Gerard Blair  


Bridge across the Sea to Skye by Gerard Blair

June 2020 - Bridge across the Sea to Skye

About the Image(s)

Evening - shot from pier looking up the estuary to the bridge between Scotland's northwest coast and the Isle of Skye.

The subject is iconic in Scotland - even though the bridge was controversial - especially the rolling hills beyond. The aim was to capture the sky in the falling light - but to anchor that scene I wanted a foreground and the quay presented itself and then became a feature. Basically I wanted to capture the Scottish coast.

Lots of careful time in Photoshop with a start in DoX Color Efex Pro to tune the light and dark.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1; Lens Canon EF70-300mm f/4/5.6 IS USM:

Handheld - ISO 100, 1/125, f/18.0, 70mm;


This round’s discussion is now closed!
10 comments posted

Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
It looks like the sky was wonderful!

The pole on the quay is in the position on one of the lines of the rule of thirds and because of this becomes the subject of the image.

Without being there it is hard to say if another point of view might have been better that did not put the pole in the image.

If your subject is the bridge and the rolling hills there is too much of the quay in the foreground. I would crop more of that out and put the bridge on the rule of third line.

It also seems like the light and shadow editing went a little far and created noise and a halo around the bridge.   Posted: 06/02/2020 23:46:47
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Gerard Blair
I actually like the image as the "view from the quay": a sort of homage to local culture - but I agree that darkening it and removing the pole does make the background standout.
Your comment on the bridge halo seems to me possibly to explain why this image did not win favour with judges (I will look out for that in future). I do think you are correct in terms of competition photography - but I like a little halo sometimes, and this effect reminded me of "tourist art" sold in Edinburgh, Scotland (which feature the same lighting). I also think it is a technique used in painting. George Seurat was all about using colour contrasts for highlighting boundaries - and he used light/dark "effect rather then realism" in the same way (as you see on this bather)   Posted: 06/03/2020 13:27:47
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Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
It would be useful if you could post the original before any processing. It seems like you are going for a different look, which is very creative. On the surface it seems like you've overdone quite a few things in the processing, but again, if that is the look you are after - great. Sometimes middle ground is tough. Just like the judges you mention, we can't figure out whether things are intentional or not.   Posted: 06/07/2020 14:52:23
Gerard Blair
Robert - a jpg of my raw file without modification. Looking forward to your conclusions.   Posted: 06/07/2020 16:26:02
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Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
What I like about this image is the juxtaposition of the modern looking man-made bridge against the otherwise natural and timeless background of the mountains. I think it suggests a tension, which is consistent with your description that the bridge was controvertial. And again, for me, it is modern intruding on iconic Scotland.

So it is perhaps appropriate to emphasize that intrusion, and render things in a modern, graphic way. The rendering challenges the norm - harsh contrast in the clouds, halos on bridge and mountains, slightly surreal colors in the sky - and has a somewhat pop art like feel. But that reflects the way the modern, man-made bridge challenges the norm of the Scottish landscape. I don't know if that is what you were after, but that is what captures me about what you've done.

Since for me this is more about the bridge, I would find the image stronger with the pole removed. I also think the modern, simple, pop art like feel would be emphasized further if you had composed without the quay, and done a long exposure to render the water textureless.

It is the sort of image that is open to many different interpretations.
  Posted: 06/13/2020 20:37:13
Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
Yes I see what you mean re the halo's used in artwork. As with any judge my opinion is just that, one person's opinion. Always do what works for you, take the feedback for what it is and decide what you like. I have disagreed with many a critique but I have found most to be very helpful in the growth of my image quality.

I hope you don't mind that I took the liberty of quickly editing the original to better show you what I mean. I was unable to show you what I meant about the clouds in the edited version. It really is a beautiful view. I would like to see it sometime myself if Covid ever lets us travel again!   Posted: 06/14/2020 00:22:08
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Gerard Blair
Thanks to both of you for your feedback which I really appreciate - my replies were intended as explanation rather than dispute. In summary, I am hearing that you noticed the halo artifacts from high-contrast post-processing and the foreground in general but particularly the pole. With these points in mind I looked back into my database and walked forward to the front of the quay - and used more restraint while seeking a little more color.   Posted: 06/14/2020 13:35:51
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Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
I love this image! The sky has great color and detail!   Posted: 06/20/2020 13:15:46

Emily Kawasaki
I really like your image and how the mountains in the background are crisp and clearly defined. I love the moody atmosphere and the cool tones of all the colors. Just to get a bit more detail from the darkest shades, I increased both the Shadows and Blacks, to lighten the clouds a tiny bit, bring out some details of the clouds a little more and lighten up the dark color of the land in the right mid-ground. I like the additional coloring you added to the sky in your latest post. Great shot!   Posted: 06/19/2020 16:45:58
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Dale Yates   Dale Yates
Nice photo! I like the overall mood of this image. The composition is excellent and in my opinion keeping a part of the pier in the foreground gives me the feeling of "being there". I really like the "layered" mountains in the background which provides depth to the image. As far as suggestions, in my opinion you may want to experiment with lightening the image a little, however I recognize the darkness enhances the mood I mentioned earlier. I agree with perhaps removing the light pole in the foreground. My last thought is there appears to be some light rays coming from the clouds in the background. Perhaps experimenting with enhancing these light rays to provide another point of interest in the photo. This is an excellent and very creative photo...great work!   Posted: 06/20/2020 09:18:14