Back Modifications (3)
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Lines in the Sand

By WeeGeordieLass    
Walking on the beach early morning, not another soul in sight, and I was greeted with this scene.

The sand looks like it had ridges, but it was actually very flat, and the colours were gorgeous!

I got down as low as possible with my wide angle lens to accentuate the lines leading up to the mountains in the distance.

When I processed the RAW image I tried to underexpose the scene so that I could stop the waves from blowing out. Then I altered the brightness, contrast, highlights and shadows to maintain the colours and detail of the shapes in the sand.

I'd be glad for any opinions and advice please.


Tags: General 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.


marktc Plus
7 101 15 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2012 7:31PM
A beauty Elaine

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banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3892 Canada
30 Mar 2012 7:56PM
You did a good job getting right down for this shot. The shadows cause the sand to appear to have larger ridges that it did, which is a good achievement.

The sand area is the most important here, and it looks to me like it can benefit with more contrast, which makes those lines really stand out. The upper area is a little over still, and toning down the highlights works to lessen the effect there.

Ive loaded 2 mods, - just the crop is different. V1 has sky added to balance the shot, and place the "horizon" on a third, along with the highlight and contrast adjustment; mode 2 is a pano style crop, - would look lovely is a large frame on someones wall.

To add the sky at the top, you can increase the canvas size at the top, and fill it with sky, by either cloning, or copying and pasting. if you have CS4 or 5, you can use the content aware capabilities to do the same.

Not a bad idea to calibrate you monitor either if you see that your original looked dark enough, and my mods look too dark, - your original should appear slightly bright if its set up right.

Good work, hope this is helpful,


mhfore 11 6 176 England
30 Mar 2012 8:34PM
Hi Elaine,

Good shot and as Willie said it would make a good wall canvas with the lead-in lines taking you all the way to the bottom of the image, well done.

Elaine all good advice from above but there is more to be had from a RAW file, I have mentioned this somewhere else tonight but when you use the recovery slider or blacks slider in ACR hold down the "Alt" button at the same time. With recovery your image will turn black but any red or yellow colours left will then be reduced by moving the slider along the scale, of course you will never recover a blown out sun. The black slider works in a similar way, have a play and see. Now I have to admit I'm a RAW fanatic, in the vain of the great Gavin Hoey "Mhfore is RAW" (sorry I digress). Some things can not be achieved in raw and need to be opened in elements where you can use the eye-droppers on certain adjustments like "Exposure" along side a layer mask to erase the effect from certain areas.

I've posted a mod for your perusal.

Take care
30 Mar 2012 8:55PM
Hi Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my shot - it's very encouraging for me when others show their appreciation.


30 Mar 2012 9:31PM
Hi Willie,

Thanks for the mods - I particulary like the pano style crop and the advice re: the large frame.

Thanks for the tip about adding sky, I'm sure this will be helpful to me in the future.

I think my monitor must be ok as my original does look slightly brighter than yours.

Your advice is much appreciated.


30 Mar 2012 9:48PM
Hi Martin,

Thanks for the valuable information re: the "Alt" button in ACR, I'll definitely experiment with this as I shoot all of my images in RAW now.

One of the things I need to get to grips with in Elements is layer masks and varying the exposure on different parts of an image.

Thanks for the mod showing me what can be done

You've been a great help.


mhfore 11 6 176 England
30 Mar 2012 10:06PM

Once you have opened your image into Elements at the bottom of your layers panel there is a half black and half white circle, click on this to reveal your layers adjustments (you will automatically get a mask) then if you want to use exposures when you select it you will get a window which includes eye-droppers down the side. Click the bottom one and in your image click white/off white then with the middle one click on a dark area, don't worry if the image "blows out" reduce the opacity until the section you want to adjust is right then with black selected use the brush to erase the adjustment from the rest of the image.

It's just practice Wink

30 Mar 2012 10:21PM
That's great Martin - can't wait to give it a go.

It's frustrating when I can get one element of an image exposed correctly, then another part is either over or under exposed.

Hopefully if I practice with these masks I'll be able to get better results.

Thanks again.

paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
31 Mar 2012 8:04AM
Both Willie's mods are a notable improvement - but you could crop to just the sand! Not sure why you reduced exposure in RAW, then brightened - contradictory. You needed to expose for the highlights in the first place - even RAW cannot put back what is not there and so many people, in these digital days, seem to think exposure does not matter.

If you get just one thing right when pressing the button, it should be exposure. If in doubt, under expose by half a stop. The result is much easier to deal with later than the opposite.

31 Mar 2012 1:38PM
Thanks for your advice Paul.

I really ike Willie's pano crop as it leaves the mountains in the background, and I think it gives the eye something to rest on when it follows the lines in the sand up to the top of the image.

When I opened the image in RAW there were red patches showing parts of the image that were blown out, mainly in the wave crests so I moved the exposure and other sliders to reduce the red patches as much as I could. When I opened the image in Elements it looked a little bit too dark for me so I played around with the settings there as well.

I'm not confident yet with what I'm doing in the processing stage so I'm doing a lot of experimenting and fiddling until I get the result I want.

Thanks for your helpful advice.



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