Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Struggling with this image

Hi everyone,

I took this picture yesterday and I'm really struggling with it.
When I took it I thought the light rays were amazing, I took several other shots but i never got the correct angle again before the light faded.

Now that it comes to editing i cannot find the correct "look" for it.

I warmed it up a little and playing around with contrast and saturation. But nothing really amazes me as much as seeing it on the back of the camera. On top of that i feel like its not properly sharp? Maybe that because it was taken at f/10 on my 35mm 1.8?

I would really appreciate your feedback or suggestions on this image. Even if you tell me that it is in fact nothing more than a cool snapshot.


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Anonymous's picture

Maybe a bit of dehaze? In the past I used DxO Optics which had such excellent tool.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

I use an old Lightroom 6 which doesn't have dehaze yet unfortunately

Anonymous's picture

Max, here is a tool for LR6.
I dont know if the results will be as with DxO, but those presets are free.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Cool thank you, i'll be sure to test these out

David Wo's picture

I think there are still free copies of nik collection out there and maybe the pro contrast could be used to a similar effect.

Shawn Mahan's picture

Try bringing the exposure down. Like the rays of light too, and often have my camera pointed at the sun. Being just a hobby photographer, I end up with a lot of over exposed pictures when I am into the sun.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

I usually end up with massivly underexposed images :D This one i blew out the top right highlights on purpose to catch the feel of the sunlight coming in. But i'll try to play around with the exposure a bit more.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Thanks for your feedback.
I agree with you. The more I look the image the more I feel like it's lacking something and only lives by the sunrays. I'm also disturbed by the houses on the left.

One Problem on location was, that i was sitting on a hunters perch and couldn't move around.

I will try to re-visit soon and see if i can work out a better composition and get lucky with the light again.

Ethan Davis's picture

Hi just reading the comments, you should be able to clone the building out quite easily using the trees on the right, if not, raise the tree below it? Might help, I think it's easier to do than tell you how to clone it out sorry! Overall beautiful image, but again i think dehaze would definitely bring it out more. Still It looks really good. Maybe next time, bring a tablet than you can link to your camera to see it on the big screen? Will definitely help with composition etc.

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

The only software i really have is Lightroom and i couldn't clone them out with the spot removal tool :(

Mark Guinn's picture

Beautiful capture of the light rays and tree! IMO, if you want the light rays to stand out more, take the exposure down just a touch and try dehaze. If nothing else, darken the blacks/shadows just a little to bring down the bright background.

Keep playing around with it... I think this image is a keeper!

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Thank you everyone for your replies
I tweak the image a bit more based on your input.

Might be a bit dark now, but i'll keep working on it.

Edit: The preview is way too dark, if you click on it it's not like that.

Shyama Prasad Mishra's picture


Before each edit I ask the below questions to myself:

1) What I want the viewers to see in my photo?
2) Is there anything that may distract the viewer from focusing on main subject?

Identifying the main subject is relatively easy for a well composed shot. However there are situations when we want to guide the viewer through a frame. Editing choices in such scenario become even more important in my view.

For example:
I love the light rays in your photo and I would want the viewer to be guided to the middle of frame, following light.

I feel, the sky and rest of the frame do not add much to the composition. So my effort would be to keep the viewer away from it.

One of the ways of doing this would be, converting the frame to a B/W image with good contrast between shadow, mid tones and highlights.

Care must be taken not to blow out the highlights.
I would also add selective darkening to bias the focus towards middle of the frame.

If you need some ideas for conversion, please check NIK Silver Efex plugin (It's Free).

They come with predefined presets, which can be further modified to match your artistic expression.

Malcolm Cartledge's picture

Apologies that I started this reply a few days ago, but only just picked it up again...

As Shyama says, the sky is too distracting - bright areas at the edge of the frame generally tend to lead your viewer out of the picture, and always distract them. However, I'd keep the colour because the rays are the most colourful element in this image.

So, I'd crop the top of the image off to remove ALL the sky, and then also from the left so that the rays emirate from the top edge adjacent to the corner. Personally I would then increase the contrast and darken the darks using curves - although not so much in the tree in the foreground....

The result should be somewhere around this–

Maximilian Sulzer's picture

Thank you for input Malcom. I'll have to pick up the image again when i have time for editing and will keep that in mind. I actually quite like your suggestion .