by Annette Brauer
TECHNICAL: JPG image supplied. Underexposed with histogram (A) biased to left, limiting the rendering of detail in the rocks. Composition, while not compelling in the full frame, offers cropping options. Sharp. Good timing!
CRITIQUE: Annette, you've captured a rampant lion of the sea. What an awesome wave, bristling with attitude, and in dramatic storm light to boot. Look out rocks! I love the maw (hole in the wave) and the fingers of foam (F) symbolic of claws.
You could have used the focal length in reserve (shot at 106mm on a zoom lens maxing out at 135mm) to zoom in that bit closer to make the most of the exquisite detail in the action. Nonetheless, the frame as is offers cropping options.
I like the 16:9 crop because it shows the rock victims and their dark shapes work OK. I like the square (1:1) crop because its symmetry—and the large expanse of negative, vignetted space—make it a symbolic graphic statement. I realise that the 1:1 version would be a bridge too far for some judges—the old centred-subject-and-too-much-empty-sky thing, you know!
I've chosen a 4:3 crop to interpret, mainly because it capitalises most on the lion metaphor.
INTERPRETATION by Rob in Lightroom: Globally boosted whites and highlights and darkened shadows and blacks. Without the rocks in the picture, the image can stand aggressive darkening. The global adjustments have stretched the histogram (B) to give better dynamic range and darken that wonderful brooding blue-grey backdrop. Added clarity.
Boosted saturation of yellows and greens using HSL sliders. This has increased the impression of illumination in the lion's maw.
Added a -1.6 stops graduated filter (with reduced clarity and sharpness) from the bottom up, and tilted it to mainly cover the bottom right corner at an angle matching the fold in the surging froth. This has enhanced the impression of a shaft of storm light on the wave.
Added a fairly aggressive vignette that I feel is in keeping with the character of the image. ®