Making Lemonade Out of Lemons


RAW file

Further edit after suggestions from @Igor_Doncov

Yet another edit following suggestions from @Eric_Bennett

Critique Style Requested: In-depth

The photographer has shared comprehensive information about their intent and creative vision for this image. Please examine the details and offer feedback on how they can most effectively realize their vision.

Self Critique

This was shot on an overcast afternoon on a beach on the southern Oregon coast. In the absence of color, I was going for texture, shape, and composition. I wish the sky had a little bit of definition, but it’s just not there in the RAW file. I don’t do B&W very much, so I’m not very expert on any toning.

Creative direction

See above. I was trying to convey the mood of any overcast day on the Oregon coast.

Specific Feedback

All feedback appreciated

Technical Details

Nikon Z7ii, Nikkor 24-120mm @33mm, 1 sec, f/11, ISO 100. I was using a 4 stop ND filter. Processed in ACR and PS. I used a B&W adjustment layer in PS for the monochrome conversion.


Months ago, I planned a group trip to Brookings for May, as that is usually one of the best months to visit. However, an unseasonal heat wave inland upset the best laid plans, as we had the marine layer hugging the coast for the entire time. So we found this little beach within the city limits, and I had some fun playing with longish exposures in B&W.

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You have some nice leading lines that makes the viewer feel as though he’s right there in the surf. So there is a good sense of immediacy in this image. I also like your processing for the most part. I feel that the bottom feels too crowded after the cropping and prefer the space you provided in the original. If the crop was intended to remove the small protruding rocks than I would have done that with fill content-aware.

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Thanks @Igor_Doncov! I went back and did a different crop per your suggestion. Also worked on the tonality a little more. I added this version to the original post.

Great leading lines. The image has wonderful depth. I agree with @Igor_Doncov about leaving space below the foreground rocks. I prefer the luminosity of your top image.

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I played around with it real quick in PS. You have a lot of room to raise the white point still, it felt a little dull and dingy before. You can also add some contrast to the foreground to accentuate the receding tide lines a bit more. Darken the sky some more because, why not? Add a vignette to darken edges and pull the eye in the center more in the direction everything is moving in.

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Thanks Eric! Excellent suggestions!


Love this! Excellent depiction of the conditions by utilizing the monochrome treatment. I think you did very well in the processing - although I must admit, Eric’s rendition certainly elevates this to the next level.

I too think the leading lines of the withdrawing surf, patterns in sand are wonderful. The arrangement of the rock and surf… just all ties together beautifully.

You’ve captured a wonderful seascape and certainly the mood of the day. Excellent! No other suggestions other than to follow Eric’s lead.


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I feel you did very well. Love all the lines and texture in the shot, and the fact that b/c the sky was bland, you minimized it nicely. You did well making lemonade out of lemons. Sometimes, that is the best we can do. Well done.

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@Lon_Overacker @Judi_Hastings Thank you both for your kind comments!

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