Expert advice and tips on improving your photography from Damien Demolder. Damien looks at Utah Rocks by Eric Begbie to see how it may be improved.

Photo: Utah rocks

Taken by: Eric Begbie

Nikon D300, 17-55mm, 1/640sec at f/9, ISO 200

I like this shot of Eric’s. It’s the kind of picture I find quite hard to take myself, and I usually have to spend ages to get anything worthwhile. I suppose the key to success is making sense of all those patterns and shapes, and using the light to explain the size and form of the place.

Before-EB

Before: The original image is too light, compressing the tonal differences.

Eric has used near and far objects to give a real sense of depth, and the bold shapes in the foreground contrast dramatically with the textures we see further in the frame – things get smoother as the distance increases. The far mountain seems to be peering through 
the gap in the middle ground, and its pale rock face helps make it stand out in the frame.

What Eric hasn’t done so well is getting the exposure right. The image is too light. The difference between the tones has been compressed so we have to work too hard to notice them. Had he dropped the exposure by about a stop, or even pulled down the midtones in software, he would have produced a more compelling result.

After-EB

After: By pulling down the midtones in software, we can render the image more compelling.

It is still a great picture, though, and for his clever composition Eric wins my picture of the week award.