Drifting and Dreaming

Image Description

An early February morning in northeast Florida. I was entranced by the endless cadence of rolling waves and sea foam drifting into shore. So easy to get lost in dreaming.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I’ve tried with this image to create a mood that resonates with others. Trying to avoid the cliché, yet drawn to the early morning surf, I hope it’s something more than just another pretty picture of an ocean sunrise.

Technical Details

Nikon Z7, 50mm f/1.4 AIS, ISO 200, f/?, 1/20 sec


Steve, I think you accomplished your goal of a resonating mood. The warm sky reflecting in the water is fantastic. I like that you got this just as the sun was almost below the horizon. Nice.

The bottom wave/foam kinda bothers me though and it blocks my eyes from traveling through the rest of the scene…I downloaded and did a minor crop. Hope you don’t mind:

I feel like this is more open and inviting…just my two cents…


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Hmm I think I agree with @David_Bostock on this. At first, I liked the foam at the bottom and my biggest issue was the huge amount of “dead” space at lower right but I think this crop addressed it nicely.

I think the crop is a good idea. I’m also wishing the ss had been a little faster, to give sharper detail in the FG. But I love the color and mood! The tiny tip of the sun is a very nice touch.

I gotta say Steve, that I love your image as presented! Even when I first saw this before the comments I wanted to say how different this is from any other ocean/wave/sunset image I’ve seen. Perhaps one of the most creative. Ocean sunsets are a dime a dozen, right? like shots of the Milky Way, sun-stars, etc. etc. Sunsets are beautiful, often spectacular and there is much that can be captured at the ocean shore that is often very beautiful too.

Can’t really explain it, but the action of the foreground little waves of foam have created something I can’t say I’ve seen before and that gives this image a huge leg up, if I can use the term. Those rolled little waves of foam - kinda remind me of those floating tubes that they use to contain oil spills? (sorry, the name escapes me) but the shutter speed has really allowed those little waves to take on something again, quite unique that I can’t say I’ve seen before.

I’m gonna take it a step further. Did you read the recent article posted here on NPN, “Peripheral Landscape” by Murray Livingston? I haven’t finished reading, but in his closing comments he writes:

I read that and immediately thought of your image AND that out of focus foreground wave. Now it makes sense to me as to why this is so unique. That little wave up front is just a connection to what is outside the frame - the periphery.

I dunno. Maybe I’m reaching… but I just find this very, very cool and unique.


ps. IMHO, the cropped image works beautifully. At the same time though, it returns the image to a much more ordinary seascape.

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I’m with @Lon_Overacker on this one - I love that slightly OOF foreground wave. Along with the next set of waves it acts to frame that foreground area of brightness and subtle color. It also adds a dreamy aspect to the scene. And that teeny bit of sun peeping up - perfect. I wouldn’t change anything.

I really liked David’s crop as I found the bottom of the image distracting from an otherwise successful image. Good job!

I’m really curious what aspects of the image fit your intent to avoid the cliche? Were you referring to the wave at the bottom, or other aspects (water motion/shutter speed, hint of sun, etc?)

It’s interesting to see the split in the comments above. My take is that wave at the bottom feels cut off. Personal preference, but I’d either like a little more or @David_Bostock’s crop.

Thank you, @David_Bostock, @Matt_Payne , @Diane_Miller, @Lon_Overacker, @Bonnie_Lampley, @Don_Jacobson, and @John_Williams for weighing in on my image and providing the helpful comments! I like the comments and suggestions about cropping the foam from the bottom, which frankly didn’t occur to me, or not for long, during post-processing. I liked the foam along the bottom to help frame and draw attention to the crisscrossing foam in the foreground and create a more unusual, dreamy feel, which Lon and Bonnie alluded to. I wasn’t as concerned about it being OOF because everything was moving, you can tell it’s foam, and I liked the overall feel. Also, I wanted the bottom half of the image to be the main focus, not the horizon and sky, which to me made it less of a cliche sunrise scene. But I also like the cropped version too…hmmm! Thanks!

Thanks so much @Lon_Overacker for your comments about my image, connecting with it, and sharing the article about peripheral landscapes. An enjoyable read for sure and one I can also relate to.