Bright Light But Little Warmth

Embracing my inner Minnesotan once more, we made another trek north to that most superior of lakes, Gitchi Gami on another -10F morning. The big lake still isn’t freezing over; probably too windy, because it certainly is cold!

Specific Feedback Requested

Are the colors too intense?

The sun is blown out of course, especially as the light is lightly diffused through the rising sea smoke. I’ve done a little burning in that area to bring it down somewhat, but kind of hard to avoid when shooting right into it. Is it too problematic? Any suggestions for how to capture the delicate light on all the other objects without letting the sun get so blown out? I think an exposure stack would look too artificial.

I do wish I had created a long exposure of the moving water and blended that with the sunrise and sky.

Thank you.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Sony A7RIII with Tamron 17-28 mm f/2.8 at 17 mm. F/22, 1/25 sec at ISO 64. Processed with TK8 tools in Photoshop. Use free transform warp to straighten the trees on the left side and content-aware fill to replace the blue sky on the upper left edge of the frame. Emphasized blue colors in ice and sky and added a “soft pop” at 50% opacity just to tinker a bit more.

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Hey Jeff, yes a blown out sun is invariably what you get when shooting into it. :slight_smile: It doesn’t really bother me I this image. I think you toned it down just fine.

I personally don’t think the colors are too much (but then I do have some color blindness…). It really does feel cold. I think a long exposure for the water would be an interesting take on this too. Nicely done.

Great job Jeff in challenging conditions capturing this scene. Not sure you could do much more with the sun and as was said, the sun is the sun when it comes to highlights. Not sure why when your a f/22 but the foreground ice mounds in the lower right of the image seem a bit soft, I might try some targeted sharpening there but other than that what a great scene!

Really nice work on this image Jeff, it’s very dramatic, and I love the look of the light on the icy rocks. And you have some nice breathing room at the top of the image, I think you got just the right amount of blue sky above the trees and the sun. Overall I do not think the colors are too intense, the yellows look great, and sky looks realistic. The only blues here that are maybe a slight bit too intense are the shadows on the tree island, maybe back off that a bit. I actually like the water with some texture it, rather than having it smooth. The dramatic light and extreme weather conditions give this image a lot of dynamic energy. I think smooth water would give a calmer look, and I prefer the water with more wave texture and ripples because I think it fits better with the energy level in the rest of the image.

The blown sun is essentially unavoidable, and I think you have handled the adjacent yellow fog very well considering you are shooting straight into the sun. In terms of dynamic range, your processing here is about as good as it gets for a single exposure, and I think what you have works well. When I shoot straight into the sun like this I bracket exposures, and blend them manually using TK Luminosity Masks. If done well, this can give you more latitude, and the results do not look artificial. with a -2 or -3 bracket you could pick up slightly more detail in the sun area (and in the sun ray in the water). The sun area would look slightly better than this, but not dramatically different, you actually did very well processing this single exposure. The other advantage is that you would have a foreground bracket which was lighter to start with, and you wouldn’t have to lift shadows as much. This can be done with a natural look but it takes time, effort and practice. It depends how much effort one wants to put into it, with blending you spend something like 90% more time to get the image 10% better. Depends how fussy you are, if it’s worth it to you.

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