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As an adjunct to the Tangents blog, the intention with this forum is to answer any questions, and allow a diverse discussion of topics related photography. With that, see it as an open invitation to just climb in and start threads and to respond to any threads.

Reverse Engineering other Images

ErinCErinC Member
edited June 2014 in general photography
Neil posted not all that long ago about improving your photography by looking at the work of others and trying to reverse engineer how they did it: http://neilvn.com/tangents/photo-session-with-couple-in-bright-sunlight-camera-flash-settings/

I've been trying to do that using Flickr (because the EXIF data is usually so readily available to check one's answers) and hit one I'm unsure of:


My thoughts were:
1. very very slow SS (maybe 30 sec or so?),
2. a fairly high F stop (I'm thinking around 11- 16 given the DOF)
3. an average ISO,
4. and possibly an ND filter depending on what time of the day it was shot at.

What do others think? My guesses are likely wildly off as I rarely go below 1/100 or above F/5 so am really talking out of my hat with my suggestion.

And does anyone else wanna 'play' and post an image?


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    edited June 2014
    Yup ... the photographer used a neutral density filter to take the shutter speed into the 15 second range, or longer. Minutes even.

  • Kind of posty, as in a lot of post processing? Wouldn't the sky be blurrier with the kind of long shutter speeds you'd need for this creamy sea? Sky looks regular, so I'm wondering if sea is long SS or post or both.
  • ErinCErinC Member
    Hmm good point Skipperlange. The sky does look pretty crisp. If we were to rule out the overuse of the Gaussian blur filter could it be a composite? Or maybe a graduated ND ( though I wouldn't have expected that to fix slow ss blur)
  • no grad...it would be visible-the rock above the water would be darker (reverse or reg). I agree with Neil that he used a ND filter. It does not take long to get that water to look like that and the lack of cloud movement can be due to lack of wind but in this case it is the direction of the clouds. You get more impact if the clouds are moving above (towards or directly away) the camera...this will create that heavy cloud movement look....as long as they are moving fast enough that is.

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