20 votes

Fooling around on the winter beach - photography

I make no promises for quality, I'm really just pushing what can be done with a Pixel 3XL cell phone camera, access to Adobe Lightroom, and a surprisingly gorgeous foggy day. This ties into the "No-Money Fun Ideas" thread.

These images have been lightly edited towards what my eyes saw - most camera sensors would have trouble with color accuracy under the conditions these shots were taken.

Winter 2020

Please feel free to criticize and inform me on what I could do better.

These photographs are published for your enjoyment under the Creative Commons Share-Alike license.

7 comments

  1. [2]
    envy
    Link
    Hi, I really like what you have done with limited equipment and limited budget. These are some really nice shots, but I am going to focus on what you could have done better. One amateur to...

    Hi, I really like what you have done with limited equipment and limited budget. These are some really nice shots, but I am going to focus on what you could have done better. One amateur to another. Blind leading the blind.

    1. Rent a row boat, or use a quad copter. This lets you shoot from the ocean. That way the lighthouse is more visible and the jetty is more obscured by fog.
    2. Wait for night. Assuming the lighthouse actually lights up. There is nothing more epic than lighthouse light in the fog at night.
    3. Get down. As low as the camera will go. Flip the phone upside down to get the camera right up against the ground. Then retake the photo of the Mooring Study & Isolated Perspective. You will get some really beautiful reflections off the wet concrete.
    4. Focus the viewer on what is interesting. The Breakwater is really interesting, but it might have been more interesting if you had moved slightly to your left, so the rocks were more of the focus, and the Jetty was more a compressed, with a more angular line, taking the viewers gaze to the obscured lighthouse.
    5. Hire Robert Pattinson & Willem Dafoe in full wickie attire. Just kidding. I love the use of a person in Isolated Perspective. Did you get a shot of the person walking towards the lighthouse? Great job on getting out there and putting yourself out there.
    7 votes
    1. patience_limited
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I'm grateful you took the time to give advice; from what little I know, it seems quite sensible. I'll mention the constraints I was working with, though, and why some of the decisions were made....

      I'm grateful you took the time to give advice; from what little I know, it seems quite sensible. I'll mention the constraints I was working with, though, and why some of the decisions were made.

      1. We were taking advantage of the fact that it's not tourist season, otherwise there would have been too many people to allow some of these shots. Unfortunately, that means boat rentals are closed.

      I've investigated quad copter rental to survey our patch of land for gardening, landscaping, and a little reforesting project. [We've discovered we've got 30+ dying/dead ash trees to remove, unexpected renovation expense #12.] I'd like to play with it over land before I risk dunking a $2,000 drone.

      1. I'll be on the lookout (see what I did there) for opportunities. These were genuinely weird weather conditions for inland lakes in the Midwest in January, and it's unknown when the chance to take some of these shots will arise again.

      2. Great advice, but for a major issue I've found with Google's AI on the Pixel 3. Aside from an odd yellow bias in haze (you'll see a little pink-violet tint on clouds in some shots where I overcompensated to get proper ultramarine color back on the water), it really gets confused about how to expose with multiple areas of bright reflection in medium-low light. I actually rather liked the flattened concrete tones, because those long perspective shots on wooden piers have become photographic clich├ęs.

      3. I'd love to have gotten the shot you're describing, but wasn't prepared for a dunk in icewater. We took some risks to get out on the jetty in the first place. Spouse nearly snapped a tibia in one of many crust-covered sinkholes on the beach, and much of the jetty was covered in slick algal slime. We couldn't get all the way out to the lighthouse because it was too dangerous. I don't think we'd have made it as far as we did if the lake hadn't been almost dead calm.

      4. The shot in Isolated Perspective is the typical picture of my spouse, where I've fallen behind to get a macro and he's forged onward, or vice versa. We both turned back before getting to the lighthouse - between the algal layer and the fog starting to freeze, there's no way we could have gotten out there safely. But winding up like Willem Dafoe and Richard Pattinson is certainly within our range these days.

      I'll definitely be back there for more.

      2 votes
  2. [4]
    blitz
    (edited )
    Link
    A useful question for me when judging a photo is "does it have a clearly definable subject and background?". A few of these do, but not all of them. The colors are certainly gorgeous in the ones...

    A useful question for me when judging a photo is "does it have a clearly definable subject and background?". A few of these do, but not all of them. The colors are certainly gorgeous in the ones that don't, but compositionally they don't really say anything.

    I think "The Breakwater" and "Intimations of Light" pass this test the best, I think they're beautiful.

    The other thing I would suggest is trying to convert some of these to black and white. When color is removed shape becomes much more important, and it's fun to see how very different a picture can seem when edited to black and white properly.

    Here is my Flickr page, if you're interested. :)

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      patience_limited
      Link Parent
      Thank you for sharing your work - you're a much more adept portraitist than I'd ever seek to be. I've always been uncomfortable with the direct gaze, and placing a camera lens between myself and...

      Thank you for sharing your work - you're a much more adept portraitist than I'd ever seek to be. I've always been uncomfortable with the direct gaze, and placing a camera lens between myself and other people increases the challenge. There are a number of landscapes and scenes that I adore as well.

      With modern face recognition privacy issues, I'm even more hesitant to feature people, with or without their permission. That's why you'll see human "subjects" in some of the images who are definable, but at the greatest possible remove. They're also intentionally placed for scale in larger landscapes, or to hint at the visual triangle in composition.

      I go back and forth on the "clear subject and background" judgment. After years of looking at artistic photographs, I'm personally fond of abstracts and patterns as photographic subjects, if they're done with a well-calculated attention to saying something about the relationships of the structures, colors, or textures.

      It's rare that I think black-and-white makes a better composition when there's little contrast and/or some color is available. On the fog-bound images, there's just not enough contrast to make it work well.

      This is an example of something I've done that could have been rendered in BW, but the hints of organic color are a better fit for what I'm trying to say with the image.

      For instance, I like this black-and-white render.

      In this series, of the original, black-and-white, and color-corrected images, I think the color-corrected version gives the best definition to the subject.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        blitz
        Link Parent
        Wow! Tahoe Sunset is definitely reminiscent of certain parts of Ansel Adams' work. Great job! The reflected light off the lake is particularly beautiful. I understand what you're saying about...

        Wow! Tahoe Sunset is definitely reminiscent of certain parts of Ansel Adams' work. Great job! The reflected light off the lake is particularly beautiful.

        I understand what you're saying about black and white. I think for me, the removal of color allows me to focus much more on shape and contrast and brightness and allows me to make more focused decisions. I have a lot of trouble editing color photos because there's too much I could do. Especially with complex lighting situations, there's too much choice because recreating the "reality" is pretty much impossible.

        This is one of my photos that I think was drastically improved by the choice to render it in black and white. Here is the original.

        3 votes
        1. patience_limited
          Link Parent
          For sure, current photo-editing tools make it so easy to get to decision fatigue. I must have spent a couple of hours tweaking each and every slider on some of those images to get towards...

          For sure, current photo-editing tools make it so easy to get to decision fatigue. I must have spent a couple of hours tweaking each and every slider on some of those images to get towards something like what I wanted, and still wasn't satisfied. If a quick toggling to black-and-white makes a superior image, I can see stopping there, or playing with only five sliders instead of twenty.

          I completely agree about the choice of black and white on that image - it's stunning, and gives the massif far more heft and vividness than the original.

          1 vote
  3. gergir
    Link
    I like those photos. Looks pretty.

    I like those photos. Looks pretty.

    1 vote