Picture of Durdle Door in shadow at sunset – new landscape photography image from an iconic Dorset location

 Durdle Door at sunset by Rick McEvoy Dorset Photographer
Durdle Door at sunset by Rick McEvoy Dorset Photographer

I wanted to produce a new picture of Durdle Door. As part of my new schedule I am going to produce and write about one new picture of Dorset a week. I decided to start with one of my favourites, Durdle Door. So I went back through my Lightroom Catalogue and found this image which I had forgotten about.

I took this image in 2008 on my Canon 5D Mark 1 with my Canon 24-105mm lens. I still use this lens on a daily basis now.

Digression of the day for today – buy the best lenses you can afford and look after them – I have been using this great Canon lens since 2007! Ok digression over.

I like browsing through my old images, as I find things that at the time I might not have done anything with, like this image.

I would like to think that since I took this image my eye has improved somewhat, along with my processing skills in Lightroom.

First question I ask myself is – what is the story in this picture?

  • Durdle Door in silhouette.
  • The colours of the sunset.
  • The calmness of the sea.
  • The shape of the coastline sweeping round.
  • The coastline in silhouette.
  • The calm feel of the image.
  • Sunset.
  • The sea.
  • Peace.
  • Quiet.

OK I will stop there.

And all of these things I need to bring out in my processing, which went like this.


First job. If I do any cropping it is at the beginning. OK I forgot – in the crop tool is the Angle tool, which straightens horizons, which I did first.

I did crop in a bit, putting the horizon on the 2/3rds horizontal line. I do not always follow the rule of thirds, but it does work, and in this image it worked so I used it.

White Balance

As I captured the image in RAW I can play with the White Balance presets in Lightroom. I went with cloudy, which gave the image a lovely orange glow. And a natural glow at that. The orange in the sea was like that.  And then I though, hmmm, it was more golden than that, so I went with Shade.

This is a natural colour change, and a warming pleasing one at that.

Spot removal

This is my next job. I try to do this in Lightroom, especially if I am not planning on processing the image further in Lightroom.

There were a few spots when I turned on Visualise Spots, but not too many so no need for Photoshop.

And now into the Basic Panel.

It should be called the Important Panel, not the basic panel!

This is where I do most of my adjustments. I won’t bore you with the numbers, but what I did was this;

  • Increased the exposure to lighten up the sky and the sea
  • I Increased the contrast to, increase the contrast!
  • I darkened both the shadows and the highlights.
  • I let Lightroom set the white and black point (shift and double click on each).
  • I boosted the Clarity and the Vibrance.

All of these adjustments were visual ones.

Digression point number 2 – I have just recalibrate my monitor so I know I am looking at correct colours.

Dodge and burn

My favourite tools in Lightroom. I needed to get rid of the remaining features in the rocks on the side of Durdle Door – I wanted them in complete shadow.

How do I do this in Lightroom?

  • Select the brush tool in the Basic Panel
  • Choose Burn, which is darken.
  • Turn off Auto Mask (for now)
  • Turn on Show Selected Mask Overlay
  • Paint over the dark bits I wanted to darken down to black, avoiding the edges. Once I had done the bulk of the area I turned on Auto Mask and painted in the edges.
  • Next I turned off the Mask Overlay, and reduced the exposure by 3.5 stops. A lot I know but as I am going to black it does not matter.

And that is the bulk of the editing done.

Finishing touches.


I increased the Detail Slider to 84, and masked it so the sharpening was applied to the outlines and the details in the sea only.

Last thing was to apply a vignette, then add the image to my collection of new Dorset Images so I could view it on my IPad.

All I needed to do was increase the brightness by half a stop, by sliding the exposure slider half a stop to the right.

And that is my brand new picture of Durdle Door.

Whats next on my blog? – You’ve guessed it – the black and white version will be appearing here on my blog.

Oh yes – I forgot – for completeness, these are the setting I used on my Canon 5D to capture this image.

1/45th second, F8, ISO 1000, focal length 24mm.

Rick McEvoy Photography Blog

Thursday 24th November 2016


Rick McEvoy

I am Rick McEvoy, an architectural and construction photographer living and working in the South of England. I create high quality architectural photography and construction photography imagery of the built environment for architects and commercial clients. I do not photograph weddings, families, small people or pets - anything that is alive, moves or might not do as I ask!! I am also the creator of the Photography Explained Podcast, available on all major podcast providers. I have a blog on my website where I write about my work and photography stuff. Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB

Recent Posts