<<< o >>>rolling in 28 comments + add yours

I nearly gave up on this one, and if you take a look at the original image, you might see why:


It's moderately interesting, but the tonal range was such that I was struggling to bring out the details in the waves, especially in the highlight areas. Anyway, after several hours and half a dozen different versions I gave up and went for a single exposure HDR instead. This is where you use one original RAW file (rather than several differently exposed originals) and use Photomatix to generate a 32bit file that you then tone-map.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I'm pleased with this version. The only thing I'm not sure about is the white object on the horizon: either it adds interest, or it's a distraction – I can't decide which.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
11.35am on 13/12/07
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
aperture priority
Photomatix Pro
a bit more than minor
3x2 + HDR + fylde coast [scenic]
comment by m at 09:34 PM (GMT) on 14 December, 2007

A big improvement on the original

comment by Craig @ id7.co.uk at 09:37 PM (GMT) on 14 December, 2007

I'm not allowed to swear am I...... the shot is great, love the depth, and texture, and the fact I can taste the salt from here................the little bug is great, love it....... does he have a name.

Got the book today!, love the Clans signatures...... thanks again all...... csj

comment by Ramsey at 09:45 PM (GMT) on 14 December, 2007

After looking at the original....wow! Talk about making a silk purse out of a sows ear...you did it. Great job.

comment by SheyMouse at 10:23 PM (GMT) on 14 December, 2007

I'm not entirely sure about this one. I think it is better than the original. I think that the water in the bottom left looks too mercuric and therefore artificial compared with the other part of the wave.
I personally like the small whit sail/lighthouse/thing on the horizon. It is a detail that fires up the imagination. If only it was to the right more, you could have explored keeping it and losing the wave on the bottom left.


comment by Oli at 10:45 PM (GMT) on 14 December, 2007

This is the reason I have revisited my own photo archive, to dig out the photos that I didn't think I could do anything with.

It's also (one of) the reason(s) I signed up for your Photoshop tutorials!

I like the "mercurial" appearance of the wave - the breaking water captures my attention at first, but it's only at second glance that I notice the water doesn't look quite normal.

I'm also in two minds about the white thing. I think it's more of a distraction than an interest though.

Well worth the time and effort! Now - back to my dull, lifeless pictures...

comment by jelb at 12:34 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Well done effect..Beautiful waves..Bravo!

comment by mooch at 12:38 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

I would say that it detracts somewhat as it isn't quite distinct enough. I love the minute detail to the waves though.

Um, the insect, what's that about? A little programming fun. I get a creeping feeling on my flesh with it...

comment by The Obvious at 01:13 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

This is perhaps one of my favorite shots in the last few weeks. The waves look like the milk commercials you see on TV :).

comment by Nuno Ferreira at 01:19 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

It was worth the hours spent on this one. You achieved a really dynamiccomposition and what a difference from the original shot. Glad you left the white object. It adds more interest to the photo and make the viewer look to the whole composition and not only to the waves.

comment by jesse at 02:02 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

as a surfer, i really love this image, although its not even a great wave, but you really captured the energy and the beauty of the wave well. job well done!

comment by Furanku at 02:59 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

If one considers that the wave on the left is the major subject of this photo (my opinion), then the "lighthouse" is a distraction.

comment by Kevin at 03:01 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Wow great processing! Well worth the effort.

comment by Robert at 03:40 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Interesting action where the backwash meets the lip. Now that I've seen the lighthouse/sail/buoy thing, the picture would seem to missing something without it.

comment by Stephanie at 04:21 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Definately fantastic and an improvement from the original! My vote is that the white object adds interest. Love it!

comment by Rose at 09:06 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Nice shot, but I think the little white thingy is distracting indeed :-) It should be removed, or it should be bigger, zo it really is a thing you can 'see'... :-) Nice processing, really makes a difference.

comment by thomas mueller at 10:26 AM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

nice one.i like the sharpness and the details of the wave!

comment by ao tomato at 04:00 PM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

wow! the spray and the shell-like inner wave are fantastic. I think it's only the hump of the wave in the bottom l-hand corner which could have been knocked back a bit. It's a little bit too glossy (like chrome) and draws your attention off the break point instead of along the line of the wave.

comment by Saito at 04:28 PM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Cool. Love the colouring. the drops frozen in time look really cool contrasted with such a dark sea. a close up or cropped shot of just the wave would remind me of a Japanese painting.

comment by Tom K. at 04:57 PM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

It's a gorgeous photograph that exudes a feeling of calming power.

comment by Jylan Wynne at 07:41 PM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Terrific, love how you've frozen the waves in place like that. All the fine droplets of water everywhere look great too.

comment by djn1 at 09:59 PM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

Thanks everyone, and I agree - there's something not quite right about the wave in the bottom-left of the shot. I think ‘ao tomato’ was probably right; i.e. it should have been knocked back a bit.

Craig: no, it doesn't have a name, I don't want to get too attached to it ;-)

comment by Alex at 10:52 PM (GMT) on 15 December, 2007

That processing works a treat. Thanks for sharing the original :)

comment by Alice at 07:09 PM (GMT) on 16 December, 2007

Wow, nice processing on this one. I would've given up too. You did a fantastic job. As for the white object in the distance, I can't decide about it either - in one way I like the way it draws my eye to the horizon, but on the other hand I find it slightly distracting. But not enough to ruin the shot. Great work as always.

comment by N.Gifford at 10:20 PM (GMT) on 16 December, 2007

Awesome - love your work.

comment by One Way at 05:08 PM (GMT) on 19 December, 2007

Superb frozen action

comment by Matthew K. Hartman at 09:10 AM (GMT) on 23 December, 2007

Beautiful shot, David... Personally, I like the white object on the horizon - adds some character and wonder to the composition. I really enjoy how the inner wave component in the left-center makes it look like a timed exposure, yet the sea-spray makes it appear as a shot at 1/800 shutter, when it was, in fact, at 1/400. Amazing!

comment by sknop at 08:38 PM (GMT) on 4 January, 2008

Alchemy in a way, making something valuable out of the ordinary. I like the image for it's interesting looks, but I feel it doesn't carry much meaning, except for the mood (which is the "makups" merit).

comment by reza khalili at 03:34 PM (GMT) on 16 February, 2008

i'm creazy for this shot.