Long Exposure Playing Field (Cuba)

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I took this photo during my trip to Cuba. Cayo Coco is a popular and very busy place in Cuba. The early mornings were the only time when I could have the place for myself walking with the tripod and DSLR freely. The rest of the day I only used my compact Lumix LX7.

Cuba. Cayo Coco
Location: 22.544, -78.428


It was early morning, the sun was still behind the horizon and it was still pretty dark. Normally, I shoot using aperture around F8 and F11 but in this case, I had to set it to F5.6 in order to get shutter speed below 30sec. I used a tripod to pull such a long exposure.

The main challenge was the lack of space on the small pier from where I was shooting. I could not move around to come up with an interesting composition. My goal was to make the net and the left side of the sky, illuminated by the sun, the main elements of the composition. Ideally, I would love to step back and move to the right but that was not the option because taking long exposure shots while swimming would be extremely challenging.

When I took a bunch of shots while the sun was rising, I could clearly see that orange cloud and the net was too far apart but that was the best I could do.


The processing itself was very straight forward. I used Rapid Lightroom Preset-Based Editing (read my tutorial here), applying Natural preset from Landscape Collection and adjusting the exposure (image was underexposed) with the ToolKit.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (2, 9, 30, 34)
To learn more about editing formula check my tutorial here.

The real challenge started when I decided to improve the composition by moving the net a couple of inches to the left in Photoshop. I tried the easy solution first but the Content-Aware Move Tool created a complete mess and I had to use transparency masks with the Brush Tool to manual blend the net to a new location.

I believe that by moving the net closed to the center I manage to improve the composition.

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Processing: Lightroom Preset Based Workflow

Lightroom: import, tagging, cropping, preset based processing (Naturaal preset from Landscape Collection)
Photoshop: contrast, color correction, cleaning with the help of the Stamp Tool. I moved the net to the left by using transparency masks and the Brush Tool.

Photoshop Plugins: 

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