Continued from this thread: http://dpnow.com/forum2/showthread.php?t=13471
The dominating feature of this part of the marsh is an old lightship, now used as an outdoor activity centre for youngsters. I would imagine that a residential course is a great experience. It certainly makes a colourful and eye catching subject for a photograph. My first composition was in portrait orientation to crop the old ship tightly and include the reflection of the light tower in the creek. The dynamic range was a bit stretched and exposing for the highlights has rendered the vegetation of the marsh a little darker and more subdued than it actually was. It can probably be corrected with further processing but maybe at the cost of extra noise. Verdict: Keeper, pending re-processing.
I moved along further onto the marsh to get a different angle on the lightship. On the way I passed this simple arrangement of wooden structures, which appealed to me. I like the ambience of aged weathering and gradual decay, the arrangement of the shapes and the modelling from the very directional side-lighting. Verdict: Keeper.
I eventually settled on this composition of the lightship; I was attracted by the strong foreground provided by the oxbow shaped curve in the creek. Exposure was complicated by the strong highlights from the red ship and by part of the foreground now being in shade. This time I felt the need for some filtration and eventually settled on a 2 stop ND grad with the transition line just at the base of the ship and a 1 stop ND grad positioned somewhat lower, aligned with the transition from light to shade on the saltmarsh. This combination may have over-darkened the top of the sky a wee bit but otherwise I think I got it about right. Verdict: Keeper.
On my way back to the boatyard the sun was about to set and I was attracted by this backlit scene. I eschewed filtration for fear of artificially darkening the masts and mooring posts which protruded into the sky and I shot a sequence of bracketed frames with the intention of processing as HDR, but I didn’t shoot quick enough and there is some cloud movement between frames. The result is that I’ve processed this single frame within an inch of its life, which has resulted in excessive noise in the shadows, darkening of the posts and masts which I wanted to avoid, and tell-tale halo artefacts particularly around the top of the posts. Verdict: Reject (although I may try processing the raw file twice, once for highlights and once for shadows, then combining as an HDR).
Back at the boatyard I took my last shot of the day. I was attracted by this line of parked wheelbarrows on the way out, but at the time they were half in light, half in shade. Now they were wholly in subdued light, which suites this type of subject rather well. In hindsight, as pointed out by a master of this type of shot on another forum, it would have been an advantage to temporarily remove the barrow second from right to create a gap and play upon the notice requesting immediate return of the barrows. Maybe next time. Verdict: Keeper, but could be improved.
Thanks for reading, comments welcomed and appreciated.