After Ophelia

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This was the scene on a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay during the remnants of tropical storm Ophelia last September. I was struck by the contrast between the low, powerful looking clouds, and the tranquility of the water which had been so wild during the storm.

Specific Feedback

I wanted to capture the detail and intensity of the low clouds by increasing contrast, and at the same time darkened the water and trees to deemphasize those in comparison. Also I was trying to capture the feeling of awe I felt at the scene. Wondering to what extent this was successful?

Technical Details

Canon 5D iv, 100 mm, 1/1000 sec at f7.1, ISO 200. Processed in Lightroom Classic (darkened at top and bottom with linear gradient masks) and Nik Silver Efex.

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I think it worked, Michael. There is a definite distinction of contrast between the clouds and the treeline and water. When you are dealing with contrast in such images, halos can be an issue as is in your image (mainly visible at the top of the trees betweeen the two boats on the left. ). Other than that - thanks for sharing.

I’m not sure about awe, but those clouds sure convey a feeling of menace to me, Michael. @holgermischke mentioned the halos along the tree line already and that’s the only thing I would note as an issue and I don’t think it’s a serious one. I’m a bit surprised that none of the boats look like they took any damage.

Thanks Holger and Dennis. I wasn’t aware of that halo effect - how does one deal with that?

Awesome clouds, and a very tranquil harbor. Very effective in B&W.
PS: This is a huge image as posted, and took awhile to download. Plz remember to save the image for NPN with 2000 pixels max on the long side, and about 100 mb. An image quality of 6-7 or so will deliver this. Much easier to load, see, and appreciate this way!
Fine image!

Thanks Sandy, I’m glad you liked it! I’ll keep the image size for posting in mind.

Michael, the threating clouds stand out well, especially against the flat water. The halo along the tree line often shows up as you increase the Clarity slider. (If you look at the unprocessed raw file, you won’t see it.) I’m wishing for a bit less darkness in the trees, but that’s your choice, not mine.

Great suggestions, thanks Mark!