I was pleased with the way this shot turned out. Firstly, the sky was doing some wonderful things, with beams of sunlight breaking through the clouds. The surf looked good and I had a good, if unplanned subject. The lad was playing "chicken" with the surf and I knew there would be lots of opportunities if I was quick.
Because I was shooting into the sun, I knew that there would be a few challenges to overcome. Apart from catching the action, I knew lens flare could be a problem, even with the lens hood attached, and that exposure would have to be carefully controlled.
I shot in RAW, so I had leeway over the exposure and set aperture priority and a high f-number, so I woudn't have to worry about focus. Then, to get the exposure about right, I exposed for the sky and used exposure lock before re-composing for the lad, placing him close to one of the rule-of-thirds' power points.
In composing, I made sure I got the diagonal lead-in from the surf, taking the eye to the beach huts and headland. And then I took three or four shots, following the above plan each time.
It was all a bit quick, the lad was off somewhere else almost immediately, so I had to make do with what I'd captured. It had to wait until I got to the digital darkroom before I knew I'd got the shot - and only then after applying a graduated filter to the sky and tweaking the contrast and levels. (I did lose a couple through lens flare, and poor subject interaction / position.)
Ok, I admit it, it sounds like a 10 minute job, but actually I spent a couple of hours on it in the darkroom. Sad perfectionist that I am ;)
I was a bit put out that I got a few blown highlights, less detail around where the sun was breaking through. It's not too bad, though. What do you think?