Todor says: I shot this image in Upper Lake at Glendalough in County Wicklow, Ireland. I love how the perspective of the shot gives this lake a mirror image of the sky. The light was changing quickly and so I had to think on my feet to get the image I envisioned. Framing up on a tripod, I set my Fujifilm X-T10 to manual and used a 10-stop Hoya neutral density (ND) filter to achieve a shutter speed of 6.5secs. This gave me a long exposure allowing me to blur out any ripples in the water to give it a glossy finish. In Lightroom I applied a small amount of split toning to inject more pink.
Dan says: Ireland is well-known for its stunning scenery, folk music and delicious stout beverages and it looks like Todor has struck gold with the former – his location is fit for a postcard. Todor’s technique is quite clever, using a long exposure to blur the water into a mirror sheen. The difference between his shot and a standard ‘snap’ is vast as the long exposure makes the water look totally smooth and still. This, paired with the eerie mist hanging over the lake, gives the picture atmosphere in spades. Todor’s edit is a little underexposed, rendering it a little dark and gloomy, so I’d be tempted to tweak the RAW to lift it and make it look more enticing.
Todor has positioned the horizon in the middle of the image to reinforce the vertical symmetry of the foreground and sky. He’s also achieved a brilliant horizontal symmetry as the sloping mountains descend towards the middle of the frame. That said, it’s worth experimenting with a different crop. Placing the horizon a third of the way up from the bottom edge, rather than right in the middle, allows the shot to follow the rule-of-thirds. For me, you still get the impact of the mirrored lake, but now there is more sky detail so the image is more balanced. To do this you’ll need to carry out some clever post-processing work in Photoshop. It’s all relatively simple, taking advantage of Photoshop’s Content-Aware Scale feature. We’ve broken it down into an easy two-part tutorial (see Photo Fix panel).
Overall, it’s a brilliant shot taken to the top of its game with a simple brightening tweak and alternative composition – great job!