Cleaning Up

General Thoughts
Stormy Sunrise — Isle of Palms, South Carolina © jj raia

Stormy Sunrise — Isle of Palms, South Carolina © jj raia

Going through the frames that were taken of the ocean in the recent trip to Isle of Palms just outside Charleston, I came across a series of blurred shots taken at sunrise that I had forgotten about. There was, thankfully, very little of the debris I spoke about in the last post, but the horizon was at a pretty severe angle that was rescued by Lightroom’s ability to rotate the image in the Lens Correction section of the Develop Module. Since the morning was bright at the time the image above was taken, I only had 1.3 seconds to move the camera even with lowering the ISO to 50 and setting the aperture to f/22. I could have slowed the shutter speed a bit more by adding a polarizer (about 2-stops), but didn’t want to take the time and chance losing the reflection in the surf as the sun climbed behind the clouds. This blur, attained by moving the camera ever so slightly, gives a more painterly look, with “brushstrokes”, throughout the image rather than just the area where the water is moving. In addition, the sunlight reflections seem to glow a bit more than a straight forward exposure. It also allows me to linger a bit longer and continue taking photos beyond the few brief moments of glorious color at sunrise.

Sudden Sunrise — Isle of Palms, South Carolina © jj raia

Sudden Sunrise — Isle of Palms, South Carolina © jj raia

The image above is similar to one from a previous post (click here to see the image), but illustrates how taking several images allows for options when selecting the best combination of waves and surging surf.  You will always find a preference among all those you might take during that fleeting moment, and sometimes there are several that you prefer. The timing of the shutter release was just as the foam attained its furthest reach and a nice line of it was caught just beyond the sheen reflecting the sky in this 2-second exposure; yet, the blur of its retreat is maintained. The unedited RAW image is below, without the debris cleaning that I usually do for beach scenes. Shells, stray foam, or other things are almost always present along the water’s edge, and they seem to be a distraction, drawing the eye to them and therefore, away from the main subject of the sunlight on the upper level of clouds. It may take some time and patience to get through them all, but it is necessary unless a completely accurate rendering of the scene is the purpose. In addition to cleaning up the foreground and removing dust spots, an unexplainable, vertical bright spot in the clouds was also corrected.

Before Debris was Removed © jj raia

Before Debris was Removed © jj raia

Something way out from my usual type of photo was this lucky accident of the couple on the beach at Sullivan’s Island. I wanted to try my 10-stop Neutral Density Filter for blurring the waves against the rocks, and while I was setting up, a couple arrived and just didn’t seemed inclined to move on. They could possibly provide a focal point which the sand and rocks would lead a viewer’s eye to, so I decided to take the 25-second exposure with them included hoping they would either move and not record at all while the shutter was open, or they would remain basically in place. As it turned out, they stayed pretty much in place and this was the result. The bonus was the odd light pattern that was probably due to light leaks during the long exposure and forgetting to close the eyepiece. The dense fog provided a veil on whatever was beyond them that made for a simple, soft background.

Couple on the Beach — Sullivan's Island, South Carolina © jj raia

Couple on the Beach — Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina © jj raia


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