<<< o >>>a rock and a hard place 38 comments + add yours

I went up to Fleetwood today – to blow away the cobwebs – and came back with this. Unusually, I used fill-flash on this shot as it didn't seem likely I'd be able to rescue sufficient detail in the posts by any other means. Had it not been quite so windy I might have tried a multiple exposure HDR, but there was a very strong on-shore wind so that wasn't really an option.

Update: following a couple of the initial comments I decided to rework this one a little – the sky is now a little more dramatic and the foreground is marginally lighter. The original version, should you be interested, is here:


focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
2.34pm on 9/8/06
Canon 20D
EF 17-40 f/4L USM
17mm (27mm equiv.)
C1 Pro
16x9 + fylde coast [scenic] + reflections [water]
comment by Mark at 09:53 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

It's nice...but it's lacking something, although I can't quite put my finger on what that something might be....I'll have to think about it Dave..

comment by tibs at 10:01 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

i like it

comment by Eric at 10:06 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

I think what Mark thinks it might be lacking is some pop in the clouds, although I think it is more successful without the poppiness in the sky. It is a nice contrast between the rocks and great detail and the clouds and the subtle colours and tones.

Good work Dave!

comment by m at 10:14 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

You've hit a rich vein of form

comment by Scott at 10:26 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

When I initially saw the image, I thought it to be HDR - it definitely has that slightly surreal look to it. All in all, I'd say that you pulled this one off very, very well.

comment by Jeppe at 10:35 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

Nice. But kinda flat somehow, which is very unusual by Chromasia standards.. Maybe you could've splashed down the .. (whatever you call them), and used a polarizing filter? Or maybe there's just a little too much flash.

comment by Mark at 10:40 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

Eric - interesting comment. Am I right in thinking that you're basically saying I'm wrong in my (non) assessment by thinking you know what I'm thinking? Maybe not, maybe so.. ;-)

'Poppiness of sky'? No...that's not quite it, although you're on the right lines I think. The balance between sky and ground seems off to me. Is that poppiness? I don't think so.

It's quite simply that when I look at the image as a whole my immediate reaction is that something's off. Perhaps if the clouds were more scattered and less overcast it would balance better - once again I stress..'for me'.

Of course Dave can't control the sky...well...at least I don't think he can. :-)

comment by mikelangelo at 10:41 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

I like this one. I really like the textures and the interest in the posts. I like the soft background as well...just makes the posts really stand out. nice shot.

comment by Ben at 11:17 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

Great work! Very strong composition.

comment by sach1tb at 11:43 PM (GMT) on 9 August, 2006

I can feel the solidness in this picture. The movement of water below and the sky above really enhances the stability of the rocks

comment by mooch at 12:21 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Um, I like this site, is it a collective....

Lovely shot, great tones. I am crap with flash and tend to avoid, I just cannot control it. The sky could perhaps benefit from a little more 'poppiness' which I do believe would have been achieved by HDR. Lovely nonetheless.

comment by EssPea | Photography at 01:22 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Very interest color change from the sky to the ground.

comment by navin harish at 02:57 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Nice shot. How big are these stones?

comment by micki at 03:23 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Fill flash well used, the details are wonderful. With the flash, the growth on the rocks look like gold.

comment by Molly at 03:31 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

interesting sense of scale with this one

comment by CrankPhoto at 03:34 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

I'm with Mark above, there's life in that sky and you didn't bring it to us. Also, the green on that seaweed/moss probably stands out a lot more against the darkened wood when seen in person...also didn't come through as good as it could.

comment by cy at 04:29 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

this is really lovely. makes me wish i could switch places with you for a moment and really see, smell, and feel these wnderful images you delight us with. keep enriching us...

comment by Jarama at 04:38 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

When I first saw this shot, I thought it w as taken from high on a cliff somewhere. Then I read the comment about fill flash and realized that I had the scale all wrong. I agree about the green though, seems a bit hyperreal compared to teh rest of the image...

comment by Jon at 07:16 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

The post processing on this one is amazing.

comment by jonespdb at 07:47 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

cracking shot - could almost be a scene from a sci-fi movie. Hope this will appear in your tutorials when they come.

comment by John at 08:44 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Mark: maybe it's because we are used to seeing a much more vibrant sky from Djn. I know what you mean though. Personally, I think a similarly punchy sky might have hindered the separation of the foreground to background.

Nice photo of course. I'm sure ths is the work of someone else ;-)

comment by unDavide at 11:50 AM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Hi, interesting shoot as usual (maybe he sky is a bit "something else" compared to the rest of the picture...) An "off topic" comment: Firefox browser (latest version has some (huge...) problems with Chromasia stylesheets - something that never happened in the past month. Hope you could fix it ;-)

comment by ico at 12:40 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Amazign photos. Some day I hope i will know how to take pictures on this high level of quality.

comment by sleepless dream at 02:07 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

although the exposure is spot on, this shot doesn't really have a purpose for me. what's the focus? the two rocks? the background? if its the rocks, their texture & palette isn't well highlighted from this distance. if its the background its interrupted by the rocks.
forgive me david for i have sinned :)

comment by mark at 02:09 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

John - good point. :-) It's actually one of those images that don't grab me at first but I warm to on further viewings.

comment by Darren at 02:30 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

The outline of the rocks against the sky looks a bit too sharp. Like maybe you made a selection but didn't feather it or something. It may just be how it really looked but to me it looks a bit unatural.

comment by DAVE at 02:57 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Just freaking gorgeous

comment by mooch at 02:59 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Dave, just thought you should know that someone is posting comments on my site using your username. I wonder if they're doing it anywhere else? Cheers.

comment by Craig Wilson at 03:28 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Nice shot, colours and tones are very good.

comment by wesley hargrove at 04:01 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

i like the redo a lot better than the first one :) excellent job

comment by Nate at 04:11 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

I haven't been here in a long time and your work is always so awesome. The photos of your children are so wonderful I don't really have words for it. This shot here has a perfect composition and you already know how well you do with the processing. Very awesome shot.

comment by m i k e b at 06:50 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Wonderful color tones and detail in the rocks. Very nice improvement on the sky as well.

comment by PlasticTV at 06:51 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

The two pieces of stone actually look like mountains in their own right. Great job! The flash looks natural enough.

comment by djn1 at 08:14 PM (GMT) on 10 August, 2006

Thanks everyone.

navin: the one of the left was about 12" high.

Jarama: I couldn't do much about the greens in the image without making it look unnatural.

Phil: yep, this one would be a good one for the tutorials, I'll keep it in mind.

sleepless dream: I guess the focus, for me, was the two posts in their context.

Darren: yes, the divide between the posts and the sky does look too sharp, though I've toned it down in this version. I think, as much as anything else, it's a consequence of the fill-flash; i.e. as the light falls away around the posts the edges seem unnaturally dark.

mooch: thanks, I'll mention it on tomorrow's entry.

comment by Photo Traces at 02:38 AM (GMT) on 11 August, 2006

great as usual...

comment by mamo at 04:12 PM (GMT) on 11 August, 2006

this is beautiful!! stunning perspective

comment by delphinE at 02:55 PM (GMT) on 14 August, 2006

amazing like every time !
you've got a wonderul eye.

comment by Andy at 08:44 AM (GMT) on 15 August, 2006

This is really good... I like very much indeed...