Home Forums Photo Critique Lighthouse

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    Logan Lamar

    Hi everyone!
    Here’s a shot I got of a lighthouse a couple of days ago.

    What are your thoughts?

    Canon 60D on tripod
    Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4-5.6 IS STM @ 18mm (left stabilization on… oops)
    f/11, ISO 400, 1.3 sec.
    Exposure pushed about a stop and a half in post processing.

    Logan Lamar

    Let’s try uploading this attachment again…

    Morgan Giesbrecht


    From the looks of it, your weather has been very similar to ours…grey and raining! But even grey days provide neat photography opportunities – like yours.

    There’s a lot that I like about this photo. The subject first – lighthouses are incredible! Then your silky water effect with the ocean. I’m no expect on it, but I do like the way you did yours. Also the leading lines created by the shore line lead the eye upwards – an excellent composition technique!

    I pulled your photo into Lightroom to experiment with a few things (pictures attached below). The first thing I did was crop the image. The horizon falls in the centre of the image dividing it in half (there’s also quite a bit of negative space at the top of the photo) so I dropped the top part of the photo down to create 2/3 horizon and then pulled the left side of the picture in slightly to put the lighthouse on the 1/3 from the right grid line. I attached screenshots of what I did in Lightroom since that’d be easier than trying to explain it. But the main thing I’d say is that the image feels a bit dark so I’d definitely recommend upping the exposure and playing with the contrast. Maybe try pulling in a bit more of the blue colour too…?

    Then I had an “I wonder…” moment. 🙂 I’m a big fan of B & W so I thought I’d give your shot a try, and personally, I like how it turned out. I didn’t use the B & W option, but rather pulled the Saturation to -100 and Vibrance to +100. (That gives the picture a “brighter” B&W look than the B&W button which I think looks more grey.) Then I pulled the Exposure and Contrast while eliminating the Highlights. (I think the exposure could have been pulled more in the B&W but that was an after thought.) I don’t know how you feel about B&W, but I thought it’d be an interesting experiment.

    The only other thing I’d mention was that some of the taller pieces of grass could be a little out of place due to looking taller than the lighthouse, but I’m thinking that’s because of the level you were standing on.

    Overall, I think you have an excellent shot! Great subject, composition, and definite potential!


    Morgan Giesbrecht

    And here are the settings for the coloured image…

    (One this I forgot to mention was that I used the “Healing” Brush to clean up the beach a bit…)

    (Also I dropped the Vibrance from 8 to -4 and the Blue Temp from -15 to -5 after the photo exported…it was looking a little too blue)

    John Machen

    Hey @loganlamar,
    Overall, that’s a pretty good picture!

    I agree with @Morgan that the tall grass and the rocks are a little distracting from the lighthouse. I’m not sure if there was a way to compose this photo so you could see more of the lighthouse and make the foreground less imposing.
    It does seem kind of gray and overcast there! If you were intentionally trying to capture the stormy/gray effect, it does look a little too dark. I popped it into Lightroom and brightened it up, changed the WB, and did some local adjustments as well. I’ve got it attached.

    Basically, try to make stand out what caught your attention and looked pretty or picturesque, which I’m guessing is the lighthouse and make sure the foreground doesn’t take away from it.

    Logan Lamar

    @morganwriter1gmail-com @hayhand02
    It wasn’t particularly stormy or overcast—just typical weather for the PNW—, but the sky definitely wasn’t that interesting (it was just after sunset though and there was a band of vivid red in the opposite direction I was shooting). It was shot literally just after sunset and within fifteen minutes of the light in the lighthouse coming on (not as prominent as I would’ve liked).
    Hm… so the consensus is that it is dark, and the foreground is too distracting from the main subject. Something that might help both of those is shooting the same shot (or similar) in morning—the sky would be way more interesting and the rocks would be darker than the lighthouse.
    I completely agree: that changing the composition would help as well. Maybe I could do what Morgan did and play with my cropping a bit… or just try revisiting the site sometime.

    Thanks for your thoughts!


    James Staddon

    I love shooting lighthouses! Which one is this one?

    Yeah, shifting around a bit to get the grass/rocks/foreground to frame the lighthouse a little better would be awesome! If it was at all possible to shoot later too, when the sky turned more blue, that would make the blue color more naturally saturated.

    Interesting what you said about decreasing Saturation by -100 instead of using the B&W conversion, @morganwriter1gmail-com. Will have to experiment with that, as I typically just use the sliders in the B&W panel after “converting” it to B&W.

    Kenneth Ebo

    That is a great shot! I love the rocks and sky, and how every thing blends together.

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