Let Me Catch My Breath

Back down to Earth, and below the surface sort of. This small wall of urchins, anemones, and a few starfish is only about 2 feet tall at most and is usually beneath the surface of the water. But for a few days out of the year, when the moon is new and near perigee, a King Tide occurs dropping the low tide several feet below sea level revealing this visual cacophony. Almost as numerous as the stars in the sky, it was visually chaotic trying to figure out where to look and what to photograph. It was almost too much! You just had to stop and catch your breath.

Specific Feedback Requested

Does this composition work as a panoramic?
Are the colors realistic? It was photographed just after the sunset, with a clear horizon and a beautiful warm glow falling on the scene.
Does it seem oversharpened? Each frame was incredibly sharply focused and did not need much sharpening at all.

Technical Details

Photographed with a Nikon D850, Nikon 80-200mm f/4 manual focus lens, at 200mm f11 and 1 sec at ISO 400. This was made with 5 vertical frames stitched together in PS CS6. It is a huge file and the resulting print could be enormous!


Youssef, this works very nicely as a Pano. It gives a sense of wide nature. I love it. Something you don’t see very often. Wonderful.

Works great as a pano!
Colors are a bit punchy for me… maybe ease off a bit or lighten the scene up a tad.
It does seem oversharpened but kind of hard to tell if I’m being honest.
Overall, this has a TON of potential without much change!

Thanks Matt. I’ll pull back the vibrance. The image was already quite saturated to start with.

I like this pretty much as shown in this panorama mode. In fact, that’s a refreshingly different approach for an intimate that works very well due to the long horizontals where even the sea urchins seems to be arranged that way. It’s like a giant tapestry. Nature’s tapestry. It’s interesting in that the urchins are treated as purple circles rather than having their detail prominent in a closer image. It’s really an artistic depiction of the rocky intertidal and I like it for that very much.

One thing to note is that there seems to be a processing artifact at the bottom right edge of the frame. It’s a grey area where the purple sea urchins have no color. Something happened there.

Hi Igor,

do you mean that small area along the bottom edge near the right corner? That is a little pool of water with a reflection glare. I did not have a polarizer at the time on the lens, and so reflections off the still surface of the water was plaguing me all afternoon. I will see if I can do some thing about the small area. Thank you for pointing it out.


Awesome use of the panoramic! Love this display of the “little urchins” (sorry, can’t help it since I’m seeing the grandkids today…) :-). A kaleidoscope of colors as well.

One of my impressions, reactions was that this was upside down. Not that there is any correct orientation in a scene like this. But I think the large, more open area in the UL feels “heavy”, like it belongs to anchor the bottom of the scene. However, flipping this doesn’t resolve that feeling and doesn’t look any better. Minor observation anyway. At the same time, I’m liking that more open area which is giving the overall scene some breathing room from all those “little urchins.” :slight_smile:

Beautifully seen and captured.


Thanks Lon. Do you think it’s the brightness of the UL area that is cause of the disconnect? What if I burn the area down to match the brightness of what is around it? I’ll give it a try later today and repost.

You can certainly see what any burning might do. Just my thinking, but I think the luminance is just about right; sure it’s brighter in that area because the colors are brighter ie. yellow being brighter than purple, for eg. So I’m not sure buring would be an improvement - btw, I didn’t thank that area was a disconnect per se, only to the extent it feels upside down - but that’s just me.

This looks incredibly natural to my eye. It is well balanced which is something that’s hard to do with this much chaos going on and you’ve pulled it off. We have tide pools where we live and I can’t remember seeing such a huge number of creatures crammed so close together like this before. I might desaturate the yellows and oranges in the upper left portion of the frame where there is a section of wall with no urchins and it pulls my eye ever so slightly. It’s not a big deal since this is just about perfect but thought I’d share that with you. It does appear to be hyper sharp and maybe a little bit of dehaze could help with that but if it doesn’t bother you then I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s great to get pin sharp images right out of camera like this. I can see this image hanging in the Monterey Bay Aquarium just before you go into the tide pool area printed huge!

Hi Youssef. That works really great as a pano! I wish I could see it blown up. Very cool image and one of my favorites I’ve seen since becoming a member.

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