On the Rocks with a Splash of Salt

Stellar Sea Lions hauled up on the rocks on the East side of Glacier Island, Prince William Sound near Valdez, Alaska. The ocean swells were crashing on the rocks and made for some nice dynamics. This was shot hand held from the side rail of a tour boat. This is a re-post but I got a variety of critiques on the shot and thought it would be interesting to hear what Julie has to say about it.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

One of the critiques I got on my original post was that I should crop out the bull sea lion on the left. I could do that and still have the big wave but I personally like his presence in the scene & thought he was balanced by the large wave on the right. I could always have two images, one with and one without though so I would like to hear Julie’s opinion.

Technical Details

Sony a6500, FE100400GM @ 400mm (600mm w/crop factor), ISO-200, f/5.6, 1/1600, hand held from the deck of a bouncing tour boat.

Hey Gary,

Thanks for posting. I like that you like to get different views on your images and see what resonates.

A great moment of these SSL getting a salt bath with some great waves. The story here is the relationship to these animals and the big waves crashing. I am missing the end of the curl of that wave on the right. Did you crop it out? If so, I would bring it back.

The bull on the left is his own image in my mind. He pulls my eye across the frame but is not in relationship to the wave.

I would also suggest getting out of these super low ISO settings and give yourself more shutter speed. Especially on a boat. It had to have been rolling being that close to shore with waves breaking like that.

My rule of thumb on a boat is nothing less than 3200 of a second. Why? because everything is moving, your camera lens and focus point are going up and down with the boat and those SSL could fly off of that rock so fast and you would get another action shot out of it. In addition, I want any water spray or splashes tack sharp.

Your image is sharp and I think you could have pulled even more drama out of the wave with more shutter speed.

Hope that is helpful,