Flight and Foam +Rework


Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


Capturing the essence of nature’s untamed spirit, this cormorant takes flight amidst a turbulent surge of foam and water. The precise moment when the cormorant launches itself into the air, leaving behind the chaotic energy of the crashing waves, highlights not just the beauty of nature, but also its raw, unpredictable power. This image celebrates the perfect synchrony of timing and adaptability—qualities that define survival in the natural world.

Specific Feedback

Any feedback welcome

Technical Details

500 mm at ISO 3200 and 1⁄3200sec at ƒ/9

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Saundie, you have captured “the moment” really well as the cormorant escapes the crashing wave. For me the head-on composition works really well with a great view of the beak and head. The light on the right wing also works well.
On my monitor the highlights could be brought down if possible particularly in the maelstrom of the foam.

Great timing on this image, Saundie. The crashing wave almost catching the cormorant is really cool, especially since I don’t think of these as fast to get off the ground. I agree with Ryan that the whites in the waves are looking blown, but that dynamic range is tough, so they might be blown in the raw file as well.

Outstanding image with impeccable timing and composition.

This is such a well timed shot Saundie. I love the cormorant bursting forth from the foam in this. It depicts the vitality of life and the struggle to survive. Good choice on SS and aperture to stop the action and get the detail, just a touch lower on the iso might have helped a bit.

Saundie: what an excellent capture of the moment! The head on photo gives a great view of the bird. My only suggestion would be to take down the whites as some areas appear blown.

Nice catch Saundie of a dynamic moment. Love the pose on the bird and the position of the bird . The crashing waves add a lot of interest but as noted are blown out. I’d suggest using highlight alerts (blinkies) to prevent overexposing with the idea of raising dark areas in post processing. Also agree on a lower ISO for shots is strong sunlight.

Every time I see this in my feed I think it’s a Whale tale!. I love all the activity in the image.

This image leaves so many impressions:
Whale’s tale
Fluffy clouds
Annoyance (I don’t know why but it feels like the bird is annoyed at the waves lol)

The high contrast shot is incredible… my only thoughts are with this much contrast would B&W suit it… for all the potential tonal range in the photo?


@Allen_Sparks @Dennis_Plank @David_Schoen @Ed_Williams @freddie @Richard_Sandor

Thank you for the valuable feedback! Unfortunately, for the most part, those highlighted areas are blown out. I have tried to remedy it, but the rework is about as good as it gets. I did manage to capture the image below, which might be slightly better. This shot was a bit spontaneous, and I just used whatever settings were already on the camera.

I’m currently working on a black and white version. Thanks, Freddie.

Saundie: here’s a link to a video that shows a method for salvaging blown highlights. It may not work in all situations, but I have used it with good success, Richard


Fix Landscape Highlight Blowouts with Selective Color in Photoshop


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I like the repost, Saundie. I don’t think we have the technology yet to put the detail back in the blown areas, but this is close enough.

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Hi Dennis, thanks. I really hope it never does. For me, that changes the structure of an image. A blowout is a blowout, and it’s something that makes the process of photography a challenge. The day we hit a button and everything is ‘fixed’, the joy in getting it right will be gone.

Thanks Richard, this is very much what I did in the rework but in Lightroom. I used the color grading to tint the highlights. Thanks for the link! :+1: