Sea Sparks

I’d love to hear some feedback on processing - The image was taken while the sun was still a way from setting so the particularly high dynamic range in the scene required a pretty heavy handed processing. The image is comprised of four frames shot in quick succession and blended in PS to bring the sky back and to create interest and flow in the foreground water (I’ve included two unprocessed frames below). I also blended in the beautifully illuminated ‘sparks’ of water splashing up.

16mm ISO 100, f11, 1/3
16mm ISO 100, F11, 125


Man! I’d have to say this is an absolute wall-hanger, as is! I can’t get over the water “sparkles”.

Michael, great job of blending brackets for “wave action”, those sparks are fantastic. And the waves just below the rock on the right are pretty dynamic in their own right. I also love the color and and texture of the foreground rocks. Even though the wave action is very dynamic, I think this image is much stronger with the inclusion of the foreground rocks layer, it really anchors the scene.

On my monitor the top 1/3 of the image (sky and rocks, but not water) looks a little too bright to my eye. I think there is more detail that would be easily recoverable in the sky. The rocks at the top would benefit from more contrast in the shadows. Sort of related, I think the image would also benefit from adding a stronger vignette, it would help place more emphasis on all that great wave action. A few subtle tweaks like these would take a great image up another notch.

This one looks great and the processing spot on to my eye. Great job of blending the dynamic range and making it look completely natural. Excellent.


Fantastic job on the blend and processing. I can see where Ed is going with his suggestions, but I’d call it tweaks as this is pretty darn excellent as presented.

Love the wave action and “sparkles” and I like that there’s enough rock at the bottom to anchor the scene.

Beautifully captured!


I agree with @Lon_Overacker, Michael. This is very well done. I really like the lower contrast on the rock on the left, it adds to the bright sky in the BG.

Michael, I like what you’ve done with this. My only suggestion is I think you could darken the sky for a little drama. Just my humble opinion.

Fantastic image Michael, and great job on the blend! My favorite part are those splashing drops, and I’d lean towards making them stand out a bit.

Rough idea of what I mean:

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Wow, lots of feedback on this one, thanks everyone.

@Dave_Douglass thanks, yeah I also love the sparkles.
@Ed_McGuirk thanks for the feedback Ed, I agree that the top third could be darker, I had a good play with it but it came out a little unnatural looking pushing it any further
I probably could have waited another 5 mins for it to darken naturally.
@Harley_Goldman Thanks Harley, it’s always difficult managing the edges of the rocks in these high dynamic range blends, glad to know I pulled it off.
@Lon_Overacker Thanks, I had a bunch of other shots where the incoming waves completely covered the left side of the foreground rocks, I think this frame in particular was more effective because of the symmetry in the immediate foreground.
@Adhika_Lie, thanks mate.
@Bill_Leggett thanks for the feedback Bill
@John_Williams thanks for the feedback John, I’ve already pushed the contrast of the sparks a wee bit and don’t really want to push the image too far. I do agree that they are the stand out part of the image though!

Just plain nice. Love the choice of shutter speed and the real sense of rushing excitement it evokes.

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I love this image. The light on the rock is so evocative and plays well against the water flow, especially the foreground drops. I agree with the added emphasis on these in John’s modification.