Dan Mottaz  

The Easy Life by Dan Mottaz

September 2020 - The Easy Life

About the Image(s)

Thank you to the group members for inviting me in.

Like life, I try to make my images without a lot of unnecessary distractions. Here, in Bandon, Oregon, during the sunrise period, I composed this shot and made a few test captures. After some framing adjustments, I waited for the perfect light. Then, I saw a seagull wandering in and out of frame. Not being a wildlife photographer, my first instinct was to shoo the pesky bugger out of the scene. "But wait! That might be good!" So I waited for a long few minutes. The bird stopped in the perfect spot. I pressed the button.

For several years I've been drawn to this section of Face Rock Beach. But during my last visit there, I wanted to make the scene more simple than what I've done in the past. Previsualization is important to me, but it's a challange where there's constant change. So, with a few things in mind, I pursued a shot that wasn't quite complete in my mind.

In post, the RAW image was converted using ACR. I applied the usual PS Adjustment layers - Curves, H&S, Color Select, etc., along with NIK for some fine tuning. I felt that the image was still not right. So with NIK's Silver Effects Pro, I converted it to Monochrome to strip out the distracting color and made some further light and contrast adjustments.

Tools and Settings: Canon 5D MK III with Canon 16-35 L Lens. Focal Length 21mm, 2 Sec Exp., f/22, ISO 50. Singh-Ray 3-stop GND filter and a RRS tripod.

9 comments posted

Jack Florence Jr   Jack Florence Jr
(Groups 47 & 66)
I share your love of simplicity, Dan, this is truly elegant, delightful.   Posted: 09/06/2020 17:49:20
Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Thank you, Jack.   Posted: 09/12/2020 09:04:57

Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
A very nice image Dan. It is simple, clean, and elegant - well composed, and the graphic forms work well in the B&W rendering that you've done. I love the full set of tonality you have used. I also think the bird really makes the image for me - adds a "dynamic element" - so glad you didn't shoo it away.

Since it is such a nice image, I'd offer a couple of minor touches for your consideration. I think the horizon is slightly out of level - it is close but given the simplicity of the image it was standing out a bit to me. Of course an easy fix. I also feel like the top edge needs a little more breathing room. If the distance from the top of the taller rock to the edge were maybe 50% more, I think it wouldn't feel as tight. Perhaps re-crop with content aware fill, which I imagine would work pretty well given the simplicity of the sky. Again, just a couple of thoughts. Even without it is a beautiful image.
  Posted: 09/12/2020 08:55:58
Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
I'm always amazed with and appreciate the eyes of another viewer. Pointing out things that I've missed helps tremendously. Thanks, Robert.   Posted: 09/12/2020 09:07:39

Gerard Blair   Gerard Blair
Dan - I think it stunning - and you have to love the deity that sent you that bird just when you had the shot ready. I particularly like the contrast between the smoothness of the sand and where it is rippled along the inlet - and that these ripples are repeated in the water itself. The composition to my eyes is perfect - the rocks seem a little large but I think that is part of the story: their weight in this seascape.

Again - I would want to take this picture myself one day. If I did I would make two changes:
the base of the rocks is a little too black - is there is a way to bring back some more features (perhaps locally masking with a less contrasted version)
I think you have added a horizontal vignette - for me it is a little heavy - particularly as it is not seen in the reflection in the water. I would pull it back a little.

  Posted: 09/13/2020 12:57:43
Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Thank you for the insight, Gerard. Much of what you said caught my interest, especially the horizontal vignette. This was an addition I made a few weeks after processing was completed. You're right; it's not seen in the reflection. Thank you!   Posted: 09/14/2020 09:13:38

Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Beautiful image Dan! I love the contrast in B&W (three tones - light, medium, dark) as well as the symmetry between the sky and the beach. Great job capturing the reflection of the rock in the pool of water. That is a really interesting pair of rocks - they eroded differently but look great as a pair. The image is really eye-catching. Plus, I love the bird standing in the foreground. It adds a sense of scale to the image and helps to show how large the rocks are. Great shot!   Posted: 09/14/2020 10:04:55

Zolt Levay   Zolt Levay
Lovely composition and tonality, and strong leading lines. I might crop right and bottom to put the stream through the sand closer to the bottom left corner, and the rock outcrop a little off center.   Posted: 09/15/2020 19:29:16

Dale Yates   Dale Yates
Hi Dan, welcome to the group! This is an excellent black and white photo! I love the simplicity and the overall composition is excellent...leading lines from the stream to the rocks and the rocks to the horizon at the right. In black and white images I look for both tonal contrast and texture. This image has both displayed very well! In my opinion, other than the crop suggestion by Robert, I would not change a thing. Very well done!   Posted: 09/21/2020 12:30:42


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