by Roly Anderson
TECHNICAL: JPG image provided. Exposure good: no clipped highlights or shadows. Good raw materials for post-processing.
Composition is traditional and literal—the kind of composition that many photographers would make. It's unremarkable. Including so much is good for the record but probably doesn't really capture what you felt at the time of beholding the scene. Am I right? ;-)
CRITIQUE: Sorry if my opening remarks seem dismissive, Roly. But I think I'm close to the mark. You and I were the only ones at The Backwash on that morning after the workshop. I remember you saying something like "Look at that light. It's like the dawn of the earth."
When I look at your image, there's really nothing to criticise. It ticks the traditional camera club style boxes. But it's not memorable. It doesn't say to me "The photographer has captured a seascape with exquisite light evocative of the dawn of the earth".
Your comment on that morning tells me that you are a person who can tune into the feeling of a place and time. Wonderful. At the time of capture, consider how you might be able to make that come through in the finished image. Imagine what a shot you'd have if you'd zoomed in to give more presence to the wave and the light from the sun filtering through it (B).
In processing your image, Roly, I've tried to bring out something more than a literal record of what we experienced during that sunrise. Here's how I went about it...
INTERPRETATION by Rob in Lightroom: Captured with a focal length of 30mm on an APS sensor, the image has 'normal' perspective—neither wide-angle or telephoto. The light on the horizon below dark grey clouds is compelling and you've captured the detonation of a wave in a strong position. I could have cut emphatically to the chase with a zoomed in crop (A) but decided that would be throwing away too many pixels. Perhaps it would have been better if you'd zoomed in to have more of the action to play with?
I've tried to improve the image, and create a better allusion to the dawn of time, by taking a vertical format crop and retaining some of the interest of the foreground rocks. I've also tried to make more of the implied curve (C) in the arrangement of sun, wave and rocks.
Added two +positive exposure, orange-tinted, radial gradients (about 0.5 stops each), with their axes tilted to follow the curve (C). Added a heavy vignette. The result allows some of the light from the sunrise to be carried into the foreground. ®