Back Modifications (5)
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By yorki50
This my first attempt at taking a photograph of a waterfall . I was trying to make the water look milky by using a slow shutter speed. Do you think the picture would look better in black and white

Tags: Landscape and travel

GB Sports Photographer & The Panasonic LUMIX S1


Briwooly 13 452 5 England
20 Feb 2015 5:11PM
The exposure on the water looks great but the image requires a twist to the right to get the horizontals right


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yorki50 4 5 Eritrea
20 Feb 2015 5:46PM
thanks for your comment Brian .I can see what you mean, everything slopes to the left. I will correct that, thanks again
regards Garrie
banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4036 Canada
20 Feb 2015 6:01PM
Welcome to EPZ Garrie, and to the critique gallery.

This is not a bad effort for a first attempt at waterfalls, and at blurred water.

The first thing thats strikes me, as mention by Brian above, is that the image needs to be rotated clock-wise to level the water. Its easy to do in any editing program.

I wonder if you used a tripod, or how you supported the camera for a slow shutter like this? You need to use a tripod, or have the camera placed on a solid surface, and use the self timer to fire the shutter.

The bright areas of the water are burned, meaning theres no data present, and this is due to overexposure; looking at the settings, if the camera had selected a smaller aperture, which you could make it do by applying a negative exposure compensation.

Sharpen the image before you upload the version for the site, as its a little soft; I think its just sharpening, and not movement blur. Make a habit of looking at you image on the LCD, with the histogram displayed, and you can decide quite readily if you need to shoot again and adjust exposure either way.

Finally, the water appears a little blue, which is often what Auto White Balance will do with a warm toned image. Best to shoot in RAW, and then adjust white balance in post processing as needed.

The mod Ive uploaded is rotated, sharpened, and has a warmer white balance to counter the blue water. Im not sure a mono would suit, but I will also upload a mono anyway so you can see.

Good effort, - practice is the way forward.


yorki50 4 5 Eritrea
20 Feb 2015 7:20PM
Thanks Willie for the critique it is very helpful. I did use a tripod but I have bought a camera mounted spirit level since so no more sloping horizontals I hope
regards Garrie
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
20 Feb 2015 7:47PM
Yes, correct the tilt. You are a touch over exposed. Darken the whole image a little and the top part even more with thedidge tool. Mixed lighting, shade foreground and sun at back means mixed colour temperature. Difficult to deal with.

yorki50 4 5 Eritrea
20 Feb 2015 7:51PM
thanks Paul
dudler Plus
16 945 1520 England
21 Feb 2015 1:35PM
Welcome from me, too, Brian. I hope you'll enjoy looking at pictures, and get what you need from the Critique Gallery - both new options and solutions to specific problems.

As others have said, it needs straightening. Don't worry - but it's worthwhile allowing a little space to correct a tilt, even if you're using a spirit level. Sometimes, dead right doesn't look it!

It is rather bright, and my mod used Levels to darken midtones with the input sliders, and take the edge off the highlights with the output highlights slider.

I then burned in shadows at the top (the Dodge tool would lighten things), and at each corner. The Dodge/Burn tools are linked in elements and Photoshop, but you need to take care which you select, the opacity (I start with 9% for both, and go over things several times if necessary), and what it will apply to (higlights/modtones/shadows). Play with the options, and you'll soon find out what works in which situation!)

And, as Willie suggests, keep on shooting!
yorki50 4 5 Eritrea
21 Feb 2015 4:58PM
thank you Brian for your critique it was most helpful
dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 591 England
21 Feb 2015 7:17PM
Welcome from me too.

This is an attractive scene, and there's just the right amount of water there. too little and the falls are feeble, too much water and there'd be qa torrent with little delicay.

You've shot on an overcast day, which is always best as it's very helpful in avoiding extreme contrast, and allows more choice of slower shutter speeds to blur the water. Try various shutter speeds as the flow of water varies and by using different speeds you can get the result you like.

However, this is overxposed as there are areas of burnt out detail in the highlights. While the exposure has given ood shadow detail, less detail in the darker areas to allow better detail in the highlights is often the preferred way.
Shooting RAW rather than jpg would allow you to recover some detail in both. RAW often means a little more work, but the end result is worth it. Even if you only shoot RAW for tricky subjects like this.
Dudler has given some good advice regarding processing this image to deal with the contrast range.

All I've done in my mod is to address the tilt and the colour balance.
Rotating the image necessitated a crop, but fortunately the original had a decent angle of view so there's nothing essential that has been lost.

I then warmed up the image using Colour Balance to add red and yellow, then I increased Vibrance which is more subtle than Saturation.

I made a feathered selection of the water as it had a strong blue and cyan cast (not helped by the overexposure and jpg processing). i then reduced the saturation of the blue and cyan using the Hue/Saturation dialog. I pretty much removed all the coldness of the water this way. Sometimes a bit of coolness looks good so it's up to you how much you remove.

I finally tried a mono conversion, where I went for quite a contrasty result to focus attention on the water.

yorki50 4 5 Eritrea
21 Feb 2015 9:38PM
Thank you Keith your input is most welcome
TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2015 5:20PM
And a very belated welcome from me too, Garrie Smile

There's not a lot else I can add to the excellent advice above from the others, but what I will say is that I think the image does suit the mono treatment. Very much so, in fact ... it takes your lovely woodland waterfall scene and makes it moody and dramatic instead. Especially processed quite strongly, as Keith has done in his mod. Willie's mono mod is gentler on the eye and retains more detail in the shadow areas, but I have to admit I'm partial to a good strong, contrasty black and white image Grin


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