Liquid Gold

Liquid Gold

Sometimes the sun just won’t dance!  This morning I had the pleasure of being up before 5:30am to drop my daughter off EXTRA early, so I decided to bring my camera and grab a seascape before work.  After the storm of the night before and a clearing sky I was sure I’d have a few nice shots before my second breakfast:-)

I should have known better…


The problem when you live on the east coast of Ireland and a storm is clearing to the east… it’s meeting the rising sun and blocks the best the sun could offer.  A better sunrise can usually be had around here on the morning before an approaching front.  That’s assuming there’s a long enough gap between the last front as well, which is also a problem in Ireland!

It also didn’t help that I left my grad filters at home.  The above shot has one ND 0.6 HG to hold back the rising sun.  The addition of a soft grad would have given better exposure holding more sky back, and allowing a slightly lighter foreground.

I think it’s time I put a checklist together for each shoot type and make sure the right kit is in the right bag next time.

On this beach I also wanted to take a shot of the Martello Tower and get a better image than my previous twilight attempt some time ago:


The sky is great, but the tower is too dark for my liking.  I would have preferred to have the setting sun highlighting one side plus it’s reflection.  This time,  I got a dull tower again due to poor morning light; this is straight from camera:


In my frustration, I thought about adding the colour I needed today from the warm light reflected off the water, but not getting the tower.


In Photoshop I sampled the colour from the above image and applied it to a new layer with blending mode set to soft light.  I brushed in some colour to the tower, reflection, around the beach and rocks:


 It’s still a boring image to me, but the technique may be useful the next time conditions are more favourable, but still lacking some detail.

I’ve never added colour to a landscape or seascape before, but when I thought about it, every post processed image invariably has the numeric values of each pixel modified even by basic global or local adjustments, why should this be any less appropriate?  For the purists, I guess the trick is to keep the adjustments true to the original image or scene, otherwise it’s a slippery slope…

In the end, I guess I did get an image of liquid gold as the rising sun cleared the clouds and hit the foaming waves.

Oh, and one more thing I learned today…  I’ve been using Context Aware Fill and the lasso tool to quickly select and remove all dust bunnies (a tip from Brian Hopper on a recent workshop).  What I’ve also realised that since these are lens bunnies, if my focal length remains the same from image to image, I can save the selections to a new file and load the selection the the second processed image… bunnies gone instantly without more selections:-)