The frustration of making it believable

Bruce Little / landscape, photography / / 0 Comments / Like this

Last Saturday I prised myself out of bed at 5:15 and sped off to Teignmouth with a photo in mind. I wanted a shot of the pier from the northern side with the early morning sun bathing it in warm light. In my minds eye there was a fantastic sky to set off the picture perfectly, but it was a clear frosty morning, so the chances of that were minimal, but you never know …

Having turned up in plenty of time before sunrise, the sky was turning red on the horizon through some low haze. No fantastic cloudscape but, hey, you can’t have everything all of the time. Anyway, I was enjoying being up and about with no one else but the elements for company, so I set up my tripod in my preconceived position just north of the pier and got down low to get some interesting foreground in the form of a groyne. I added an ND grad filter and fired off some test shots, and felt good.

As the sunrise approached I was joined, as seems normal these days, by two other photographers. Perhaps I should choose a less well known viewpoint for my next dawn foray. At least we didn’t get in each others way and a series of shots were taken by all as the sun rose. As the light levels increased I added a polariser to give me 3 more stops of exposure time so I could get some milky movement in the waves as they retreated down the beach after breaking. I know this is not to everyone’s taste but I like it.

I really enjoyed myself and got pretty damn wet as well. We all seemed to reach that “photo’d out” stage at the same time, so  packed up our gear, had a bit of a chat, exchanged website details and headed our respective ways home.

A successful morning then. Or was it? Ever since I’ve been sat in front of a computer screen trying to get Lightroom to portray the scene the way I remembered it. I shoot RAW, so an element of post processing is required in order to bring out the colours and tones. Normally I have no problem with this whatsoever, but this time I’m fighting the process.

I want to create a punchy result. Not neccessarily a realistic one, but a believable one which doesn’t look like its been produced by a beginner who’s just found the “levels” command and gone to town. Yet all I’m getting are horrible colour casts and gaudy HDR-ish tones which do nothing for me at all. More importantly, and probably what I’m having the real struggle with, is achieving a level of consistency between individual shots; some having the golden tones I want with a blue sky, and others achieving one but not the other.

As a result, I am becoming more and more frustrated after a morning’s photography which I really enjoyed. Perhaps I need to forget about it for a few days; have a break; and return refreshed.

Watch this space.

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