The Story Behind the Photo

“Don’t put up with rubbish” and “Don’t put rubbish up” are the two lessons Cuc Chong learnt from this Lakes Entrance image.

In preparation for the landscape competition in May this year, I set out to take some landscape images. We arrived in Bairnsdale in the late afternoon and a local told us that Ninety Mile Beach is great for sunrise and sunset, so we decided that we would head there early the next morning.

When we arrived at the Ninety Mile Beach, I was disappointed as the scene was filled with endless sand and water, there wasn’t anything interesting. I decided to climb up the sand dune and the scenery wasn’t much better. I remembered Pete Davies said “make the extraordinary out of the ordinary” at the end of the beginners course, so I decided to apply that insight.

I set my camera on the tripod as low as possible, using gradual neutral density 0.6 to balance the light between the sky and the foreground. I was too excited about capturing the emerging light and that I didn’t see the rubbish that lay within the shot.

During the competition judging night, I was hammered left, right and centre about how a good image was ruined by the rubbish within. Hence lesson 101 ‘Don’t put up with rubbish’.


I could have removed the rubbish during post production, but at that stage my editing skill in Photoshop or Lightroom was limited and I couldn’t rescue the image from its fallen grace. I should have been more patient and waited until my editing skills were good enough to remove the rubbish. The image has been published without correction and it’s irreversible, hence lesson 102 ‘Don’t put rubbish up’.

Editor’s Note: Irrespective of the “rubbish” in the foreground, the WCC selection panel for the Eastern Interclub 2013 competition entered Cuc’s photo in the EDI section where it was awarded a merit. Well done Cuc, not only did you learn two valuable lessons but also a merit in an inter club competition against very good competition. Thanks for sharing your experience.