Mirror im­age

Practical Photography (UK) - - Photoshop Genius - By Todor Tilev

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!

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