Long Exposure Just After Sunrise

Found a nice little trail with access to a river bed near where I live. Have been coming here for the last few weekends for sunrise, unfortunately the weather has not been cooperating for the shot I have in mind. I have been having fun exploring the area nonetheless and pulling what I can from it. I know that the image would be stronger if there were more interest in the sky. Please let me know what you think and where I can improve. Much appreciated!

What technical feedback would you like if any?


What artistic feedback would you like if any?


Any pertinent technical details:

Shot with the Fuji X-T3 with the 16-55 mm F2 lens at 16 mm. ISO 160. 1 min 20 s exposure. f/16.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Mike, I really like composition here the arrangement of the log, the rocks in the water, and the diagonal of the mountain all pull your eye to the center of the scene. Normally I don’t like a dead center horizon, but in this case I think it can work pretty well. But as you have already noted, this composition pulls your eye to a bald, blank sky which doen’t really create any impact. But the beauty of B&W is that you can alter tonality/reality to create more impact than you would be able to in color.

I re-worked your image, and there is a lot more detail in your sky than one might think. This was a really crude selection of the sky with the lasso in photoshop, but you get the idea. Darkening the sky here helps a lot. I slightly darkened the water near the shoreline, but left the luminosity of the water near the rocks unaffected to retain detail. This one is worth playing around with to extract more detail in the clouds and sky.

Your composition looks good, Mike. The rocks and log make a fine foreground. Processing for extra detail in the sky is a nice bonus. I’d suggest similar processing to bring out the underwater rocks in the lower left as a way to increase the interest there.

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I really like what Ed did with the sky. That really helps by bringing some texture, a bit of drama and certainly interest in the sky.

I also really like the treatment of the water, especially as it flows over the rocks in the LR, lower right(above the bottom rocks) In fact I wish there were more rocks included. I’m a little undecided about the log at the bottom. There’s certainly enough to tell the viewer you intended to include it, but I’m wishing for either more, or maybe even at an angle or something. Minor distraction for me. And to that end, I think there’s still enough interest in the water even if you cropped out the log. I tried and cropped out some off the bottom about 3/4 the way up the log and then cloned the rest. But that log may be of special interest so I didn’t save it.

Sounds like this is local to you and I would certainly continue returning here and working this area.


Hey Ed, thank you so much for the kind words and taking the time to mess around with my image! Bringing out the potential in this image and pointing me in the right direction means a lot. I admit that I need to spend a bit more time with Lightroom, I am beginning to realize that it is just as important a process as processing film was back in the day. I will post the re-worked image in the gallery section. Thanks again for the inspiration and your time.

Thank you Mark, I will keep your and Ed’s suggestions in mind when reworking the image. Are you thinking that bringing out the rocks in the lower left would bring more balance to the image?

Hello again Lon and thank you for your time and suggestions, it is appreciated. I would be interested to see your take on the image. I like seeing different points of view (one of the reasons why I love this art) so feel free to share in the future.

I will say that the log was a big part of the composition, I liked how the light from the sun leads up to (or away from) the point of the log. Almost like the log is shooting out a beam of light haha. It caught my eye after the first few shots of the scene.

I will be returning here often. I’m interested to see how it looks during the winter which is right around the corner here in Alaska! Thanks again for the insights, keep them coming.


After I read your response I figure my first suggestion probably won’t suit you. It’s pretty crude too with the cloning. But I think the scene itself has merit for a panoramic on some future visit. Increased contrast a bit as well.

Honestly when I first viewed this I didn’t connect the log with the beam of the sun’s reflection. Clearly you lined things up precisely because of this and so now it makes sense. I think the log either needed to be a little bigger, or more if it included in the frame. With that, I thought a square crop would help emphasize the log’s presence. Just a couple ideas. Thanks for letting me try.