Slow Surf Exposure, Buxton Jetty

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

I have tried for several years to capture the contrast between an old, rusting jetty at the sea shore and the dreamy look of the surf captured with a long exposure.

Creative direction

I was trying to create a minimalist image. Processing this in black and white I tried to contrast the black, eroded and irregular metal jetty with the beauty of a silky smooth surf.

Specific Feedback

Conceptual feedback please. Was the exposure to long, thus eliminating any structure in the water? Did I achieve my intended visualizAtion?

Technical Details

Nikon D800E, 24-120mm lens at 86 mm, 1 second at f11, ISO 100


This jetty is slowly being eroded by the action of the sea. I have tried for several years capture an image which met my pre-visualized depiction. Finally on an over cast day with a gentle surf I felt this was my best opportunity.


I would say that you succeeded with what you were trying to achieve, Paul. The exposure looks fine to me as any detail would negate the dreamy mood you were striving for. I also like the B&W, but I would be curious to see what the color version looked like. Very nicely done!

Paul, this is nicely dreamy and minimalist with a good amount of softness in both the surf and and the clouds. You’re attention to both the sky and the ocean paid off well, with the gentle texture in the sky being a fine addition.

Your feedback is much appreciated

Thank you for your critique

Great shot Paul. I think that you accomplished what you set out to do. I think the angle of the jetty is really nice and the photo all balances very nicely.

I would say you accomplished your goal in a very convincing way. The B & W adds to the feeling. I do find myself wishing for just a little texture in the surf, but that would probably not be in keeping with your concept. Thanks for your vision.

Wonderful!! The water is dreamy-soft and the old pilings show their texture and detail very well. I love the way they fade out pointing to the other two structures, and the wonderfully flat horizon being repeated in the clouds is icing on the cake!

I appreciate your input. Paul Hetzel

You were correct bout my wanting to have the surf almost free of texture to contrast it with the corroded jetty.

Hi Paul, I really like the B&W treatment and the image. I think you accomplished an interesting minimalist scene for sure. I’ve been staring at it wondering if the cloud deck was missing would it feel less contained and mysterious. I keep blocking the clouds with my hand wondering if it was just the horizon.

Thank you. I will take a second look at it. Paul