Surf and Spin

Another dip into the archives. This image was taken about seven years ago while on a family outing to the beach. This young man was doing some amazing tricks in the near-shore surf of our local beach. With plenty of light on a typically sunny day here in Florida, I had little trouble freezing the action but the raw image itself needed a bunch of help in post-processing.

Original RAW image with no adjustments

It didn’t take me long to realize there was no saving the sky without doing a complete sky replacement. I did, in fact, give it a try but I simply couldn’t make it work to my satisfaction. Plus, I quickly realized following that fruitless effort that the real subject of this image was the surfer himself. I needed to crop in to feature the action. As much as I liked having the boat in the background the surfer needed to be featured.

I cropped in to the image you see featured above and went to work doing my black and white processing.

There is far more manipulation that you might think. Here is an example of the cropped image with just a simple color to black and white conversion.

Basic black and white conversion

It needed work. There just wasn’t any pop to the image beyond now letting the surfer (boogie boarder) shine as the subject. I went to work and did my usual slider and spot filter workflow to bring out details, increase contract, and generally draw attention to the subject while adding more interest to the balance of the image.

Critiques of my final piece? Well, I would have been better served if I had seen this image more clearly at the time. A longer lens would have helped instead of losing so much detail by cropping. Also, there are some severe specular highlights that could use some additional help. However, overall I got from the exercise what I was looking for. Lessons learned for next time are as valuable as a successful capture in my book.

Thanks for reading!