Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: #32 The Beach

Visited by thousands of readers in more than 155 countries around the world, LetsBeWild.com is all about getting people outside – the great outdoors is where it’s at when it comes to having fun & living life to the fullest!

Our Wild Weekly Photo Challenge encourages bloggers to head into the wild (or the backyard) and photograph something that they feel fits the weekly theme. Once you’ve posted your blog entry, comment on the Challenge theme that you’re entering with the link to your post! Each week we choose one first place winner, one audience choice winner, and five honorable mention winners. Be sure to read the simple rules in each challenge to make sure your entry qualifies!

While this is not an ocean beach, Bravo Lake now has a sandy beach front because the water level is down as low as I have ever seen it.  A few days ago Vince and I walked around Bravo Lake.  We took a couple of hours to go three miles, but I came back with 75 pictures.

So what do you do with 75 pictures of Bravo Lake added to 150 of San Francisco, and 9,000 other pictures I’ve taken since I started blogging?  Some, maybe even most of them are good. I doubt that any of them are great in every way I can think of that a photograph might be great:  subject, composition, lighting, and processing.  I had lunch yesterday with my photography friend, Laura Malmquist.  She showed me some of her prints, and I showed her some of my pictures on the computer.  She suggested that I print some of my pictures.  She said they look more impressive in print.  Hers sure looked impressive.

She had some other advice for me.

  1. Figure out what it is that you really like, then start cropping your photographs to get it.  Soon you will realize what it is that you want to focus on.  You have too much in your pictures.  The less the better.  Simple is better.
  2. Play with Photoshop as much as you do with the settings in the camera.  Take out all the color and add in other color.
  3. Try different angles.  Decide which type of angles you like best.

That was about it.  Beyond that it’s practice, practice, practice.  OK that’s where you come in.  You already know that about me.  I like feedback.  In my opinion it’s more than my opinion that counts!    I picked out one picture that I really liked on which to experiment.  Vince and I talked about it half way around the lake once we could see where the Kaweah River was emptying into Bravo Lake.  During the high times of the lake, it isn’t visible.  But this lake is used for flood control, and now when snow is melting in the mountains they authorities let the water out of Kaweah Lake, which is dammed.  We thought that the best shot would be looking toward the sunset from the bridge over point where the river entered the lake.  So what do you think, was this a good shot in the first place?

My second question to you is, if you were going to print just one of them to try to sell, which one would YOU print?

1.  The original

This is how Bravo Lake gets its water.
This is how Bravo Lake gets its water, Kaweah River.

2.  The sepia

Many years ago...
Once upon a time…  (last week)

3.  The cropped color adjusted sky with cloned in tree tips because the color turned the trees the wrong color.

Barely cropped, gently colored.
Barely cropped, carefully cloned tree tips that had turned purple, gently colored sky and hill.

You can actually see the meandering path that the Kaweah River makes as it empties into Bravo Lake.  It might be better if a huge fish had jumped into my picture, or a bird had swooped down and caught a fish.  Maybe a kid on an inner tube floating dow the river.  I’m just glad there wasn’t a spare tornado lurking around one of the hills.  While that would make the picture more interesting, there are some limits to how much interest a person needs in life.  I don’t mean to take the Oklahoma disaster lightly, I hate that it happened.  At the same time I would be less than honest if I was not thankful that it did not happen here.

That being said, if you would like to donate to the victims of the Oklahoma disaster, and haven’t already done so, I’m attaching a button to my sidebar, and at the end of this post that will take you to a first responder.  Vince and I decided to give to Salvation Army  because according to my husband who works with our local group, a very high percentage of the money raised goes to victims.

Click picture to donate to Oklahoma tornado victims.
Click picture to donate to Oklahoma tornado victims.

41 thoughts on “Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: #32 The Beach”

  1. Great gallery, like the way you played with the image, the last one is my pick – I tried Photoshop for a week free trail, but it was far too advance for little happy amateur me. A lot of money .. too. So I decided to stick with my free PhotoScape and it does what I need it for. But I haven’t really start playing around yet.

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    1. It took me quite a while before I decided to invest in it. I took two three hour classes first. Now I need to take them over because I haven’t used all that I learned, and I have unlearned much of it!!! :)

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  2. Hello Marsha. I think the advice you were given is good. Try to visualise what the final image would look like when printed. 2 questions I was told to consider were: 1) why did you press the shutter and 2) what is the focal point of the image. I absolutely agree on simplifying. Less is more.

    The image you present has a fairly wide dynamic range with the very bright sky and shadows. The skyline may be prone to purple fringing (chromatic aberration). If you have LR it will deal with this. Or if it is purely an overlapping colour adjustment you can select the sky going around the trees using one of the select tools such as the magic wand. Then just apply the adjustment to the sky area you have selected.

    I think printing gives you a lot of insight into your images. I would print whichever you like most. I like the sepia but would maybe even go the whole hog and try monochrome. Photography provides us with endless fun and fascination. A lovely if frustrating journey.

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    1. What a wonderful reply, Andrew. The last one was the most experimental. I overlaid several layers of color, then had to clone in the tips of the tree because I don’t get selecting yet! I also don’t know what LR is. I guess I am going to have to invest and print a few pictures that I like, just to see. Who knows maybe I will end up with a gallery show! :) Thanks again for your response! :)

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    1. Thanks J.G. Easy for you to say, hands down. My hands were flying up like an Italian talking about how to make the best spaghetti sauce. (Oh right I am Italian now!) Marsha Lee Italiano :)

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  3. I like learning from other photographers, Marsha, so thanks so much for sharing those tips from your photographer friend Laura. I like how you experimented with your photo; all three of them are great, but the last is my favorite. Second would be the original. Sepia is also interesting, but I think it depends on the mood you are trying to create. It’s certainly good for certain things. I don’t think the picture would have been better with a huge fish jumping, a bird swooping or a child floating. I think it’s perfect just the way it is. Isn’t it amazing how many pictures we take as bloggers? I find myself taking hundreds on the smallest of outings. It’s probably a little overkill especially since most of them are not that stellar. Isn’t it fun to be a blogger? :-)

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    1. It is amazingly fun to be a blogger and have people like you who are so interesting who are also interested enough to read what I think and am doing. It is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life! And I’ve done lots of things, but the fun is in the sharing. :)

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      1. You are so right, Marsha. The university requires we give 6 months’ notice, which I did on December 26. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Anyway, it worked out okay because I have been saving money like crazy for my upcoming trip to Spain and Portugal. So, I needed every bit of money from that 6 months! Anyway, it will be here soon enough. :-)

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      2. That is crazy! It’s great that you have a purpose! I’ve never been to either Spain or Portugal, but I’ve heard they are lovely, and they certainly look beautiful in all the photos I’ve seen. Go to Barcelona for me! :)

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    1. Right, Ralph! It would look beautiful in your new living room next to your picture of MFR. Let’s see how much is a large original worth? I may have just sold my first photograph!!! Hey everybody, Ralph’s going for the first one! Coming right up, Ralph :)

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      1. You’re not THAT old MFR, and if you are, your sense of timing is a little warped! Come back in another couple of hours and my photo will be worth $5, too! :)

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  4. They are all so beautiful, and I can see each one being chosen for a different reason. The 3rd was my favorite though. That sky was beautiful.

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    1. AWWWWW you are too kind. I’m going to have to visit your site. I’m sure my husband and neighbors would all love you – the combination of hot rod and cowgirl is definitely right up our alley. Thanks for your comment and for taking the time read my blog! :)

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  5. Good exercise – Sometimes instead of cloning (I work building product images in photoshop) I will copy a piece of something I like and paste it into a new layer so I can mess with it – like the trees. Sometimes flipping them and distorting them a bit will do the trick. Do you use a polarizing filter?

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      1. I use the lasso tool and feather the selection by about 5 pixels – then I clone from that to fill in. From CS5 on there is a content aware feature that will fill in for you. Trees are tough, because they are so random.

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      2. I wasn’t being critical, sorry if it came off that way, truly. Someone told me once that I could work my whole career in Photoshop and still be learning something new everyday. That was 20 years ago and they were absolutely right. There are a hundred ways to skin the same car in PS. I like this exercise a lot and think you did a great job!

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      3. No, I didn’t think you were being critical. I just have so much trouble with cutting using the lasso tool. I actually used the lasso tool to select the sky in the last picture, and I was pleased that it came out as well as it did. :)

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      4. There are two ways to feather. When you select the lasso (or any tool that selects like the rectangle) there is a box in the header that allows you to set how many pixels you want to feather when you select something with that tool. I use between 2 and 5 unless I need a big fade and then I might go 25 – it blurs the line so you don’t have a hard edge. The second way is to select something and then go to the pull down menu and choose select then scroll down to feather, then you can set it in the same manner. This works great for skies and for fixing patches in grass. Also I clone with the stamp too set to something less that 100% opacity.

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