View Full Version : Cook's Head

Paul Davey
01-07-2008, 04:36 PM
Cook's Head (Otago, New Zealand - 24 November 2007) in the early evening. The somewhat stormy and moody clouds offset the lighting effectively. The sun was barely peeping out, and it was behind me. I just hope that tiny portion of blue sky in the upper left does not ruin the scene. I've cropped this slightly from the bottom to get rid of the footprints and enhance the composition.

In my opinion the rock looks dramatic and imposing, and I think the angle it sits on makes it "look out" to the rough seas. Comments appreciated, and please do not argue the sharpness of this image taken from a five megapixel camera.

Fujifilm Finepix S5600
1/500 sec, f/5.0, focal length unknown, ISO unknown (either Auto or 100-200), no flash

Let me just say that the technical details for the properties of my files give questionable facts. Therefore the focal length is unknown, yet this does not matter due to the fact that this camera uses optical zoom. The ISO reading on the computer is always incorrect. For every one of my images it labels them as ISO 64.

Jason Hahn
01-08-2008, 09:32 AM
Very forbidding sky, I really did not notice the blue sky until I read your post. I do like the deep gray blue of the sky and clouds, and I find it a nice contrast to the light tan of the beach. Not sure if is maybe an optical illusion, but the horizon line of the ocean looks crooked, and could benefit from some clockwise rotation.

For me, I think with rock formation images to really work you have to emphasize something about the uniqueness of the rock, either structure, shape, size, color, etc. For someone who has never seen this location, I am having a hard time judging the scale of the rock, just how big is it, and to my eye the distance and composition do not really feature any of the other attributes I mentioned . If possible I think going horizontal and including more of the sea so you can judge its size in contrast to the waves would have made a stronger impact on the viewer. This would have also added the benefit of adding the strong leading line of the shoreline to the image, which would help lead your eye through the frame to the rock. While I think it is a good stock image of the location showing where it is and the surrounding area, I think other composition choices may have helped establish this sense of scale or highlighted what is unique about the structure of the rock. I saw on your site some other images from here that I thought that did accomplish this, so I hope we will see more from this spot.


Paul Davey
01-08-2008, 04:20 PM
Thanks for the detailed comments Jason. I only have one other photograph of the rock on my Flickr account, but I'll hunt through my other photos of the formation. Although I'm not sure about the whole "judging size" concept in them.


Paul Davey
01-08-2008, 04:28 PM
Although this might help viewers comprehend the size and location of the rock, it is not an example of my best work, and therefore I won't make a new thread out of this. The face of the rock is dark and the sky is blue (before the clouds came). It shows both the sea and the plants that make up the coastal strip behind the sand.


Robert Amoruso
01-08-2008, 10:21 PM

In many ways your second image is a stronger then the first. I like the inclusion of the flowers/grasses on the right. They help to give the rock scale. To the right you have a nice patch of contrasting sand and then the water. All of them form diagonal lines leading to the rock. I would suggest cropping down the top some to just before the blue goes to the white cloud leaving a blue line of sky at the top. Another option is to crop to the upper white cloud to make the top a white edge.

Paul Davey
01-13-2008, 12:50 AM
Appreciated Robert. I suppose the latter image is an improvement. Though next time I would rather have the stormy clouds overhead as in the last. I am also disappointed at the many footprints ruining the sand. I accept that these are probably unavoidable.


Gerald Kelberg
01-13-2008, 05:57 AM
Hi Paul,

I also prefer the perspective of the second shot - realising of course there are other technical difficulties. The foreground interest of the flowers and grasses, the diagonal created by the beach and so on give more interest to me. But my main points are that I wouldn't worry about the footsteps in the sand - they don't bother me; and second, I think a mixed cloud/blue sky can be really more interesting.

Going back to your original shot, I don't think that you got the menacing drama out of the clouds that you were looking for. I don't know, but perhaps there is some filter that is going to help give more texture to the sky. Is there anyone out there that could give some insight on this?


Paul Davey
01-15-2008, 10:01 PM
Thanks for the comments Gerald. I think a Neutral Density Grad might do this effect you are describing. A grey-toned grad would darken most of the sky.