I have read that the most difficult aspect in painting is knowing when to stop…to know that the painting is complete. The same holds true for post-processing in photography. There comes a point where you are picking out and tweaking minute details that need attention to make the image just a tiny bit better, or to correct something that is bothersome to you, even though no viewer would ever even notice in a print that was enlarged to a super size. When you get to that point, it’s probably time to step away and let the image sit for a few days. Then go back and see if there is anything that still needs to be changed. This is one of those photos. It was beginning to haunt me, and finally I determined that all the attention I was giving it would not make it into a better image; it was just not all that great to begin with. It seems to be off balance, too heavy on the right side with not too much that is engaging on the left side. Although at times, I do feel that the foam on the left counterbalances the weight of the foggy shapes in the upper right. But I constantly waffle between the two. So, even though it had already been severely cropped, I tried to crop it again to what is below.
This version seems more balanced, and the boring left side eliminated, but the somewhat expansive view of the initial one at the top has been lost. Additionally, the long, sweeping curve of the foam as it was making its way in toward shore is now gone, a missing element that helped lead the eye toward the fogged-in shapes along the horizon line. The second version seems much flatter, lacking the distance and depth conveyed in the original.
However, what does seem to work are the muted, almost watercolor tones that give it such a soft feeling of silence which, on such a foggy day, is pretty easy to capture simply by tripping the shutter. I will probably continue to perseverate on these two options and, in all likelihood, will probably never reach a conclusion. So, feel free to voice opinions and/or comments, even if it means to say that both should, without passing Go, head directly to the trash bin.
Below is the un-retouched original.