limit to what can be done after the event. Unfortunately with photography there are some shots where the "being there" factor just doesn't translate into a good photo in its own right.

I hope tou take that the weay it'sintended, just my honest thoughts

limafish 10 7 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 10:31AM
Thank you for looking and for your comments and mods.

I do realise that the problem with this photo is partially the camera it was taken with but that was all I had with me camera wise (apart from my phone). When I packed my rucksac in the dark and fog the considerations were about warm kit and rescue kit and so the SLR and tripod etc had to stay at home. By the end of the day I wished I had dumped some of the harness and helmet and other gear and fitted it in instead but that's only because I knew how the day turned out and that I didn't end up hauling a stretcher around as I might have.

I do know that just being there was not going to get me a great shot especially when I only had a simple compact camera that as far as I have found does not allow me to adjust the exposure manually. The picture is just what I got and having tried, I wondered if anybody on here who has more experience / knowledge of digital processing could resurrect it into something that goes some way towards reflecting the view that we saw. The moment will stay with me as a picture in my mind, just unfortunately one I didn't succeed in getting onto 'film'. I at least have the comfort I had a camera with me, one of my colleagues had the old "wish I had a camera at this moment" feeling.
paulbroad 10 123 1240 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 1:59PM
I don't think we should blame the compact - or anything. What you saw was probably stunning, but I don't think it transfers well as an image regardless of camera. Compacts can do very well indeed, and the only technical problem here is contrast due to under exposure. Most compacts have exposure correction features.

At 600 pixels, it is often difficult to tell if a compact or EOS Ds 1V was used!

I'm not sure your letterbox crop has helped - is there a full valley in the foreground - that might have given the image a stronger base.

mrjes 15 2 United States
10 Jan 2011 2:02PM
Lovely shot. I might want to crop out the lower 20% or so, or airbrush it out, Would likely be a good mono or sepia tone as well,

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