Incoming Storm

Critique Style Requested: Standard

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


I captured this image along the Northern California coast. The weather was gray with a heavy overcast sky. I wanted a dark foreboding look and the hope that the lighthouse would carry oceans traffic to safety.

Specific Feedback

Curious if the image temperature works or if it is a touch too warm on shore. I was hoping to highlight that the storm is approaching and wanted to draw the contrast between the incoming storm and and the relative peace on shore.

Technical Details

I used a 10-stop filter to slow the shutter. 10-second exposure, f16 at 28mm, ISO400.

If this was your intention then I think you accomplished that very well! The reason I say that is because of the colour temperature and luminosity in the image. You have the dark, cooler side on the right in the treacherous stormy sea and the brighter , warm light around the lighthouse as if to show or symbolize a savior or a guardian. I also think that if this image is more about the relationship of the lighthouse and the sea then anything else, that having a bit less of this rather visually heavy foreground in the scene might have been better.

This looks like Pigeon Point if I’m not mistaken. The image is dominated by strong horizontal lines and then there are the verticals at the gap. I would make this a panorama and crop a good deal off the bottom. That way the lighthouse facing the sea story becomes stronger.

Paul, welcome to NPN. I am with @Igor_Doncov on cropping the foreground. I’d crop it a the top of those vertical pieces of kelp or whatever they are. With the crop, the foreground is less prominent, so the lighthouse and sea stand out more as the subject. Keep posting.

Thanks Tom, agree with the comment about removing some of the foreground to highlight the lighthouse and ocean.

Hi Igor, good eye, yes, this is Pigeon Point. Agree that a pano would improve the image.

Larry, thanks for the edit, agree that makes for a better image. I may go back and reshoot in the near future. While I like the crop, I find the rock in the lower left corner to be a bit distracting.


I really like this as presented - although it’s a strong argument for the crop, which I think is a strong alternative. In fact, I think they both work.

I’ve been there a few times, but must say I’ve never considered or seen this viewpoint. I think this showcases the lighthouse - and the Hostel buildings nicely. And the darkness of the clouds off shore really bring that feeling and atmosphere that a storm is coming!

Hope you don’t mind, but I went with the pano crop as well, but I also wanted to emphasize the incoming storm. So I simply selectively burned down the right, and dodged around the lighthouse to increase the contrast of light to dark. Then I painted in some contrast on the bluff and buildings as well as some general dehazing in ACR. I know the salt spray at atmosphere are true to your rendering, so I’m hoping my edit doesn’t take away from the mood you’re portraying. Anyway, just some minor tweaks, but I think you have a terrific seascape from Pigeon Pt.

Hi Lon, love your edit of the image, thanks so much for taking the time to do that! Really like the addition of the subtle burning and dodging. I’d only been to Pigeon Point a couple times before and always photographed from the southern end. This time I went to the north end and really liked the views from that side. The hostels provide a nice base for the lighthouse. Another advantage…so much easier beach access on the northern end!

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