Moody morning on Oahu

I was recently in Oahu to work for a week, and of course turned it into a photo trip every moment I could :rofl: This was one of the more dramatic skies I had in the morning and really liked how these offshore islands popped in the early light against the intense skies. I liked the energy of the water in the foreground and the addition of the growth on the rocks added some nice color contrast. This was the second image I made that morning and while I think both could be keepers, it took me a while to get this processed in a way that captured the moment. I think I am reasonably happy with how this turned out, but would value any feedback or thoughts from everyone here.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Thoughts on color, light, processing are welcome

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Does your eye flow naturally through this, or are the islands a bit to distracting on the horizon? Is this too busy?

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Nice shot Art! I hope to get to Hawaii for photos someday. Or maybe just to escape winter! :slight_smile:

I think you did a very nice job composing this image. My eye seems to flow nicely between the foreground and the background. The islands are not distracting at all. In fact, if they weren’t there I might find the composition i bit boring.

Your processing is very good as well. If I was to nitpick though, I might think that the white water in the center of the image is a bit bright and distracts from the rest of the image. You could consider burning that area a little bit using luminosity masks just to even it out a little more with the rest of the image.

Alternatively, you could also dodge the white water in the extreme foreground to make it more even with the water in the center. Then I think the center would be less distracting.

Not too busy at all. Each element compliments the overall composition. Well composed and technically perfect for my taste.

Art, I think this works well. It’s not too busy, and I like the islands keep the horizon from being static.

The bright lights in the while water could be brought down a little bit, but I do not find the too bright as presented.

It could be just me, but the horizon looks to be very slightly tilted clockwise.

The overall color balance looks good, and your processing looks great.

Beautifully done. I love the overall blues, cyans, and greens. Great sky. The star shaped water provides a great composition in the foreground. A fine image. The luminosity of the brown on the lava rocks has been nicely raise and perhaps can be raised a tad more to increase texture. The contrast on the large island could also be increased a tad. But these are minor adjustments. Overall it’s a solid image.

This is a beauty, Art. The composition is excellent, with nicely placed elements. Processing looks good to me - maybe lower the brightness of the whites in the water just a tad bit.


To all your questions… this looks great! Beautiful seascape. Near/far comp excellent, color/processing top notch as well.

Hard to be critical and no nitpicks!

Wish I was there.


Thanks so much for the feedback everyone.

@Luke_Collins - It’s definitely worth the effort to get there, with or without the camera :slight_smile: I was certainly lucky to have a work trip there this time! I went back and forth on the intensity of the whites so I am glad you mentioned that. I’ve played with the balance a bit and will likely revisit it again with your suggestions in mind regarding the midground whites. Good eye!

@Patricia_Brundage - I am glad it works for you Patricia and appreciate you sharing your thoughts

@Preston_Birdwell - Thanks Preston. The white levels in the surf were something I had a tough time settling on and will likely revisit. Thank you for mentioning it. The horizon looked that way to me during the final crops but I think it is the angle of the islands that gives that impression. The shape of the islands and the angular section of warm light on the right make it appear that way I believe, but I will certainly recheck again!

@Igor_Doncov - Thank you for your thoughts Igor. The blue tones of the scene were the main attraction for me, but I did selectively dodge the brown/orange plantlife a bit on the rocks to give it some color contrast. I’m glad you found that effective. The level of that was also a tough thing to settle on and I may revisit the opacity of that layer again as well. I did end up dialing the contrast back a touch on the islands as I thought it made the depth of the scene more cohesive compared to the higher levels of contrast you expect to see in the foreground. I will revisit it again though to see if a better balance can be found.

@Dave_Dillemuth - Appreciate it Dave! I do think I will look to lower that central brightness in the whites a touch so it doesn’t prevent your eye from moving through the scene. Thank you!

@Lon_Overacker - Thanks so much Lon! It was a beautiful morning for sure. I wish I was back there too!

Thanks again everyone

I really like the flow of the image Art! I love the effluent (outflow?) of the image beginning bottom right and feel that draws me deeply in to the scene. The flow from the right of the image is powerful, but to my eye supports rather than competes with the overall feel. I also really like the dominant islands in the background, especially with the brighter/large upper left completing my eye’s path which began in the lower right. My only “distraction” is color harmony…really like the orange/blue feel, but the cyan/aqua in the middle competes for attention from a color perspective. Not sure what the heck I’d do about it, but the overall color harmony of the image seems in conflict. Hope this helps!

Thanks very much for the detailed analysis @Jim_McGovern. I appreciate you walking me through your viewing experience :grinning: I do understand what you are referring to with the cyan/aqua transition and could see doing some small color balance adjustments to harmonize it further. Much appreciated!

Also, welcome to NPN! I hope to see you continue past your trial period :+1:

I have traveled a fair amount through the South Pacific islands and the color of the seas is very different than up north. That’s why I felt that these cyan color hues were natural for that part of the world.

I think this looks fine. The white water in the middle is the focal point, and it’s a nice launch pad to the rest of the image.

Thanks @Igor_Doncov. The colors certainly were natural to the scene and I appreciate your thoughts.

@Tony_Kuyper thank you Tony, I am glad you found the composition pleasing :+1: