Sandstone Cyclops W/Suggested edits


“eye” toned way down but not removed

Making the “Eye” more prominent in the scene

After a couple of long weeks at work I decided to take a quick drive to San Diego last weekend just to shoot some abstracts in the sandstone around the La Jolla cliffs and was fortunate to come away with a few keepers. Because I was actually looking for this kind of abstract image I was able to focus more intently on small, intimate stuff like this shot, otherwise I never would have seen any of the shots that I took. It’s a good lesson for me. I know there is almost always stuff to shoot but I have to be open to what’s available to me or I miss things that are right under my feet. This scene is probably not more than a couple of feet across and what caught my eye was the unique orange blue color combination but even more than that, it was the eye in the rock, looking almost like the eye of a whale, looking up at me. Combine that with the butterfly like wing formation, do you see it, and I knew I had to shoot it. This is a photo stack of 8 images for depth of field.

Specific Feedback Requested

I know the eye is breaking the rule of thirds but I had no choice but to compose it this way as there were distracting elements outside the field of view here. Does this work for you?

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
8 image photo stack for depth of field
Nikon Z711, ISO 100, 34.5mm, 1/40 second @ f/10


Excellent abstract study in shapes, textures and colors. The warm/cool colors look great. Rules like the thirds are merely generalities and often don’t apply, like here. Very well seen and executed. Looks really good.

Sometimes we’re lucky and things just come into view, other times we have to “root” them out. This was a truly nice find here, David. The title fits the scene perfectly too… :cowboy_hat_face:

Beautiful abstract David.

Very nice abstract. You have great color contrast and balance between the large yellow and blue shapes that makes a strong composition. Well done. I see a bit of a blue elephant.

I am loving this beach abstract, David! Everything works beautifully together here from the color palette to the lines in the rock and that eye is amazing. My first impression was also that of the eye of a whale. As far as this working; you bet it does! Funny how the eye and the mind work; sometimes it seems as though compositions are everywhere and at other times it seems as though the well went dry. Any; fantastic image.

Love this intimate. The contrast in color and texture between the two section is what makes. Each is beautiful in it’s own way and the warm hues entering the blues work s well because it unites them somehow. Personally, I feel that the eye is so strong that it draws too much attention to it. I think this would be stronger without it. Conversely I think an image of the eye more prominently would have been a great image as well. I think lifting the darks in the eye might make it less obvious. I don’t know which half I like more but I think it’s the warm upper half. The texture is phenomenal. You just want to rub it.

Before I even read any of the comments, I said to myself this looks like a blue elephant up against an orange wall. The “eye” and the "trunk " are awesome.

This is a very compelling abstract image David. The perception of an elephant really engages me as a viewer because it gets my imagination going. But then looking beyond just this initial perception, I like it for the organized complexity of the various shapes and colors. I like the bands of rust in the upper two corners, contrasting against the yellow center. I like the lighter and darker tones of blue below. This complexity adds some richness and sophistication to the image for me.

It’s funny, but I see the eye as more or less following the rule of thirds (maybe it’s fourths, but its off-center which is the point ). The other strong rule of thirds element here is that the “horizon” between blue and orange exits both the left and right edges about 1/3 of the way up or down. I like the symmetry of that.

@Harley_Goldman , @Paul_Breitkreuz , @Mario_Cornacchione , @bryannelsonca , @Ed_Lowe , @Igor_Doncov , @Ed_McGuirk , Thank you for your thoughts on this image. I’m glad that the framing of the eye is not bothering anyone and that the rule of thirds is maybe meant to be broken occasionally. As Igor stated, the eye is drawing a lot of attention, maybe almost too much dominating the scene. I think I will play with this a little bit to see if downplaying the eye and not making so attention grabbing, might make this better. I’ll post a revision tonight. Also, Igor, that red sandstone is actually algae and it’s a slippery as slippery gets. Walk on it and you’re almost guaranteed to fall. I found this out.
Paul, I was there to “root” these out because if I don’t focus on the small stuff, I just don’t see it and it’s so hard not to get distracted by the scenery/seascapes and all of the other photographers in the area that were shooting traditional landscapes/seascapes as there are some beautiful rock formations along the shoreline.
Bryan and Ed M, I didn’t see the blue elephant until you pointed it out and now I can’t see anything else. :slight_smile: And Ed McGurk, thanks for convincing me that the framing is working.
Ed Lowe, I’m glad someone saw the whale eye besides me. I agree with how the eye and the mind work. Sometimes you see compositions everywhere and you’re literally tripping over them and other times you can’t find anything to save your life.

I really, really like this! I love the textures in the stone and the awesome colours. It’s funny I didn’t see an elephant at first but rather a humpback whale but now I can’t not see the elephant. :slight_smile:

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I like the rework. Don’t know what others think.

Since you’ve shown a recent interest in close up intimates I thought I would link you to a former NPN member’s work that I have recently rediscovered - Dan Baumbach. I came across these images of scattered leaves that are fascinating. By using tonal emphasis and colors he creates moving abstracts where the actual subject matter has almost no interest. They’re like modern art. There’s much to be learned from his work in my opinion.

PS. I went to college at UCSD during the Stone Age so I’m well familiar with these rocks.

Put me down for the rework with the eye prominent. Looks really excellent.

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Thanks for this information Igor. Incredibly interesting collections. They are indeed like modern art.

Another excellent abstract for much the same reasons as all of your best work - colour palette and texture. Of the three options you’ve posted I prefer #1 and #3. I think “the eye” needs to be strong to give my eye a place to start and finish. Beautiful.

Great abstract with complementary colours. Interesting lines and structures in the blue part, while the red part serves as a background. Intriguing because it looks like the opposite of a landscape in which the lower part would contain earth coloured structures with a blue sky above. The whales eye is a nice point to start exploring the image. My order of preference is 1, 3, 2.

David, great image. It looks like a squid head to me. This should be framed. Good job, pal

Thanks @Patrick_OHealy . Hope you guys are having fun in Hawaii. See you when you get back.

We are doing great. Learning how to relax.

Patrick G. O’Healy, SIORO’Healy Commercial Real Estate Services
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Very much like the abstract quality of this and the contrasting colors. I think the eye is so prominent that the viewer can’t actually have the joy of discovering it. It seems a bit obvious at this point. Somewhere between this and the original would be my preference.

That’s great input Tony. I like the original but removing the eye completely is too much so I may try and do something in between as you suggest.