A Moeraki Boulder

A Moeraki Boulder

On a beach on the South Island of New Zealand they have these really odd completely round boulders. The are pretty large, about 1 meter in diameter and nobody knows how they were created – one of natures small wonders, like the crawling stones in Death Valley.

About this photo

This is a 9 shot HDR. As you can see the sun is still very very bright. If I had wanted the sun to be less burned, I would have had to use an Neutral Density filter (ND-filter). An ND filter is like sunglasses for the lens. I actually did use an ND filter on the same beach, to take some shots of the moving water behind me. That slowed down my shutter speed to a few seconds making wonderful stuff to the waves.

About the composition

What I did with the composition was to merge in the Moeraki Boulder into the edge of the sand cliff, but made sure not to place it above the trees, so it merges into the edge between the sand cliff and the trees on the top of the sand cliff. That gives three repeating shapes, that looks a bit like three waves.

About the processing

I have spend a lot of time making this photo. My aim was to get something that looked Classic HDR, and I wanted a strong shadow cast by the boulder. I have used the edges of the shadow as lead in lines. The reflection in the water I made sure was bright to make a bold reflection. And the last thing I did was a lot of clean up. I have really realized how much cleaning up my photo affects the impact of the photo. I decided to clean up small rocks, leaves etc and it really became a much better photo. One of the things you have to keep in mind, when you take photos, is to keep it simple. To many things in your photo, will just confuse the viewer and it will be like noise for the viewer. Rubble, stones, leaves etc creates a noise too, so either clean up the scene before taking it or do it in Photoshop later. Try at least cleaning up in the foreground of your photo, and be amazed how it affects the impact of your photo.

Gold on the beach

South Island on New Zealand has got these wonderful golden beaches up north on Tasman Bay. We took a water taxi, but because of the tide, we were dumped in the water and had to walk the rest of the 500m to the beach. It was mid thigh deep. I was quite worried about my photo equipment.

About the photo. This is a hand held 5 shot HDR photo. It lacks a bit sharpness in the front. A disadvantage of taking the shots hand held is that, you can’t always get all of the details right. However I do like the photo, composition and the clouds. Processing wise, this is a combination of a single and double tonemapped image that I blended in Photoshop. See my HDR tutorial if you want to know how to do that.