Florida coast sunrise

Hi everyone,

As a new member here I figured I’d post an image I took this past weekend to get started. I am unsure if I really like the composition, so I wanted to throw it out to the group for some feedback. This is my local beach that I shoot often, but this is a slightly different interpretation from my typical approach to sunrise here.

I am trying to decide if I should continue with this one, or just keep it for the archives. I shoot here so often that it can be tough to take a step back and be impartial about them. I am thinking about cropping in slightly more from the left edge of the frame to help with the balance, as well as spend a bit more time dodging and burning, but wanted to post it as-is for feedback.

Any and all criticism or advice is welcome. No need to sugar coat anything :slight_smile:

Looking forward to being a part of this community!



Wow… That sure doesn’t look like the Florida Coast (Gulf side) that I struggle with. Frankly I love the comp and lighting. If I “changed” anything, I’d compare the same exposure at different shutter speeds. While I like the streaking in the foreground, my eye struggles with the blur in the breaking waves. Somehow it’s hard to distinguish the wave blur from DOF issues, even as the clouds on the horizon confirm that the DOF is just fine. Might be an impossible task to get the nice streaking in the foreground while freezing the waves, so I could well be barking up the wrong tree.

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I love this image, particularly the upper area, The luminosity in that wave is great. You can see right through it. And you caught it at the perfect moment, The sky and clouds have been handled well. And the rocky ledge slanting across the frame goes well as it’s parallel to the surf.

Below the ledge I start to lose interest. Maybe it’s my laptop but things start to look undefined down there. I would do a square crop that includes all of the top area,

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Thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback Hank. Anytime you are over on this side of the coast, let me know :-). I plan on heading to the gulf side to shoot again in late November, primarily the panhandle region. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

I agree with the softness in the breaking wave (primarily the central upper/left side that is a bit of a detraction). I often capture multiple frames of different speeds so I can blend the softness of the streaking in the lower left with a more static wave in the midground, but I will have to see if I have a more pleasing frame I could merge to clear up that center. It is always a challenge with blends for waves and rushing water to create a seamless image, but not impossible.

Thanks again for the analysis.

Igor, I really appreciate that. I rarely ever “see” in square crop when composing, but looking at this after considering your response, I think it could really work here. I would retain a touch of the green growth on the rock in the lower left corner, which I love as the water streamed over and added some vibrance and glow, but it would bring the focus up to the main structure. I was originally thinking about cropping in from the left to do that, but coming up from the bottom might really re-focus this scene. I doubt I would have thought to do that so thank you for that.

I will repost an update to this once I get further into it.

Great composition, diagonals, movement, and energy. Well done, Art! Perhaps just a little burning (darkening) across the bottom to hold the eye in the middle and upper parts of the frame?

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Thanks Michael! That is on the agenda for this one, along with a square crop as suggested by Igor.

I plan on spending time on it this evening now that I am more encouraged there is something here to warrant the effort.

Much appreciated!

This is fascinating. As both Hank and Igor noted, the blur of the water can affect your perception of focus, but I really like the depth and movement in this. I understand what Igor means when he says he loses interest on that lower part, but I am torn on that, because I love that blurred pool down there.
My first impression of this, looking at the small image, is really positive. That moving big wave out there, along with those distant clouds, is really cool.
I also REALLY appreciate the subtle colors in this. Super-saturated images that are not real get tiring quickly.
Also, I want to encourage you to be open to square crops. Many years ago, on the old NPN site, there was a photographer from Canada, Eric Fredine was his name I think, and he did almost exclusively square crops. He had absolutely the most fascinating natural abstracts I have ever seen, mostly of ice and snow. Just seeing his mages was a lesson in photography!!

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To show you how seldom I blend images, I hadn’t even considered that a possibility. But if it works for you, it would be powerful in this case.

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This is definitely a keeper, the waves look amazing! The composition keeps my interest and I find myself looking all over the image to figure it out (in a good way).

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Thanks so much Genny. I appreciate your in-depth look at this one. I am going back and forth on this one now and think the square crop might be the stronger rendition. Since you enjoyed the pool in the foreground, I would be curious to hear your impressions of the square version. I will upload it soon!

I also wish I had known and been a part of NPN back in the day. I seemed to be photographing in my own little world back then and didnt branch out on the internet to share my work or find a community. That is why I was so excited to see NPN come back. I really dislike the emphasis on surface viewing and all the other BS with the other social media sites, so its so hard to get into them as photography platforms. Happy this is making a comeback and I can be part of it this go around :slight_smile:

Thanks so much Brent. I am glad the composition works for your eye. I appreciate it!!

Here is a square crop with some slight dodging and burning to bring the attention up a bit and focused more on the diagonal lines of the midground/waves.

I think I am leaning towards the square instead of the original 4:5. Id love everyone’s thoughts!

I’m with you on the square. In fact, somehow the blurring in the wave doesn’t bother me at all in this format. Well seen!

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Looks good to me. I sometimes have an issue with comps that have lines that run off the side but think it’s ok here. Nice work.


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Welcome to NPN Art! What an outstanding first post! I’ll say right off my favorite part of this image is the wave line. It’s like you were posed there just out of danger, oils, canvas and brushes at hand - painting this scene. Of course it takes the larger view to appreciate.

But then, toss in some fascinating rock formations, moss, and the extra water action… oh, I’ve yet to mention the clouds - awesome.

This is wonderful as presented and yet some excellent feedback and I too really enjoy the square crop. I was even thinking more severe and cropping to a horizontal and eliminating the green. But that’s simply an alternate thought - and an extreme one to boot. As presented though, you have a very strong near/far composition and again, a wonderful image.

Only minor suggestion on your repost would be a slight burn as already suggested, I think Michael. But in addition to slightly burning, you could drop the green/yellow sat a few points, just to coincide with the burning which helps keep the focus up top.

But seriously, we’re splitting hairs on an outstanding capture and image. I think whatever you decide to do with this one will be a winner.


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Great image Art, and I see you’ve already significantly improved it based on the feedback here - the crop has helped focus the image very well. The top half of this one really sings to me with the shutter speed you have absolutely nailed as well as the pastel colours and soft light on the interesting cloud formations in the background. I’d like to see a little more emphasis on there the light falls and where it doesn’t and a little bit of customised vignetting to help guide the viewer’s eye to where you want it to go. Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

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I like this square crop! There is a really cool zip-zag of features that pulls me right into the image. For me, too, it puts more emphasis on that rock outcropping in the center, and how it is matched by the big waves out there.

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Thanks so much to everyone here for the thoughtful feedback on this one. It certainly shaped what I now believe is the final version of this one (for the near future at least :wink:)

Here is the final square version, with some revised dodging and burning which I think guides the eye in the most effective way possible for this composition, as well as some subtle vibrancy reductions to keep it grounded.

Looking forward to making a print of this one later tonight so I can live with it for a bit.

All of your feedback is very much appreciated!


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I really like the composition, but I am finding the bright green moss (?) is working like an eye magnet and holding my attention there. I might play with desaturating and/or burning that area to make attention flow better through the scene.

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