View Full Version : Need help

02-15-2013, 08:28 PM
Always have trouble getting pictures of waves. How can I do better.

02-15-2013, 11:38 PM
That's a pretty open-ended question. "How do I take better pictures of ___________?" First off, what makes you think these photos are not good? I don't want to actually provide a critique at the moment. I'm more interested to hear your thoughts on why these ones are not working for you? What's the difference between these shots and your vision of what they should be?

02-16-2013, 09:21 AM
I used a low aperture to get a better shutter speed to stop the motion. I would like to get the water to appear brighter. I know Lake Ontario water does not have the best colour, but it should be better. When I tried brightening in Photoshop it didn't look right. Played with tone mapping but it just got darker.
Is it better to have the light behind the wave, to the side, or in front?

02-16-2013, 11:18 AM
I like these shots. They have good composition last one is my fave..
You obviously have a specific image of what the shot should look like in your head. But that image may or may not be realistic. How a shot gets rendered is a product of the existing lighting conditions. Those conditions can be be massaged slightly though dodging and burning OR in this day of digital photography, you can make a green image look blue. Personally I like more realistic images that are selectively dodged and burned.

You are aking for rules here. There are no rules. If the sun is behind the water it will look one way. If the sun is side lighting the water it will look another way. There is no way to predict which photo would be better if they went head to head in a poker match.

My best advice to you right now would be to study the light. So deliberately go out when the light is front lighting the water..backlighting the water. ....sidelighting the water etc
Take images of the different way the light lights the waves and then decide for yourself what your eye likes.
Hope that may help

John Marks
02-17-2013, 01:26 PM
I'm with Marko on this..

Not a thing wrong with your pictures. Different light is going to yield different results and with the nature of waves, every photo is going to be a surprise.

My only thought would be as Marko says, try different lighting conditions.

That being said, your shots here look very good.

02-17-2013, 03:34 PM
There's a fellow by the name of David Orias (http://500px.com/photo/23988853) that really has it down pat. I like to see a stiff wind blowing from off the beach that creates a spray just before the wave breaks. I looks like you're on your way to develop your own unique style.

Matt K.
02-17-2013, 04:00 PM
For what you wanted to achieve you have done it, in my opinion. Nicely frozen action, straight waterline, overall composition is good. I like 'em,especially #3.

02-17-2013, 06:06 PM
I agree, number 3 is excellent and my favourite as well. I'm not sure what you were doing in Photoshop but you should be able to bring up the mid-tones a bit without making it more muddy.

As with anything, there's more than one way to do this and I'm sure if you ask 10 people you'll get 10 different answers but this is what I would do using my editing tool of choice: Gimp

I would select the Brightness-Contrast... item under the Colors menu. This lets me adjust the darks, mid-tones, and lights. By pumping up the mid-tones and bringing in the darks a little more to add some contrast it would brighten up the water a bit. Of course, where I come from that's called gilding the lily :) Using the various selection tools can help you localize this kind of a change too.


02-17-2013, 07:48 PM
Brad, I agree with the others that there is nothing wrong with the shots you have made, and concur with the comments made so far about trying different lighting etc.

Just a couple of personal observations that you may accept or reject as you see fit.

I note the 3rd shot has been singled out as being preferred by a couple of those who commented before me. I feel the same way and wonder if this is because it doesn't include the horizon. To me this aids the composition. I realise that it isn't always practical to achieve this, particularly without getting soaked in the process. If you can achieve it, it may also help you with cropping to a desired composition as you can rotate the image somewhat without being constrained to keeping a level horizon.

The other aspect is colour. I think that often when we see wave images they are from some tropical location with beautiful blue/green water, and that then becomes our expectation (search for "waves" in google images and see what you get). I guess a creative decision needs to be made if you are stick with the existing colour (which can have its own appeal), or "gild the lily" and tweak the colours.

Having said all that, I return to my initial comment, that I like these and there isn't anything wrong with them.

I hope that may help a little

02-18-2013, 10:31 AM
Thanks for all the good feedback. I will definitely try the different lighting and see what happens. I tend to get a idea in my head of what I want and get frustrated when it does not work out. Learning how to use the new camera and wanting to get better results.
Thanks again everyone for you comments. I always enjoy this site for the great feedback on mine or others photos.


02-18-2013, 10:41 AM
I just wanted to add - that if you are looking for more dramatic lighting (usually around sunrises and sunsets), you must go out in the dramatic light, or create that lighting yourself (much harder with this subject matter).

I favoured shot 3 basically because the sky wasn't doing anything for me here... But if the sky was colourful and full of gorgeous clouds....another story. You can create that sky in photoshop, but personally that's not my thing. so If I'm out at the right time and the sky is boring, I usually include less of it in compositions.
Hope that may help.

02-20-2013, 10:02 AM
Water is possibly the most challenging of subject to master:

-Always moving
-absorbs and reflects light
-extreme lighting from pure black to pure white

Knowing these properties plus knowing your camera/film/sensor capabilities (EI) and output capabilities is the only way to master any subject. Keep experimenting these are looking good!

Doug L
02-21-2013, 12:43 PM
You know, I kind of like the 2nd shot best. I enjoy the shapes of the waves in this one. I love the energy of the spray going above the horizon (and even out of the frame). The brightness of the sky - top right - balances the whiteness in the lower left of the image. Including the horizon puts the wave in a specific locale - big lake. As for the dark steel-blue colour of the water in your photos, to me, it emphasizes the coldness of the water. Anyway, three very nice shots.