Trying to figure composition - beach shore/sunset


Been spending a lot of time on here!
May 9, 2012
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Anywhere we want! Just us And the RV
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
In general, any c/c is appreciated. As far as composition, is there too much going on? Too many leading lines, horrible pp or what? (it was a great sunset)
Plymouth beach sunset_edited-1 (1280x865).jpg
Plymouth beach sunset 2_edited-1 (1280x849).jpg
Horizon is hard as the land is a gradual down hill.
Any insight is great,
Thanks all,
I should have reversed order I uploaded :{
Both would greatly benefit from a lower viewpoint. Much lower.
On my phone right now... First one has too many sensor dust spots in upper left, but seems okay in other respects. I don't think either is too busy. Again, on the phone these look okay.
The shadow areas are too bright and don't look natural on both shots. Also, on #1 try a vertical crop deleting most of the blank area on the right. On #2 crop out most of the sand at the bottom beneath the rock on the right. Nice shots.
Thank you guys. All great points.
I had the first section of tripod legs open on 1 of these. It was sucking my feet in to the sand but I should have just gotten down more.
Will look at cropping and adjusting color, thanks, right after I get those dust spots :)
I am at the iMac now....a loooot larger screen! First shot looks a bit too tone0mapped, for lack of a better word, second one too...I prefer a bit darker shadow point, more D-Max to the blacks if you will...

On another topic, I know exactly what you mean by the horizon line being a bit wonky, yet true-to-life...I struggle with that at a place I shoot along the Columbia River, where a long wing dam of old pilings stretches out into the river, and makes many of the shots made there look badly tilted...and's just an optical effect based on the distance to the pilings increasing due to the shore angle as the piling get farther offshore,and "shorter". In the second shot, I looked to the left, and saw LEVEL ground and more or less straight up and down posts driven into the sand, so I KNEW the background was actually the way the land lays in relation to the camera position. I'm not sure what the right answer is in this kind of scenario...un-level or falsely-unlevel looking horizons don't bug "me" all that much, but I know some people stress over them big-time.
I think these are difficult shots to pull, not because there is too much going on, but because there is too much of the same thing going on. I am not a landscape photographer, and my views are rather simple, but some contrast to me is essential for a great landscape shot. It may be a contrast between the sky and the ground, different sizes, colours etc. Here we have a non-contrasting colour scheme with repetitive similar size patterns that do not add to the overall impact, but make it overloaded with details.
I would not really care if there is a gradual down hill or not, I would have straightened the horizon line anyway and put it at 1/3, concentrating on the sky in the first image and leaving more space for the sand in the second one.
In the first one I would have ignored the three stones that are close to you and try to find one that could be the main foreground point, but it must be really close. With the second shot I would try to close the aperture as much as possible, get down and try to use the sand lines to exaggerate the perspective. Also the left side - I would either give more space to it or cut it off completely. Probably the second option.
The colour scheme here is very difficult for a good shot in my view, I doubt I could pull a good shot here. One has to be a master of nuances to be able to do it.
^^ I think this guy really knows how to shoot.
Just my take and maybe of some help...
You were drawn to a beautiful sunset that's really about the colour not the graphic elements of the images.
Getting the most out of the subtleties of colour and the impression of light at sunset requires, as said further above, quite a subtle touch and usually quite unique lighting (it can be a tough subject).
Also think about the tools you are using and their combined effect. I see a fair amount of clarity, contrast and saturation. All work in much the same way. Contrast works by increasing the difference in light/dark (luminosity) and the contrast in colour (saturation). Clarity is just a sharpening tool that's biased towards mid-tones, it increases the contrast at the boundary edges between two tones (acutance).
The combined effects of increasing luminosity effects colours by adding more black to some, and white to others, over-darkens some and washes out others, they begin to loose their dominant hue (you get the same effect if you over-do the tone-mapping and up the contrast - a lot of tertiary colours reminiscent of a dull day). Saturation increases colour contrast by tending the colours towards pure hues (colours of a single wavelength), it steadily removes shades, tints and pastels.

If you remove some of the red in the first image you can begin to see the combined effect on colour by adding black, white and reducing pastel tones:

The deft hand comes with being able to separate the amount of colour contrast (saturation) you add from the amount of black and white (luminosity), and also by controlling the amount of white (brightness) from the amount of black (clarity). And by not introducing too much micro-contrast.
N.B. Clarity and sharpening have the effect of giving the clouds a sooty and fibrous texture, clouds are naturally soft. The still water in the sand ripples is a naturally high acutance subject that doesn't generally benefit from any further clarity/sharpening when viewed on screen.

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