Smokey sunset

A Smokey afternoon on the Nsw south coast. This is not clouds in the background but smoke from near by bush fires.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

I’m pretty happy with the composition but am open to other points of view.

I’m currently thinking that I could lower the tonal values in the mid tones and add some mid-tone contrast. I’m interested to hear others opinions on the tonal balance

Any pertinent technical details:

0.3s f9 100iso. Nd filter and polarising filter were used

Allow other members to download your photo to demonstrate processing examples only? Yes


Well, I’m probably not the best judge of tonal contrast, but this image looks great to me. I love the comp big time and feel like it conveys a nice mood. It really pulls me in, in fact, I feel like the waves are about to smash into me, which is kind of a cool feeling for a photo to convey.

Thanks Matt

@Nathan_Klein Really great comp from a great location mate - I’m trying to place in my mind where you’ve shot this from. it looks like quite a high tide!

I’d like to see a little more detail in that foreground water. I can see that the details are there waiting to be uncovered by a little more post-processing, I think, and they would help create yet another great leading line into the scene.

Otherwise the image is really great. i think there’s slightly too much contrast in your deep shadows in the rocks which put them just on the crunchy side but it’s not overdone by any stretch. You could have a play around by adding a darks 2 or 3 luminosity mask to a levels adjustment layer and using a combination of the output slider to open up the shadows and the middle slider to darken them down again, reducing contrast and evening out the luminosity. That said, I know how hard these sorts of rocks are to edit and you’ve already done a far better job than most who shoot here!

Hi Sam,

Thanks for taking the time to write. I knew something was not quite there in the lower mids and you e given me something to think about.

Regarding the water. I agree. If I had my time again I’d go for a fifth of a second as opposed to a third of a second to get more textures. This frame was shot at mid tide on a small swell allowing me to get close to the foreground rocks. I think I benefited from Angling the camera down which gave more foreground weight to the frame

@Nathan_Klein Firstly I really like the composition and ss timing. It’s a cracking shot! You’ve got some great drama in the water, especially with the waves breaking against the stacks towards the background. I’m also going to agree with both @Matt_Payne and @Sam_Ison on what they have said. To add to their comments I would like to see a little more contrast between the light on the background stacks and the sky. Maybe darken the sky down a bit. I think this will add to the impact of the image and really enhance drama in the foreground.

1 Like

Thanks Eugene,

I’ll give the sky adjustment a try

1 Like

I looked at this large, and I really like the detail in the big rocky mounts in the distance. Wow. I think there’s more ways you could crop this to emphasize all the rocks and action back there. It’s impressive.
Regarding the FG, I can understand thinking there’s not enough detail there, but I do like the misty appearance over the edges of the rock that you got with this exposure.
Something else you may completely disagree with me on, since you know that is smoke in the distance. To me, that slight pinkish/brown of that smoke layer distracts from the rocks and water. The color is so different, to me it really shows up, and it’s a very horizontal layer in a scene where everything else is all angles and flowing water, so it really shows up. Just my view. My favorite part of this is that big wave crashing in the distance. Very cool. Nicely done!

1 Like

The distant water rocks, sea, and sky look great. The fg is too ‘foggy’ for my taste. That’s because water in the distance moves slower within the frame than the closer water. The SS was too slow for the fg water but just right for the distant water. A composite may have worked. This is all personal taste. Many like this water effect.

1 Like

I agree Igor. A blend of two shutter lengths would be ideal

Hi Genny,

I’ll try to desaturate the smoke. I agree it doesn’t entirely fit. Perhaps it’s because we’re so used seeing clouds as a neutral colour