Bluff Mosaic

ISO-6400 330mm f/29 1/50sec with Canon 5D Mark II on a tripod. Process in Lightroom.

Long focal length early morning overcast light looking for good depth of field and sharpnes. What setting do people suggest? I think the high ISO is interfering with image quality ?

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

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Hi Larry,

I like this image. The composition works for me. I enjoy the textures and subtle subject in the lighter bushes in the center-right.

In terms of composition, I do find my eyes drawn to the lighter trunks and am distracted a bit by them jutting of the edge at the top. You might be able to burn them down a bit to make it less apparent if you’re not able to return to reframe the composition slightly. Granted, others might not find this distracting. My apologies that this didn’t get at your main question, but that’s what popped out first—more than anything stemming from the high ISO.

With regards to ISO, the image has a bit of a soft feel. This is fine for this type of image, IMO. I wonder if that is largely a result of noise reduction in post-processing? Lightroom automatically applies a little noise reduction, but I would anticipate needing to go further at ISO 6400. It seems like most modern camera bodies do pretty well up to ISO 1000 +/- and depending on how much pixel peeping you do. I imagine you would be able to bring the ISO down significantly since you were on a tripod and extend the shutter speed. Three stops slower than 1/50 is, what, 1/6. This would allow you to go three stops lower on ISO to 800. Unless it was super windy, you should be able to make a nice sharp image at 1/6 on a tripod and a remote shutter or 10 second timer at that tele focal length.

Thanks for sharing!

Larry, I really like this intimate study in texture and subtle color. The processing here is pretty well done too IMO. some folks might say this has no strong main subject, but for me the greenish bush above the red patch is enough to hold my attention. I would suggest simplifying the composition a little though, the white trees near the frame edges do pull my eye out of the image somewhat. I might consider using a panoramic crop, mostly from the top, and a little sliver from the bottom, to draw more attention to the center of the image.

Yeah, the image is a bit soft, but that can work for this type of scene/subject, as @Adam_Bolyard pointed out. My question is why did you have to shoot at ISO 6400 from a tripod? Were you shooting in almost total darkness ? If wind was your concern, ISO 800 could probably have done the job with much less noise impact.

I like the image with a few tweaks. It is a little soft which is fine for this type image. I would think that’s more a byproduct of noise reduction than the high iso itself.


I’m really enjoying the subtle variety of colors and textures. Great job isolating this intimate scene with the long focal length.

I like Michael’s edit and crop as i too found the brighter trunks in the UL a little distracting and leading the eye away.

As far as the high iso, it certainly doesn’t help with image quality. 1/50th of a sec on a tripod should be suffficient, but still at that focal length, something even faster would help - but then you can’t go higher in iso, so what’s left? IMHO, f/29 is probably contributing most to the image softness. You don’t mention which lens, but I’m guessing a zoom and I’m also going to guess that you’re thinking, the smaller the aperture, the more depth of field. While that’s true, there are other important factors. The first being, at the camera to subject distance, I would venture to guess that your depth of field is probably more than sufficient at f/8. You don’t have something close at say 15ft, and then trying to get a mountain range sharp that’s 5 miles away… most everything in this scene maybe has a depth of 20ft?? And so again, shooting from a hundred feet or more away - probably further given 330mm… the depth of field of acceptable sharpness doesn’t really warrant f/29. The lens sharpness and quality if considerably better at the middle apertures (BTW, I highly recommend running a bunch of test images and plot out the image quality at various focal lengths and apertures.)

Given this scene, unless it’s dark and a howling wind, I don’t see using such a high iso and such a small aperture. Iso between 100- max 800 and a middle aperture f/8 - f/16 let the shutter speed fall where it may, on a tripod, with no wind…

Anyway, a wonderful scene and most definitely worth returning if you have the opportunity.