Shark Fin

Yes I know, I said a while ago that I’m tired of very long exposures with silky water and black skies and all that (post: “Fare thee well, Milk Soup!“). But in my own defense, this is an older image, from September 2013 and our road trip up the California coast. 🙂

Dry Lagoon Beach
Shark Fin — at Dry Lagoon Beach, Humboldt Lagoons State Park, near Trinidad, California.

My editing process (using Lightroom) involves marking potentially good images as “picks” (white flag, P key), and then after processing them, letting them rest for a while, applying a rating to them. I mostly use ratings anywhere from three stars to five stars:

  • Three stars means: it’s a keeper, but not to be shown independently. Those are “complimentary” images that may be used to provide context in a blog post.
  • Four star images are keepers that I show by themselves and without context, and offer as prints.
  • Five star images are the best of the best, it’s a rating that I probably apply to often initially, and later reduce to four stars. 🙂 Most five stars images are compiled in the “Favorites” gallery on my portfolio site.

Needless to say, these ratings are purely subjective, and often of a personal nature. Every now and then I use filters in Lightroom to browse the images with the four and five star ratings, and revise them.

I rated the above image with four stars because it has it’s flaws: while the horizon line is straight, the shoreline is bent, which adds confusion (another way of looking at it would be to say it adds interest;-). But what bothers me more is the position of the three larger rocks/pebbles in the foreground. There’s one all the way to the right of the frame, and it’s just too far to the right. I tried to find an angle and point of view where this would work better, but it left the “shark fin” rock in an odd position. In the end, I compromised, and it’s not ideal.

Also, just when I had everything set up to make the photo, two beach combers looking for ocean agates walked past right in front of the camera, disturbing the evenly spread out pebbles with their footprints. I had to fix that in post with some patching and cloning.

I don’t know how many times something like this has happened to me. Is it possible to raise awareness among people walking at the beach to pass behind the camera and photographer, instead of in front of it? Especially with long exposure photography, it’s probably hard for a passerby to understand that the camera is active when the photographer is rather standing around idling…


You can buy a fine art print of this photo on Fine Art America/Pixels.com. (prints are not watermarked, of course.)

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