Focus Awards – Seascape

Every year I throw several images into the Focus Awards, an excellent local photography community which a mate introduced me to awhile back.. kinda glad he did 🙂 ..

This year one of my favourite seascape images got second place in the Seascape Category, I have done very little photography by the ocean this year with only a handful of shoots at new spots. A family trip to Tweed heads got me a few new cool spots, one of which was where this image was taken, Snapper Rocks. Like most mornings when considering whether to drag ones ass out of bed to go and shoot some pictures, this one was no different, the temptation to grab that extra couple of hours sleep is sooo very tempting especially with a bunch of kids to deal with during the day 🙂 kinda glad I did get out of bed tho….

Having never had to stand up on stage and try and explain a picture.. and hopefully won't have to again 😉 I thought I might deconstruct this image and show people the images behind it and the starting point. I know I always wonder about how others process images and as someone who actually has very little skill in PS its quite useful to see the starting point and a bit of the process of how a image develops start to finish, so here is my stuff behind my final image.

This image, really is just a bunch of rocks in the ocean, I love it because of that, its not of a familiar place, its not recognisable as a location and it has a few elements which for me give it a bit of abstraction and minimalism, not to much to be too wild, just enough like adding lime to your beer but not drinking Bolivian hard pressed chilli-lime ale. There was some level of self awareness of what the final image would look like, I knew it would be a simplified scene, slightly desatured with yet a hint of green, think lime in ya beer kinda green 🙂 I also remember it well since I was trying out a Leofoto pano head in the wild for the first time – thanks Kudos Cameras and Cameron, with out it this would not have worked and it tipped me over the edge to start using a pano head for ultrawide style panoramas.

The image is 6 vertical shots (@17mm) taken in quick succession as one or two waves rolled over the rocks, the shutter was 1.6 s and this was just enough to get a bit of motion in the water but also get through shots quickly before the water drained away off the rocks. I could have probably done it in landscape orientation, however the field of view would have not been as wide.

The 6 images used to make the panorama are included here, a stitched version (uncropped) from a series of images taken several minutes before as a test run are also included, more just to give an idea of the stitching of the images and the field of view. The final stitch and crop also included and also shows the removal of a few rocks and the removal of the skyline of Surfer's Paradise, this is done using content aware in PS, clone tool and also the motion blur. The motion blur is also used on the water near the horizon to give more sense of motion.

The cloud which is that cool abstract element is real and unadulterated. This part of the image just makes it for me and I recall watching this cloud float on by thinking what a awesome little cloud, I just gotta nail that in the right spot, it did move pretty fast which was handy.

Final processing was contrast, vibrancy and various selective applications on parts of the image, like the cloud, (some clarity), the rocks (lots of blacks and clarity) and accentuating the greens on the rocks. This was all done in Lightroom and an obsolete program called CaptureNX2 which I still dabble with for certain things. Photoshop was used for the stitching and clones etc.

Conveniently enough I also have a awesomely out of focus phone shot of my camera setup at the time. It had the 17-35mm f2.8 lens (thanks for the loan Cameron!) Lee graduated 0.9x filter and Hoya circular polariser.

I hope this helps some people understand whats behind this image and also the level of processing that went into it.

Thanks to the focus crew for a wonderful photography competition, its a hoot every year and a pleasure enter and support. Thanks to the Sigma for the awesome prize too!

In Album 28/11/2017

2 thoughts on “Focus Awards – Seascape

  1. +Gerard Blacklock Congratulations. If you have very little skill in PS, I must be in minus territory Gerard 🙂 It's a great write up though and very enlightening, I think of all the images I see here yours tempt me to learn PS more than any others.

  2. +Chris Sutton cheers mate, I guess its all relative, I see some of the creations people make in PS and the skills needed to do that just blow me away. I have refined the few skills I have over the years 🙂 mostly thru trial and error – i really should do one of those photoshop courses 🙂 One of the reasons for posting the pictures behind this image is due to alot of people who think the image is heavily photoshopped, particularly the cloud, when in fact, the majority of the photoshop work relates to the removal of bits from the image.

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