Friday, April 24, 2020

Hindsight dive?

Do you ever second guess yourself? Do something one way, or answer a test question you aren't sure about, then dither about changing?

It sometimes happens to me in photo editing. With Lightroom it's possible to make as many copies of a photo as you like, and export different versions. The original is still there, and you can start over again if necessary. I have done that any number of times.

Or, like saving a game before you get into a tricky bit, you can edit part way and then branch it to try something different. So this is Wharariki beach, in an ordinary beach photo. I don't know who those people are. Even with a longish drive and 1K walk to get to the beach, there was lots of people on it. Then again, it's a lovely beach, and it was a beautiful day. Not a crowd, but lots by the standards we had come to get used to.

This is mostly the original photo. I've cropped in a bit on each side but it's still the original aspect ratio, and did my normal edits. However, the more I looked at it, the more I twitched about all that blue sky that doesn't seem to add anything to the photo. The one bit of cloud in the top right keeps distracting me. All the blue seems to make the line of clouds seem small when in real life they were quite dramatic.

This morning I went back in and re-cropped it to get the one below. I tweaked the whites and blacks slightly but otherwise left the rest of the settings the same. I liked the different colours in the water and sand and left that in. I experimented with cropping off much of the bottom but didn't like the result so much.  It then seemed to be too wide and restricted from side to side, so I wanted a bit more depth up and down. Of course, I could branch it again, and play with the settings even more, to make the clouds whiter on top and darker on the bottom, and make the sky bluer. It's easy to get carried away to the Mordor of photo editing, but I think I'm happy with this.

Now you can weigh in. Which version do you like? What edits would you have done? Just for fun, here's the original straight out of the camera.

Curtis of the day.
Having a snooze, being his normal photogenic self.

Driftwood of the Day

If that first one looks familiar, you might be remembering this one. It was posted along the way, but they're all the same log.


  1. The bones of the image are good, and I like Heather's 16 x 9 format comment. The edits I would consider are all about drawing the eye to the gap and the central clouds, as that to my mind is the subject. Also I would want to minimize the diagonal at the bottom of the screen which is trying to take the eye out of the image. a) to get the 16 x 9 only crop from the top, b) darken left and right sand - reduce exposure using adjustment brush c) brighten (increase white, dehaxe, contrast on central clouds - gradient with masking on the side d) emphasize leading lines in the water at the bottom - increase texture / clarity using adjustment brush e) finish with subtle vignetting to centre the eye. Hey, you asked :) Cheers, Sean PS It is a good image that could be made even better.

  2. My buddy Heather Mansfield says, "Visually, I prefer the second one. I feel like the shot definitely lends itself to a 16x9 style crop. You could even play with cropping closer to the top of the rock on the right, but then you would likely lose the nice composition of the foreground. What about cropping the foreground a tiny bit to lose the bit of sand right in front of the water? I like to play around with cropping my shots. Sometimes I get a better composition than I originally chose. With bird photography you sometimes just have to get the shot and compose later. ;)"


Looking forward to reading your comment!