<<< o >>>The groyne #1 13 comments + add yours

I'm now back in Bulgaria after spending four great days providing some one-to-one training for Jason Kotecha in Blackpool. During the training we spend quite a lot of time concentrating on post-production, but there were also a range of photogaphic techniques and topics that Jason wanted to cover: seeing creatively, street photography and portraiture, and shooting sunsets.

Street photography and shooting sunsets are self-explanatory (and I'll be posting a variety of images from these sessions over the next few weeks), but 'seeing creatively' probably requires a bit more explanation. In one sense it's a relatively straightforward idea – you just need to find the angle and composition that will provide the most interesting interpretation of a scene. In practice though, this isn't always easy, so we spent quite a bit of time discussing a variety of ways to simplify the process. One method, that we used for our shots of this groyne, is to decide what role a particular element within a scene will play within the final image.

For example, this shot is one of four that I'll be posting. In each shot though, the groyne plays a different part. In this one it was used as a frame, in another we used it to create a more dynamic composition based on its structure, in another we concentrated on the small scale detail, while in a fourth we used it as a background to a different foreground element. I won't post all four in a row, but will add the other three over the next few weeks.

Jason's hasn't posted any of his shots of this structure yet but has blogged a rather nice shot of the waves against the seawall on Blackpool seafront, which I think is a great example of 'seeing creatively':


Update: Jason's version of this shot is here:


focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
1.29pm on 9/4/10
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
aperture priority
+1 1/3
flipped horizontally
3x2 + fylde coast [scenic] + show the original
comment by Nicki at 08:27 AM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

As a "groupie" of your beach combined shots, I'm happy see that. Seems to be perfect processed - as always, but my first impression was: clear but really sharp?

Of course, a great work - particulary the toning. But what happens with the sharpness? I would say the focal was a few centimeters behind this groyne? BTW - now I'm also convinced of your technique "showing the original". Brings out some secrets of your captures ^^

comment by Justin Photis at 09:29 AM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

I'm with Nicki on this one, it's the type of shot, and the last one, that drew me to Chromasia in the first place. I really like the very gentle toning you've given the shot.
I also like the very suttle changes you've made in cloning, the small stones bottom right is just so 'you'....
I'll be keeping any eye on Jason's Blog with interest to see what he's picked up from his time with you, as I'll be seeing you in Blackpool at the end of the year too !

comment by djn1 at 10:02 AM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

Nicki: it's a bit soft as it was shot at f/2.8, but I've resharpened the original and it looks a bit better now. And I'm glad you like the 'show the original image' feature :)

Justin: Thanks, and I'll be interested to see what Jason comes up with too. I've seen some of them - we used quite a few shots for the post-processing sessions - but I'm sure he'll come up with some other interesting ones too. As for the cloning: yes, I guess it was a fairly typical change :)

comment by frankdejol at 10:05 AM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

Excellent composition.

comment by djib at 10:09 AM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

Great shot. Post-processing is great and the composition is awesome, full of details and yet simple. I'm curious about why you removed some of the stones from the original on the bottom right.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 11:44 AM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

Dave, It's the shore... I'm good :) Thanks for the discussion on seeing creatively. Your ability to see creatively begins with the original and continues to this posting. In this image I see time... age... persistence... surrender... and peace. Looking forward to the sunsets too!


comment by Tolga at 04:10 PM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

Simple, yet great processing..
Love this.

comment by Al at 04:49 PM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

Looking forward to see the upcoming shots for this series David. It will give good insight to your creative workflow .

comment by Carlos Bohorquez Nassar at 09:49 PM (GMT) on 15 April, 2010

The new feature is awesome David, I'm loving it too. On this image, what keeps going through my head is how much sharpness you got out of this quite "soft" original image/focus. Care to share something brief on how you did that?

Thx a lot as usual, love the composition.

comment by Andrey Samolinov at 01:32 PM (GMT) on 16 April, 2010

Great texture and simplicity

comment by djn1 at 05:32 PM (GMT) on 16 April, 2010

Thanks everyone.

Carlos: I use the Smart Sharpen filter to sharpen my web graphics, using a radius of around 0.1 and an amount of something like 110%.

comment by David Kelly at 08:53 PM (GMT) on 16 April, 2010

David, like Carlos I'm amazed at how much you've pulled back the sharpness from what is a soft image. I've often ditched some shots because they looked soft, but I'll certainly give your settings a try and see if they can be saved. Indeed I've got a few shots I took of an old wooden shed door a couple of weeks ago (which has a similar weather texture to the wood in your picture) that I can try that on - thanks.
I love the framing & composition btw.

comment by Rachel at 10:35 PM (GMT) on 19 April, 2010

love this, and can't wait for the next three.