Dale Yates  

Straits of Mackinaw by Dale Yates

September 2020 - Straits of Mackinaw

About the Image(s)

This photo was taken 2 years ago while in a boat crossing the Straits of Mackinaw, enroute to the mainland from Mackinaw Island, Michigan. There was a storm brewing and we were in a race to get to land before it hit. The mood of this image is intentionally dark to reflect the mood of a coming storm. My goal is to show both the dark cloud structure as well as the rays of sunlight at the right center of the photo. I am also trying to emphasize the light/shadow contrast on the choppy waters from the dark clouds above. In addition, the Mackinaw Bridge is shown in the distance to the left.

For this image I used an aperture of f/16 with a shutter speed of 1/200 of a second, ISO 800, and a focal length of 18mm. This photo was taken in RAW format. Post processing in Lightroom, includes adjustments to white balance, exposure and contrast, highlights and shadows, and overall sharpness. I then utilized Photoshop, using the clone tool to work on the clouds. Lastly I used the Nik filter Dfine 2 to help eliminate some of the noise.

6 comments posted

Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Hi Dale. This is a perfectly exposed image. Your blacks are plenty deep and your whites don't peek. I personally love the golden tone, the subtle god rays and the water texture. The fine lines of the bridge add just the right amount interest.
Compositionally, the photo follows the traditional rule of thirds with the horizon line on the lower third and a dominate light at the upper right powerpoint.
Two things I would correct if the image were mine: a little more NR in the sky and the dark section on the bridge attracts my attention too much.
What I like most about this photo is that it's understated. The image is best viewed as a whole, not divided into separate competing pieces. Even though warm tones are more aggressive and there's lots of texture in the water, it maintains its overall quiet feel. Nicely done.
  Posted: 09/05/2020 09:09:22

Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
I love the rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds - I'm always looking for opportunities to capture that effect and never seem to have my camera with me when it happens. For me those sun rays are the center of interest.

I also like the mood of the image - the coming storm. I think you could go even more dramatic in the contrast and darken the tonality overall to enhance that further. I also think the water looks a little soft to me - perhaps go with a little higher shutter speed next time, given the moving water and moving boat.

But great image. And I guess you won the race to get to land before the storm hit.
  Posted: 09/12/2020 13:15:20

Gerard Blair   Gerard Blair
Dale - I think that the tonality and colors are very well balanced and they portray a strong sense of a moment. The inclusion of the bridge seems to me to add a point of secondary interest which I welcome as opposed to a straight sea and sky shot.
For me the primary interest is (as you suggested) the contrasts, particularly in the sky.

My suggestion is that there may be too much in the image that is the same. The sea is locally varied but globally the same - the clouds off to the top left are unchanging. So I have cropped to isolate the contrasts (and put the hidden sun along a vertical rule of thirds). See what you think.

(I also own the Nik software but have never used the noise reduction feature - I will try - thanks for that suggestion).   Posted: 09/13/2020 12:10:39
Comment Image
Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
I really like Gerard's crop. Also, the NIK noise reduction very good.   Posted: 09/14/2020 09:02:35

Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
I love these types of images - seascapes that capture the layers of clouds. Personally, I really like the silhouette of the bridge of the background because it helps give a sense of the scale to the image (i.e. how grand it is and how much physical space the frame/image encompasses). I also agree with Dan and Gerard that the crop frames the image nicely. Also, FYI - if you ever edit using Adobe Photoshop Express (it's free to download and/or use online), two of the editing features are "reduce luminance noise" and "reduce color noise". I have been experimenting with those and they have been useful.   Posted: 09/14/2020 09:53:26

Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
Hi Dale
I really love the clouds in this image. Those God rays are something I would love to capture with something other than my iphone. I too never seem to have my camera when I see them. I like the leading line from the bridge to the center of attention (ie the rays). I might try to decrease the highlights in the clouds on the upper left so that they don't distract from the rays. I like Gerards crop too.
I just purchased Topaz denoise and so far really like it. I have NIK too but topaz works a little better I think.

Great Image!   Posted: 09/16/2020 00:36:40


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