Listen for the sound of the surf


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Nov 25, 2018
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Houston, Tx
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Nikon D500, Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 @70mm, ISO 100, f/8, 1/1600 sec. Moderate overcast brings a bit of drama to the image, but there was enough light for the silhouette and to get the surf to sparkle. When I see this image, I can hear the powerful surf, but feel the serenity of fishing. What story do you see and what mood is set for you? All comments welcome.

Fishing the Gulf 2000x1333.jpg
I grew up fishing and this takes me back to my days of standing in the water casting plugs and jigs for striped bass and bluefish.

I think the silhouette works against the overcast sky reaching down to the water.

What I have trouble with is the sparkles. They seem blown out. The detail and transition to sparkle is lost. If you look at topmost left wave you can see the wave and then just all this white stuff around it. If they weren't blown out in the original image I would try and tone them down a bit.

Aside from that I can see where you were going with it.
Moderate overcast brings a bit of drama to the image, but there was enough light for the silhouette and to get the surf to sparkle

One person's sparkle is another's blown specular highlights. In the old days I would have pulled out one of the star filters and capitalized on this. As presented unfortunately I'm just seeing distraction. The problem with an exposure that exceeds pure white (255,255,255) is there's no way to know for sure how much above 18% gray you lost. As noted above so much of the "power" of the waves is lost by the lack of details in the transitions of the shot.

Beach scenes in general are difficult because of the DR, throw in an overcast day and it becomes exponentially harder. Camera meters are easily fooled, because they don't see color, they see shades of gray, from total black 0,0,0 to pure white 255,255,255. They record reflected light and attempt to adjust the exposure to where 18% gray is properly exposed. Even on a good day you'll have a certain amount of haze, which fools the sensor as to where that neutral gray point is, then you have excessive light being reflected off the highlights (sand, waves) creating more false readings. Throw in the limitations of DR and you have a situation camera meters where not designed to handle. The same happens when you try to shoot snow shots. In these cases experience comes in to make manual exposure settings, or learn how EV compensation can be your best friend. Depending on the angle of the sun, Polarizers can help with the dynamic range, as can bracketing you shots. Sometimes it might be better to underexpose and bring up post. Again, experience and practice is the key.

In this shot I see the fisherman silhouette as the focal point of the composition, all the space to the left is visual distraction. IMO this would have been a better composition, and better at telling the story if he had been the focal point.

Bear in mind that all "opinion comments" are just my opinions, everyone has them, and no one opinion is better than another. Thanks for taking the time to post in the C&C.
Nice shot. Next time I'd wait for him to turn into the picture rather than looking out of the picture. Even his rod is pointing the view out of the picture. That's pulls the viewer's eyes out of the frame rather than into it. The viewer barely notices the rest of the left side. It becomes unneeded.
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Thanks PJM, Smoke665, and Alan for your comments. They are much appreciated.
I think I would like to see the fisherman much bigger or much smaller.
I'll start of by saying I think... I think the man fishing should be in focus with the camera lens. Uhm I don't like things in 3's. But the government seems to love 3's. Right. So I want the man in focus and the waves in focus. The poles out of focus would add to the mood. I like the highlights, it goes well with the acid jazz i'm listening to now.

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