Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset by me Rick McEvoy, Dorset Photographer

Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset

Kimmeridge Bay at sunrise

Kimmeridge Bay at sunrise

Sunrise at Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, looking from the beach towards Clavell Tower. Taken one cold winters morning I got this great shot as the sun was rising over the hill to the left of the Clavell Tower. Taken on my Canon 5D at 9am one January morning,

I love this shot of such a special place - I can almost feel the sunrise and hear the waves when I look at this shot

Above is my re-edit, the final version of the image. In this post I am going to talk about image processing, and how I ended up with this great final image.

OK so to start, this is the RAW, straight out of camera, unedited shot.

Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, RAW, unedited image

The composition is good. I can see big potential here. I know am going to like this. I am trying to tell the story of the sunrise in the bay with the famous landmark Clavell Tower in the back ground. This is a very popular tourist location in a stunning part of Dorset. Quiet on a January morning but packed in the summer.

I have the tower, the sun, rocks in the foreground, water, depth, feeling, atmosphere. It just looks rubbish straight out of camera. No contrast, very flat, very blue, no sharpness, blown out highlights, not enough detail in the shadows.

But thats fine - that is how it is meant to be when you shoot in RAW.

RAW images are just that - there is no processing at all, it is the base, flat RAW image. Jpeg files have an amount of processing built in, meaning that they look better straight out of camera. But with a RAW file you get more base information that you can do more too.

I only ever shoot in RAW on my DSLR, and work 95% in Lightroom, 5% in Photoshop.

Technical stuff for this shot - Canon 5D, 17-40mm F4L Lens at 17mm, 1/500 second at F8, ISO400. Handheld.

Side issue - quite a common feature of my photographic work is that using my favourite 17-40mm lens I tend to shoot at 17mm. Which is why I need to buy the 14mm version, or more preferably the 11-24 zoom - rather pricey yet! When you shoot wide an extra mm makes a bigger difference than you might think. So I will always use my 17-40 before my 24-105 lens.

Anyway back to the RAW image. Dull, flat, no colour or atmosphere. So what do I do?

Crop first, to give me the composition I want. I always crop first (and to be honest I find myself cropping less and less these days as I appear to be getting the composition much better there days). This means I am working on the finished image area, not editing and spending time on bits of the photo I am going to crop out later, which sould be a waste of time! Oh yes and straighten the horizon, which I managed to get crooked.

Next - white balance. Get the base colours correct. I always start with the correct colours, if I want to vary from that I may, but I need that correct starting point. I do this in Lightroom using the dropper. I select a target neutral area, black, white or grey, and click on it. I am telling the software that this is a point with equal values of red, green and blue. And it really is that easy once you get your head around it!

Next I work through the Develop Module in Lightroom.

Basic panel.

Slider time. I work through the sliders using what I see on screen - this is a very visual process, the numbers are to me irrelevant - this is what they ended up being.

Exposure +.24.

Contrast +81

Highlights -17

Shadows +57

Whites +17

Blacks +19

Clarity +50

Vibrance +43

Then the HSL panel, where I boosted the saturation of the reds and oranges, then reduced the luminance of these colours. And darkened the blue a bit.

Detail panel - shaarpening - 75

After that a bit of good old fashioned dodging and burning.

And finally I took out the overexposed bit of sky in Photoshop, saving back to Lightroom.

Where I redcued the exposure by 1.91 to darken the image that on reflection was much too bright for the effect I wanted.

And that is how I produced this final edted image.

The photo below is the result of my original edit back when I took the shot. They are the same image, processed differently.

Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset, first edit

And this is the same image processed using a Lightroom plug-in by Topaz Labs. Not a great advert for their software to be great, but shows how you can extract out lots of detail if you want.

Kimmeridge Bay Topaz Labs edit

So there you have it. You can do pretty much anyhting you want with Lightroom and Photoshop, but you still need a great image to start with.

Thanks for reading this post - if you want to process this image yourself drop me a line and I will send you the RAW file - it would be interesting to see what other people come up with!

I am a Dorset Photographer. Check out my website at to find out lots more about me and my photography.

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