Hi Slobodan, you mentioned about a previous image I posted of 'Ord', that how you would like to see more of the wider scene, so here is a stitched pano shot from the other night showing you more of the area from left to right.
Ord is where I find myself going back to time and time again, it is nearby and easy for me to get to, but is definitely not an easy place to shoot successfully, yet every time I go back there it seems different and challenging in new ways...
Yes, that is the problem (and virtue) of landscape photography: never the same! I remember the vertical shot
of the same place you posted some time ago. That was a lovely dusk color, helped with the refection in the foreground.
This time, the sky is different, the foreground is different, and there is much more of both. The blessing and the curse, at the same time. We have more of the foreground and the middle ground, but both are of a less attractive nature. Perhaps you have to be local to really admire... dried seaweed and ankle-spraining rocks
. The foreground is too busy, and the middle ground too boring.
We have also more of the sky, but the sky is muted and devoid of either drama or lovely dusk color. But, we, photographers, got to work with the hand (of nature) we are dealt with. Enter post-processing.
A disclaimer here: anything I say are just musings of a fellow photographer, not meant to prove something or somebody right or wrong. These are obviously just my opinions, reflecting my taste, style and preferences. I do not claim the exclusivity on being right either, nor am I absolutely certain in my own stance all the time. I often wrestle with my own opinions, and I am perfectly happy to change it, should further observation, or someone's comments, warrant it. I am also attaching three images, containing certain pointers and diagrams, as well as the my own final version. For those concerned with the ethics of playing with someone else's photographs, I made sure I got Dave's blessing first.
So, without further ado, my thoughts.
As someone already mentioned, the foreground appears a bit too bright. I noticed that you posted a second, darker version, however, my comments are based on the first. My first impression of the whole image was that there is a hint of HDR in it. The shadows appear to be uniformly opened a bit too much, which also affected the sky, making it look a bit washed out. You have nice crepuscular rays, but they are somehow lost in that sky.
By opening the foreground so much, and uniformly so, you make every detail in it equally important (thus nothing really important), and competing for attention with the rest of the image. The major role of a foreground is to lead into the rest of the image, preferably toward the center of interest. You will see that I prefer partial and selective brightening instead.
There is another problem with the sky/water area: the reflections appear slanted (as you can see in the first attachment, the red arrows). I am not sure if that is the consequence of stitching or ultra-wide angle lens distortion, but I've never seen reflections that are not vertical (I might be wrong, of course).
Now, the other arrows in the first attachment, the blue and yellow ones: they indicate areas that should be treated differently in post. The blue arrows indicate areas that I think should be left in the shadow (vertical surfaces), and the yellow ones areas that should be dodged (lightened up -horizontal surfaces). The reason behind it?
The image has two sources of light in it: direct (sun) and indirect (sky). The sun is very low on the horizon, but still strong enough to cast direct light on the horizontal surfaces. Those surfaces are at the same time illuminated with the diffused light coming from the sky. Vertical surfaces, however, can only receive the indirect, diffuse lighting from the sky, but less so that the horizontal ones. In the attachment #2 you can see those areas where I used an adjustment brush in LR4 for dodging. Differentiating between surfaces by dodging/burning and different white balance helps create the (illusion of) 3D effect at the same time.
Things in the shade can not have the same contrast and white balance as the ones in the highlights. Shades are typically less contrasty and cooler. Hence I used a brush for dodging that had a slight warm cast. Sometimes the shadows require further cooling, but warming them up might work just as well (worth experimenting). I also reduced contrast and clarity in the shades.
If I went too far, it more because I wanted to illustrate the effect and because I worked on a small jpeg. Under normal circumstances, I would do the editing, leave it to rest, return to it a couple of days later, re-do, re-evaluate, etc., until I arrive to a reasonable final version.
The attachment #3 is my own interpretation.