Could You Edit an Image From Start to Finish While Holding Your Breath?

Sometimes, an image comes out of camera so close to perfect that it hardly needs any work. In this video, landscape photographer Thomas Heaton shows how little effort some images require while also reflecting on how much he still needs to learn.

Shooting in Iceland recently, Heaton created an eight-minute exposure using a 10-stop filter and taking advantage of good conditions, excellent light, and one incredible piece of coastline. The results are striking and the amount of editing required was truly minimal.

What’s fascinating is that despite his ability to create amazing results in-camera, Heaton is aware that his post-production skills are severely lacking; he knows that having a better understanding of Photoshop would create more opportunities for him and the potential to come away from a shoot with strong images in spite of poor lighting conditions.

Heaton’s realization has come about as a result of spending time with other photographers and seeing their work. He has now resolved to spend some time learning, perhaps buying a few online tutorials, and investing in a better monitor. “We should always strive to learn more,” he explains, and with the wealth of information at our fingertips, there really is no excuse. SOOC — straight out of camera — is always the dream, but if that’s not possible, do you abandon a shot completely or try to capture something that you know is going to offer you possibilities through some technical wizardry in Photoshop?

Personally, I know this is one area that I need to improve. I too have absolutely no idea about luminosity masking, and a few months ago, I bookmarked a tutorial on radial filters that, with winter is closing in, I plan to explore fully.

With the days getting shorter, what are your plans for improving your photographic knowledge? Comments below, please.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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FAO fstoppers team.. might not be a bad idea to send him a link to ptw4 and just ask for a review video in return. He has enough of a following that you might get a few sales out of it.

edit til drop challenge.. brilliant way to cut down heavy editors number :) noice!

I could try, but based on what gets the highest ratings and featured by the editors on this site, it wouldn't be well received by this particular community. But regardless, while I tend to prefer his more reserved editing style, there's nothing wrong with editing a photo for several hours vs several seconds, one isn't inherently better than the other. Also, I love how he failed his own challenge, and then just continued to do it anyway... Thomas is indeed a character, the photography community needs more people like him.

maybe the single most assinine post fstoppers has ever posted. a new low

Did you really need to go into PS to use the patch tool on the image you were holding your breath on? Could you have just used the heal tool in LR to do the same thing? Have you actually tried it on that image and compared the results?