To continue our “How was this picture taken?” series, I would like to invite our readers to analyze this photograph and try to figure out how it was made. It may not seem out-of-the-ordinary at first glance, but this was one of the most technically-difficult photographs I have ever taken. In fact, my post-processing was particularly interesting for this image, and I employed a technique that I have used only three or four other times in my life.
The answer has been posted here.
Here are the questions related to this image:
- Is this a single photograph?
- What “unusual” post-processing did I do for this image?
- Did I use any filters while I was in the field?
- Which settings did I use for the photo? In particular, what was my exposure compensation (using matrix metering)?
- And just for fun – was this photograph taken at sunrise or sunset?
Good luck! The answers to these five questions will be revealed soon.
Found it! The photo was taken in June/July 2015 at the Snaefellsnes Penninsular in Western Iceland, here:-
Looking NNW, which means we’re looking at a “sunset” late into the evening but not quite midnight.
Can I spot some cloning work going on to subdue glare and lens flare? I don’t see why a filter would actually be needed on the lens but it’s quite possible there’s some false white-balancing in post. There’s also some softening in post and likely some selective anti-noise work.
The lens was a short telephoto, maybe 105mm on a D800e.
That is incredible!
Thanks, I’m a sleuth!
Your portfolio beautifully reflects your mastery of movement and light.
Spencer, your portfolio also includes this image…and its location ;-)
Your PhotographyLife intro page also shows some basic exif info for one photo which is accredited to a D800e. Probably the same camera (and possibly lens too) as you are pictured with in your portfolio’s “about” page? ;-)
Is this a single photograph?
I want to say its a single photo. The thin halo around the mountain suggests a feathered selection on the sky to pull it down and balance it with the foreground. The foreground might have been boosted with a fill-light effect to bring it up to level.
There is also a lot of reworking in the water and ground to the right of the pony. Perhaps to correct for the fact that the the pony moved its head slightly, and a second shot provided the material to correct the pony, or there was something else there (perhaps a second pony?) or to improve the reflection of the mountain in the water. The barbed wire also appears to be missing just to the right of the pony. And the fence wire in front of the pony has been edited too, but I can’t think why.
What “unusual” post-processing did I do for this image?
The mountain appears to have been de-saturated or burned as its missing a lot of colour, save for a bit of brown and green in two spots where you might not have covered it with the burn brush. Perhaps to help lessen a colour cast from a filter
Did I use any filters while I was in the field?
Perhaps a gentle ND soft grad to pull down the sky and sun.
Which settings did I use for the photo? In particular, what was my exposure compensation (using matrix metering)?
Aperture priority f11-16, ISO 3200 – 4000 (ish) with a +2 compensation to expose for the softly light foreground.
I’m probably way off the mark…but keen to hear the real story behind the image! :-)
@Rob: Well, that answers it – the photo was taken from Google Street View, sharpened in post, and the horse was shopped there :D
(Seriously, I’m very curious, I hope the solution is posted soon :) )
Single exposure, taken with Sony A7 series camera. Aperture narrow-ish, f11 on full frame, to get a bit of a sun star. Iso 100. Shutter speed high, 1/500s-ish, to expose properly for the sky near the sun. Lightened shadows dramatically in Lightroom,, which showed the magenda cast in the wire and in the post on the left, that was hidden in the underexposed parts of the picture. Applied lots of clarity.
Of course u said that u applied a technique u don’t often use, so u probably did something else entirely.
Who cares how it was shot, it wasn’t shot with a D500… :-)
25 comments on this picture in 3 days but >300 on the D500 in less than a day – we are all a bunch of gear heads :-)
Oh, and I have no clue but the result is very nice.
Nice game, Nazim
Here is my try:
1. Yes, it is one shot
2. A kind of shadow recovery
3. ND gradient filter for sky
1) Neither the horse nor the fencepoles form any shadow: the picture is composed from two shots.
2) The color of the barbwire and the grid of the fence is changed in front of the horse and to a large extend over the grass, but not not the part over the water. Seems like you have used some PS brush for this – or made a mask from the grid. When looking very close some artefacts can be seen parallel to the wires of the grid in front of the horse.
3) No ideas
4) As the sun covers about 1/50 of the horisont size of the picture, the angle size of the picture is about 25 deg, thus the focal length is 85 – 100 mm (FX). Visible small waves – Shutter speed 1/125
A very good depth of field for the focal length: f11
5) I guess the picture is from Iceland. According to the color of the grass , it cannot be summer, but late fall to early spring. I have only been in the southwestern part of Iceland, which this landscape looks like. Thus it has to be sunset ;-).
I love the picture – and the task
Last question first – sunrise or sunset? Both! If this is a Fjord Horse, it was probably shot in Norway or Iceland. Since there is not much snow/ice I’m going to guess this is in June, summer solstice.
I think it is a single photo with a ND filter on the left side of the image to balance the sun and highlights on the left side with the shade on the right side. (The vertical shadow line in the water to the right of the horse makes me think this.)
With the good depth of field and detail I would say f11 or f16. Water is not too blurred so shutter speed was around 1/125 or faster. Exposure compensation maybe 1-2 stops to retain the appearance of sunrise/sunset.
Some increase in shadow brightness in post.
Beautiful photo! Love your work and your writing!
It is a sunrise. Two pictures joined together. Hard to tell what post processing was done.
Neutral density filter was used.
1. Single photo
2. Enhanced light on horse during pp
4. 8/125, -2
I’ll also say that the photo was not taken in Iceland. Fjord is not really fjord-like in the distance. Wooden fence posts do not exist in Iceland as there are virtually no trees…nor is there barb wire…nor have I seen the sea blocked off with a fence. The grass does not appear native to Iceland. Mountain is black ash, like Iceland, but the constant wind in Iceland would have made the side of the mountain more craggy. Horse’s tail is correct for Iceland, but the coat is not and the wind is the only thing making him look bushy around the head. So where was the photo taken?…never been there but I’ll guess New Zealand
What others said about frost = sunrise. Looks like Scotland, perhaps Skye, except for the evil barbed wire fence. (It’s not only keeping the horse away from the grass, it’s keeping the human away from the coast.) No true Scotsman would erect such a fence!
But the horse’s hindquarters are receiving direct, tho’ muted, sunlight while his front is not. Furthermore, backlighting is glaring through the hair on the horse’s front legs but not his back (except for a small part of the tail). Plus the glare is blown-out in the yellow/red zone. Plus the glare appears on the evil fence at the hindquarters but not the front; it’s being blocked by the horse’s shadow.
Taken together: the horse is casting a shadow on the fence. The sun is directly behind the horse and casting yellow/red light. So it’s all one photograph.
What else? (1) Focus is from the fence to infinity, but the grass in front of the fence is unfocused. Barrel focusing with a smallish apeture. (2) The sky would be easy to crop and adjust separately.
Great picture btw. The fence strengthens it, giving a feeling of confinement in a wide open space.
Single shot, shadow levels lifted
I suspect a flash used to lighten the subject, fence posts, wire etc.