<<< o >>>untitled #95 26 comments + add yours

I've got some more shots that I'm going to post from my trip to Dubai, but I thought I'd put this one up first: taken this morning on Fleetwood beach. If you've seen my beachcombing gallery you'll know that I have quite a few shots of lost and abandoned items that I've found on that beach, but I think that this one has to be one of my all time favourites (though I'd be hard pressed to tell you why).

In terms of the post-production ...

This one was relatively straightforward, other than that I merged two exposures: the metered exposure, and a second shot that was over-exposed by 1 2/3 EV (I used this to bring out the detail in the darker areas of the umbrella).

I also used Topaz Detail, a Photoshop plugin from Topaz Labs, to bring out the fine scale detail in both the umbrella and the sand. If you haven't tried this plugin, I'd highly recommend it, as it does an absolutely superb job of bringing out the detail in an image without introducing any obvious processing artefacts.

If you're interested, I've posted some before and after shots of a crop from the high res' image here:


I don't often recommend plugins, not least because I much prefer working out how to achieve a particular within Photoshop, but none of the Photoshop techniques that I know (USM with a large radius, High Pass Sharpening, and so on) come close to those you can achieve with Topaz Detail. If you're interested, this is a topic I covered in my latest tutorial. Anyway, download the demo version and try it for yourself.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
11.40pm on 9/3/10
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
1/400 (and 1/200)
aperture priority
3x2 + beachcombing
comment by Santi at 05:14 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

This is beautiful!. Congratulations.

comment by Jason at 05:17 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

HI Dave, great to see you back to Beachcombing! I have really missed these shots so much! Excellent shot..! I do need that tutorial you offered as the toning you achieve is simply stunning! Thanks for all your help at GPP last week :)

comment by csj at 05:27 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

Did you grab a frothy coffee, go on Dave tell me you did! Old school Chromasia, welcome home buddy. CJ

comment by Thinh at 05:31 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

I imagine the umbrella to just come to life and start walking around like a mechanical spider. Beautiful image Dave! Glad I decided to pop by your photoblog today...

comment by Paul at 06:33 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

How did you keep the strap on the end of the handle upright like that? There doesn't appear to be much sand blowing to suggest it was windy, and you said that it was a merge of two photos - did you simply clone the strap out of the other picture?

comment by Chris at 07:11 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

When you said you were in the UK this week, I was hoping you would be posting some beach combing images. Excellent! I missed the beachcombing images. I like this one a lot for its very bold colors. The color toning is perfect. Topaz worked great for this image, it really brought out the details in the sand. Any chances of having this image as a Mini-PSD? I think it would be interesting to see the alignment of the two exposures, the topaz detail layer, and color toning.

comment by LightningPaul at 07:16 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

A great image! I like it a lot too.

comment by Anne at 07:26 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

I love your "finds in the sand" photos! The colours are simply beautiful!

comment by Carlos Garcia at 07:56 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

Nice. Looks like the wind won this battle. Thanks for the originals and comparisons. Beautiful tones and details. The strap at the end of the handle... cool.


comment by E y e V i s i o n at 08:21 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

I missed the beachcombig shots from your blog for a long time but finally here is one. Nice shot, it defenitely worth a place in your gallery.

comment by Claus Petersen at 08:58 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

Looks like a crashed rover on mars ;-) Cool image.

comment by Thatch at 09:35 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

Love it, classic you :) Had a great day. Hope its not another year till we meet up again :)

comment by Chris at 10:42 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

I haven't commented for a while. I love the beachcombing stuff Dave, its what originally drew me to Chromasia. I, like you, love shooting the stuff thats washed up. Shame I moved so far away from the sea !!!
This is another classic, keep them coming.

comment by Dan Kaufman at 10:46 PM (GMT) on 9 March, 2010

Superb: composition, post-processing, toning, and detail.
Bet it felt great to spend some time at the beach !!

comment by Michael Buntag at 06:20 AM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

You find some interesting stuff. Great pic.

comment by lightseeker at 07:29 AM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

Eye-catching detail in the narrow zone of focus.

comment by Tony at 10:22 AM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

Love your beachcomber stuff.
I'd love to try Topaz products but it says they dont support PowerPC Mac. Daft.

comment by Michaelcim at 12:30 PM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

Aaahh, we are beachcombing again! I missed those pictures. Great shot, amazing detail. Think I will have a look at the demo version this weekend. Is there maybe a discount to get for Chromasia members? :-)

comment by Justin Photis at 12:38 PM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

Really good looking shot. Did you tone the colour much ?
On a separate matter, do you stage your beachcombing shots to get a better shot or do you shoort them, as is ?

comment by Libby Nightingale at 01:50 PM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

Michaelcim: Theres a 15% discount on any of the Topaz Labs Photoshop plugins or plugin bundles for chromasia members :-)

comment by Mirko Herzner at 06:43 PM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

This is an outstanding image for its simplicity.

I really like the exact position of the umbrella's "sceleton". There's something of a huge dangerous spider in how those legs are positioned. On the other hand it could also be some ship with a black, torn sail.

The string pointing to the right makes me wonder if it was windy? But I suppose it was standing like this all the time.

comment by djn1 at 07:11 PM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

Thanks everyone.

Jason: email me, we'll sort something out.

Craig: no, sadly the frothy coffee shop was closed :(

Paul (and everyone else who mentioned the strap): it was stuck out, probably stiffened by a build up of salt.

Chris: OK, I'll take another look at this one with a view to releasing it as a Mini-PSD.

Tony: I think the problem with the PowerPC's is that there aren't too many of them around. As such I guess it doesn't make too much sense for a developer to create a special version of the software for a platform that is becoming increasingly rare.

Justin: yes, the highlights are a bit warmer and there's a slight green cast to the mid-tones.

comment by Michaelcim at 09:23 PM (GMT) on 10 March, 2010

@Libby (and David) Thanks, I'll have a look this weekend then.

comment by Tom at 09:34 PM (GMT) on 11 March, 2010

Wow, that's very cool. Love the detail.

comment by Agi Bergman at 03:02 PM (GMT) on 14 March, 2010

I love the handle as the black piece if woven stringy material (what is it called?) remains horizontal. Was it windy? Because of the unique motion in this picture, apart of course of the usual artistic post processing rigour, I think it is really great!

comment by simonGman at 11:47 PM (GMT) on 15 March, 2010

Great image Dave. It was your beachcombing captures that first brought me to your site, the TV I believe. Been using the idea with found strangers in a similar way, with shallow dof. Working on getting a 5DmkII for more detail.