Friday image No.041

Rough Seas. Olympus EM5. See text for details of settings.

I did wonder whether to post this shot or not. If you look hard at the image you find it feels cluttered. It isn’t a great composition (because there wasn’t much to compose). It’s also a grab shot.

You see I shot this whilst spending ages fighting with the Nikon D800 on a tripod. I couldn’t get into position on very slippery seaweed covered rocks. In the end, in total frustration I fired off this shot with the Olympus EM5 which was over my shoulder.

You shouldn’t be able to handhold shots like this at sunset, but you can with the EM5. The base ISO is 200 (as used here). The lens is the superb Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 set at 12mm. The aperture was f/4.0 giving a shutter speed of 1/60″. And yes, it is sharp and has sufficient depth of field. Try that with a full frame camera.

I should also add that I used a 0.6 (2 stop) neutral density graduated filter on the sky. It was one of the Lee Seven 5 series which I am very impressed with.

Now as cluttered as the scene is, it also conveys the feeling of a stormy sea well. It also has some great light on the water. It’s this feeling of stormy light that comes across to me every time I look at the image. So whilst it may not be an accomplished photographic composition I think the image works well because it has emotion – at least for me.

Have a great weekend everyone.

10 thoughts on “Friday image No.041

  1. Not cluttered at all. Perfectly balanced in my opinion. Just goes to show we don’t need all that ‘pro’ gear to get a winner!

  2. Hi Robin,

    This image shows one problem that I have with the EM-1. I feel that it needs a longer exposure to smooth the FG a bit, and I can’t hold it steady for long enough to do it. Of course, this is my taste, not yours but I hit it a few times in NZ recently with waterfalls etc, I could settle for clunky water or try handheld with a low success rate. Maybe it’s just because I’m an old fart but it looks like you have the same issue.



    1. Hi Jeff,

      I know exactly what you are saying about the exposure times. I published this a couple of years ago on the same subject.

      A further interesting point though is that I was shooting long exposures with the Nikon as I was also thinking they would be more pleasing. Whilst they are OK they do lack the raw emotion of the choppy water. The light just doesn’t come across as interesting when the water is smooth.

      As you say, it’s down to taste but I have found that my taste often blinds me to something better. I find the same when I try to avoid clipping the histogram in contrsty conditions. Often the clipped versions of images have more power.

  3. I like the image and don’t feel it’s cluttered at all. of course the first thing my eye is drawn the bright sunset on the horizon but from there my eye goes to the dark storm clouds and then to the rough sea in the foreground. And then it starts the cycle again and keeps me enjoying the image and feeling the emotion of the stormy sea.


  4. Robin, strong self-critiquing always, but you should have no fears about this excellent image. There is a strong foreground, a dramatic sky, and a natural sunset. The foreground appears to be sharp, but not overly so.
    In your commentary, you speak of ’emotion’ and the effect within you on seeing this image. This is what photography should be about. I have just coined the apophthegm (get yer dictionary out) “Judges have done unto photography what Spin-Doctors have done unto politicians”. Long live our images of Michael Foot!
    As a facetious aside, one reading of Jeff’s reply might imply that Robin, too, is an old fart!. know that I am!

    1. Thanks Mike. You have made me smile. I agree though. Many people seem to have lost sight of judging an image by how it makes them fee. Instead they look to judge it against a static set of criteria on a checklist. Go easy on Jeff though. I do understand what he means as I was also shooting long exposures with the Nikon thinking that is what would create a good image (I will be posting one shortly). I was rather taken by surprise by the qualities of this “snap” using the EM5.

  5. Hello Robin.
    I think a super seascape image and don’t think it is at all cluttered, and taking into account that it was hand held at 1/60 of a second, the image has come out very good in my opinion.

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