by Mark Townsend
TECHNICAL: JPG image provided. Exposure good. Some clipped highlights in foreground froth but not obtrusive. Manageable. Foreground is soft—focus is on the wave.
CONSIDER: Depth of field extends further beyond the point of focus than it does back toward the camera. By focusing on the largest rock, and stopping down to f11, you may have achieved better depth of field throughout the image (including the near rock and the breaking wave)...if that was what you wanted. Increase ISO if you want to maintain the 1/400th shutter speed to stop the action at the smaller aperture.
INTERPRETATION by Rob in Lightroom: Increased contrast of spray against background. Brightened mass of rock and applied clarity and sharpening to disguise the soft focus in that area and enhance texture.
CRITIQUE: You've captured a good moment, Mark. The power of the sea thundering to shore is enhanced by the the billowing spray set against a uniform sky. The wave is alive. I like the play of the mauve sky against the green water. The simple four-way palette works: mauve, white, sea green, dark brown.
The composition seems arbitrary in the full frame version. The group of rocks compete with the wave and there are too many rock shapes for my taste. In my opinion the crop strengthens the image. The smaller area of rock doesn't have fussy intersecting white shapes, provides context, and balances the wave form, the star of the image. The solid rock provides a foil for the pouncing wave.
CONSIDER: For me, a regular challenge when photographing at The Backwash is to minimise the intrusion of busy or unappealing rock shapes in compositions. ®