Cathedral Cove (Photo of the Day August 9 2013)

by Zhang Yan

cathedral cove photo of the day august seeking critique zhang yan

Gallery: New Zealand Landscape 2013

Tags: seeking critique

Category: Landscape

Published: Sunday 26th of May 2013 09:34:15 AM


Claudiu Draghia


Zsolt Andras Szabo


i agree fully with your statement about real or not real, i am in the same league with you. however, in this case, in my opinion, it is too obvious that it is made from 2 different images, and the fact that the reflection is much brighter than the source gives an unpleasant effect, and it is not necessary for the final impact. i think the whole picture would look even better if you layered a little bit in the foreground reflection from the darker image, and/or lighten up a bit the sky. it would be a great improvement in many viewer's eye.

Eduardo Agustin Carrasco


Jatinder S. Keith

Your efforts to reach this place to catch this light is very well rewarded. This image conveys the serene feel of the place and the early morning. The stars add an icing to this image. Well composed and executed.

Stephen Penland

It certainly appears to have been a blended image.

The success of processing is measured by many by the extent to which it stands out in the finished photograph. If the work that was done on a computer stands out and is so obvious, that is considered by many (including me) to be a shortcoming of the work.


One of the best attributes of excellent processing is that it can't be seen, and it can't be seen because it so closely mimics natural conditions that would be seen by the eye.


I think we're inclined to forgive less than optimal processing if the scene and/or light is relative dynamic or eye-catching. In Yan's photograph, the variation in light, with some reflecting off the wall of the arch and the foreground and with additional light on the horizon with interesting clouds, is quite appealing and a reason perhaps to overlook other aspects that we might consider to be shortcomings.


BTW, I too thought that a reflection is always at least a bit darker than the source. However, I've recently seen a couple of examples in my own photography in which this was not the case. I now think there are some special circumstances that will allow a reflection to be lighter than the source, and I no longer can assume that a lighter reflection is a result of inadequate processing. I'd want to ask Yan if he indeed did blend the foreground that had been made lighter (or the sky darker) by his processing or if, instead, this is an accurate rendition of what he saw.


In saying all of this, I know that not everyone will agree with my criterion of transparency as an attribute of successful processing. Other viewers may look for other aspects to pass judgement on the processing.

Yan Zhang
Hi everyone, thanks very much for your comments on this photo. Let me explain how I made this image briefly (a full detailed tutorial will be written and published in my photography blog soon): (1) this image was a result of blending of two shots, one was made in the time of per-dawn, that captured some stars in the sky, where everything else was almost completely in the dark; one was made in the time about 30-40 minutes before sun came out of horizon; (2) the water reflection and light shading on the rock walls were captured in one single shot. Noted that in this later shot, couple of stars were still visible, but not impressive. So I decided using the previous shot. Both shots were taken at the same position with any change. People have asked me how the rock became shining while the sun wasn't above horizon? Well, if you have been in a similar situation, you should notice that quite often, rocks would start to shine even if no sunlight directly shades on them. They were just illuminated that usually not been seen by our naked eyes, but my D800E +14-24mm f/2,8 captured that clearly. I also need to stress that the foreground water reflection was not blend separately, it was just there in the 2nd shot, and I didn't change its light in the process. Thanks again for your interest in this image. Cheers, Yan

Gregory Leeming

Excellent composite image. Very well composed and processed.

Zsolt Andras Szabo

excellent composition and light, an outstanding image in every way. i don't wanna seek for mistakes, but my eyes can not pass the fact that the reflection down in the wet sand is way more highlighted and have different color than the sky, like it is obviously from a daytime photo ( or blue hour). in practice, the reflection is always darker than the original sky. i would definitely correct that portion, from the same photo from which the sky is resulting. but the image is very good, even so you can have my vote.

Yan Zhang

Dear Zsolt Andras Szabo,

Thanks for your comments about the bright foreground issue. I will make some revisions on this. Cheers, Yan

William Browning

A stunning landscape that really draws you into the scene through your excellent composition. The lighting is spot on. Very well seen and executed to produce a shot that I shall add to my favourites. Best wishes William.

Jim Obee
good colour composition-a very nice work

Yan Zhang


"This is a nice picture, but except for the location, it has no basis in reality for me. It's a creation, not a photograph."


It seemed that you misunderstood what I said and what I responded to your comments. To put this way, I view my works are fine art landscape photography, including this image, that you disagreed. Then please take a look at Marc Adamus works - many of them are illustrate such landscapes beyond the view from your eyes, so you also think they are not photographs?!


In terms of the stars whether they are visible from your naked eyes during the pre-dawn time, just go to the wild places to find out. Here is my another image that shows the Milky Way during the pre-dawn time:





Joscelyn Sylvester

The result is stunning and I will rate it 6. Of course this is not reality to get that kind of light under the rock and get those stars at the same time unless they were taken at different times and then several images blended. 

Wayne Sadler

Beautifully lighted and composed.  I assume the stars were an after thought well executed.  Great work, Yan.

Lester A. Garcia

Marvelous landscape!

Per Madsen

Hi Yan,

This is a magnificent picture. Composition is perfect, colors are stunning and the stars add an extra dimension. You can be very proud of this picture.

Best regards Per.

Ken Thalheimer

It certainly appears to have been a blended image. I really don't care. The end result is stunning. I particularly like the surf line and the "Slow" water. I also like the fact that although blended, it's not overdone

Raymond Borg

Beautiful landscape. Great composition and lighting. A very nice place to be there. Congrats.

Charles Miller

Lovely image. Nice use of light and shadow to create interest. Good dynamic line and depth. Well captured reflection. Well seen and well executed.

Alain Deppen

Superb! Well worth a 7.



Robert Bolton

A stunning image. Wonderful light and composition

Stephen Penland

I want to add that the conditions I think might produce the light seen in the reflection is when the source (the standing rock in the background) is shaded (most likely by a cloud on the horizon to the right) while the reflection area is not shaded and is receiving some direct sunlight.  That could possibly make this a single exposure rather than a blended image, but I think only Yan Zhang will know for sure.

Yan Zhang
The above comment is quite common for those who seek "real" landscapes which are obviously not a kind of art in most cases. Ansel Adams in the old time and Marc Adamus in current days, I admire their works and I view their works are truly landscape photography, but blending (or call dark room technique in old days) is the common technique in their works. In my this work, I can't see the difference between my blending two images and the traditional multiple exposures.

Giuseppe di Pietrantonio

Great composition!Compliments!

Marius Romila

A beautiful piece of art, Yan!! Warm regards!

Dominick Marino

So beautiful!  

thom polimeros

that's a great shot Yan and nice post work as well

hanan singer

Superb work!

Regards! Hanan

Manuel Gonzalez

Extraordinaria imagen. best regards

Gary Groves

I've read some of the negative stuff above, ignore them this image is stunning.

Yan Zhang
Cathedral Cove This Cathedral Cove is located in Hahei coast, about 2 hours drive from Auckland towards south east direction. Arriving in this place before 4.30am, I looked into the beautiful sky through this natural window. Thanks for viewing this image.

Prince Igor
Photowebsite prime real estate w/o technical info -- Huge problem!

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