Siuslaw Dunes

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Always interested in any thoughts regarding B&W processing.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

What does the image make you feel? Note a hint of trees in distant back ground to provide scale. Did some brackets w/o trees as well. Which would you do, w/ or w/o trees?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)
Nikon 810 w f/4 70-200 (+1.4 teleconverter) @ 116mm, f/14, 1/250 sec, iso 40. Subject is deliberately underexposed by at least one stop to hold highlights.

Hi Mark,

To answer the questions you posed. Here goes:

I’m not an expert on B&W by any stretch of the imagination but I would say in general this has been pretty well handled. I think the highlights on the left could be brought back a bit to reveal a bit more detail. Especially in the features on that dune.

Without trying to sound too blunt, the image makes me feel a bit unbalanced. A lot of the emphasis of the shot in on the left, which is quite beuatiful. The leading line then takes you off to the right, where the distant dune is. The combination of the above makes me feel a bit like I dont know where I should look. I think the concept is great, but I would have had the leading line taking you to a dune just off center. This would have helped you achieve a better balance and made folk feel like they were more immersed in the scene.

100% no trees. At the distance they are from the lens it’s hard to tell how tall they are/what they are and don’t really give an idea of scale. They are also quite dark so drag the eye to them and away from the dunes. I think you should keep the dunes as the focus of the image as they are certainly striking!!

Hope that helps and shoot me any questions if you have


So many good things to say about this image. Going black and white is dead on as it accentuates the line, tone and texture, which is what this image is all about. This looks like an amazing location and you have composed the image with a wonderful sense of depth. I agree with most everything Eugene has said. You have a very nice leading line moving from the centre diagonally to the upper right of the frame but it is in direct competition with the visual mass of the dunes on the left. I would try bringing down the brightness on the left/upper left and concentrate on that leading line. Brightness, contrast and clarity are three ways to draw the eye. So, any way you can think to bring those to bear on the leading line either by addition in one area or subtraction in another, will strengthen this image. As to the trees, that was my first nit. If you have a frame without them, I’d either use it or, if you have a mind, clone them out of this one. In my opinion, they add little to this image and, I believe, serve as a distraction.

I agree with all the comments from @Eugene_Theron and @Kerry_Gordon. While i feel the image communicates a sense of vastness and scale, I think it’s the receding dunes that really create that feeling. The trees are so small, for me they do not add to the story of vastness, they only distract. I especially think the highlights in the left half of theimage are too hot, and it looks like they could easily be pulled down. From a processing perspective, I do like the tonalities in the dunes, other than the previously mentioned highlights. But I feel like the vignette at the top edge has too harsh a gradient for my taste, and i would prefer to see a more subtle transition on the vignette. I also think adding some vignette to the bottom edge would help focus attention on the center as well.

Thanks Eugene, As is evident in yours and the additional posts, the lighter tones and visual wieght of the closest dune at the left of the frame is too much. I can, and will, correct that with a bit of a crop and knocking down the value. The center of the frame should pull the eye into the image and the highlights there should not be competeing with the left of the frame. Also, the consensus is that the trees really serve no purpose. At this point I think it would be easiest just to clone them out. I appreciat the input. Thanks!

How zit, Kerry!? Your comments are both valid and appropriate. As you can see in my reply to Eugene, I expect to further refine this image exactly along the lines you have suggested. I appreciate the time and effort you took to reply.

Thanks Ed. (Oh, I now see a prompt indicating it would be better to make one reply only and refer by quote to the comments of the posters. I will know better next time.) The trees will soon be a memory. The left highlights will be subdued. I will see what I might do with a vinette at the bottom of the frame. As I recall, the top of the frame didn’t have much of a vignette. The atmospheric haze above the river beyond the dunes largely accounts for the gradation of tone. I will see what I can do to soften the transition. I thank you, sincerely.

I looked at this yesterday and the feeling I got was shining metal. The dunes in this image have the luster of metal, not sand. And, frankly, I think it’s good that you have presented them in a way that evokes ideas other than dunes. If you dropped the highlights as suggested that sense would diminish. So, I think you should process this in the manner that you want the viewer to feel.

Mark: Judging from your title I’m suspecting this is on the Oregon coast near Florence and I think I know the area. I’m not as critical of the trees because I do know this area and as a depiction of it this works well. As a graphic image I agree with making the trees disappear. I like your processing and comp and the final result. Nicely done. >=))>

Hi @Mark_Anderson, really nice shot. I like the monochromatic post processing. I think the central zone is too bright, but it’s also my opinion. Thanks for sharing.