Cold and stormy day at the beach + Rework

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Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


I was there as most of the photographers are to capture the wave action. On this day however I decided to concentrate on trying to capture not only the waves, but the entire scene. It was a cold rainy day and there was a storm approaching and I wanted this image to invoke that feeling.

Specific Feedback

I have debated leaving the foreground driftwood in the image. I have a version where they are in focus but felt that drew away from the central part of the image. Since they form a kind of framing causing the eye to move up the image to the wave and then lighthouse, I have left them as is.

Technical Details

Shot at f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, EV -0.33

Processed in Lightroom and Photoshop. Did some color correction and applied color grading.

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Peggy, great shot. Love the cloud and surf spray, especially the one below the light house.

Not so sure about those foreground trees/rocks. I’d try to remove the left one at least.

Peggy, you’ve captured the stormy feeling very well, with the cloudy sky and the nicely separate wave crashing locations. I find myself wishing the driftwood wasn’t there, but also wonder how having it in focus would look. Experiments like this are very good for developing your own “vision”.


Great timing. I thought that central splash was a cloud and it was confusing me. The out-of-focus lower left corner is a bit of a distraction.

Nice stormy feel this image. I’m in agreement that the OOF driftwood on the left is distracting. Maybe see what the Remove tool in PS can do with it? (I’ve been experimenting with it recently with some good results.) I also wondered how this would look in a B/W conversion, so I played with both really quickly. I was intrigued to see that a couple of the B/W filters picked up some unseen mist above the waves (not necessarily in a good way, though, so I used a different B/W setting).

Very dramatic waves and a good composition, but the FG elements are distracting. I really like what @Denise_Dethlefsen did with this! The color of the sky looks a bit artificial and the mask for it doesn’t meet the ground well. If you really want to go with this color, it would hardly show if the mask just overlapped the ground a bit. It does show when it stops short. But it was wondefrul to be there and capture this.

Thank you everyone I really appreciate the feedback. Thanks @Denise_Dethlefsen for the B/W conversion and I do like it. Diane the comment about the mask is one I will definitely take a look at correcting.

Marvelous work. It has all the important elements that evoke strong emotion. I don’t agree that the foreground rocks should be removed. I think they add to the drama and make the composition more interesting. However, I do agree with this criticism.

That splash looks suspended in the air like a cloud and is confusing.

When I posted the rework, the original does not show unless click on the link below the reworks.

I applied the comments to an earlier photo of this same wave. In the color version I reduced the driftwood so that it anchors the photo and provides a starting point to enhance the depth or layers in the photo. I also corrected the mask so that there wasn’t a distinct line between the sky and the cliffs.

I also created a B/W conversion and removed the driftwood altogether. Not much I can do about those who thought the one splash of wave looked like a cloud. There is a finger of land that protrudes there that causes that wave action.

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