Critique Style Requested: Initial Reaction

Please share your immediate response to the image before reading the photographer’s intent (obscured text below) or other comments. The photographer seeks a genuinely unbiased first impression.

Questions to guide your feedback

Aside from what it actually is, what else is it?

Other Information

Please leave your feedback before viewing the blurred information below, once you have replied, click to reveal the text and see if your assessment aligns with the photographer. Remember, this if for their benefit to learn what your unbiased reaction is.

Image Description

The shallow tide had warmed the water which felt so good on my feet. As I wondered about looking for shells I notice this floating ‘muck’ on the surface. Actually the debris was hard to see but it’s shadows were everywhere. it formed curves and tails that moved about with the water. The forms were changing so I tripod was not an option. After I got back they didn’t look as good as when they were moving. This one had a mystery about it that I liked.

Technical Details

Handheld due to the instability of the subject. SS 1/125 sec. Iso 2000.

Specific Feedback

Any and all reactions are of interest with this one.

I have no idea what happened here. If you click on it you get the right colors but the small version looks all wrong.

Igor, the thumbnail has a greenish tint to it and the luminance is dulled. After clicking on the larger version the colors appear to be fixed and the luminance looks great.
I think your title helped me to come to terms with this one. It certainly does look like natural wind, water and drought have combined to make for a layered composition that shows the forces of mother nature. The one dark section on the right hand side of the frame about 30% of the way down from the top pulls my eye so I would dodge that one little spot but I don’t see anything else that I can help you with on this image. The composition looks really well balanced to me, the colors look fantastic if you look at the large version only, and this really does show what extreme forces can do to the landscape.
Now, to go and see how you described this image in your minds eye. Holy cow. I never thought of this being along a shoreline. Looks like somewhere out the desert. Mystery for sure. Never saw this one coming. That was fun.

I noticed the same thing on a bird photo from someone…Dennis or maybe Allen. It was weird, but I assume that the larger version in this case is the “true” one. With the bird photo it was the opposite. Strange.

Anyway, my first thought was that of Escher and how transformative his images were in the sense that one object morphed into another. The darker bits of seaweed and detritus remind me of a flock of birds breaking for the sky and so the grounded reality of the sand gave way, like an Escher drawing.

Years ago my mom and I went to a larger Escher exhibit and it was amazing in a totally brain breaking kind of way.

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@David_Kingham. Was there a recent software update at NPN. My image has an embedded color profile so this shouldn’t be happening.

Hey Igor, be sure to convert to sRGB before uploading, you have it in ProPhoto and whether the profile is embedded or not, some browsers will have issues displaying images in ProPhoto, sRGB is the only way to ensure consistency on the web.

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Well, this is strange. When I convert to sRGB Photoshop show weird colors as a preview. But if I click on the exported file it looks right. I thought I went through all this before and got the weird looking colors earlier after the export. Anyway, I have not been converting to sRGB for years and have achieved the correct results at NPN with the embedded profile. In fact, even now the image looks correct without the conversion on my laptop. I’m pretty sure you have changed the manner in which you recreate the images recently.

That is odd, it makes me think there is something wrong with the file.

I don’t believe anything has changed, but I will check with the developers since it is a bit strange that thumbnail is incorrect but the full image is displaying correctly.

Hi Igor

Are the top left sand floating on water?

I really like this image, with the dynamic you’re bring in on. I love the contrast - the confrontation between those “forces”. That’s a very nice use of the shadows.

Looking at the thumbnail I thought it looked like an aerial shot of a desert. Opening it up, it became clear what it was. I’m probably not a good person to judge “what else it is” for something like this because I can figure out pretty quickly what the landscape is. It’s the edge of shallow water, correct? The algae atop the water is casting a shadow on the bottom. There is a bit of a visual oddity, though, because the shoreline between the ripples and the algae looks like it’s increasing in elevation. That water is so clear you can’t even tell it’s there.

(On the color issue, all the versions looked the same on my monitor - no difference between small and large.)

It has been fixed.

Wonderful image!! I also thought it was desert floor until I opened the large version. It did invite me to peer into it and I saw the water. Fascinating!

Different browsers treat colors differently. If you have been posting images in AdobeRGB or Pro Photo and embedding the profiles, they may look good to you in your browser and on your monitor, but you can’t count on other people seeing them the same way. If you want the most consistency across audiences, you need to convert to (not assign) sRGB. You will not see any significant difference in colors. Then you need to embed/tag the profile.