I posted a similar image about a month ago with a partial sunburst. I came across another bracketed set that prior I didn't think would blend well. I think I was wrong and figured out how to make it work. The question I have is do the boats stay? Or do they go? Of course any other concerns you might have would be welcomed as well.
Camera Model: NIKON D800 Lens: 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 Image Date: 2012-08-19 17:55:41 +0000 Focal Length: 58mm Aperture: f/8.0 Exposure Time: Bracketed set ISO equiv: 100 Photographer: Scott Sternberg Copyright: Scotts Fine Art Photography
You sure do cover all bases, Scott -- foreground, middleground, background, flare, lighthouse, boats, sunset... I like the small people, representing happiness and activity, give scale to the scene. The boats are small, wish they were bigger. But they should stay. I wouldn't change a thing. Except put my name on it!
I often find myself in debates concerning whether a photo should have a description of sorts, or whether it should stand on its own. My view is that when you make a final decision to publish a finished photo, it should stand its own, but when you’re considering artistic decisions and you’d like to hear what others say, I think you need to tell what your message will be. I can see that your photo was shot in mid-August. Where I live, mid-August is somewhere between high sailing season and autumn. If you want to present a summer picture with lots of activity, the boats should stay. If you want to present an autumnal view, wherein the people move to cities, and only the lighthouse remains, the people and boats will have to go.
Scott, beautiful scene; I'd say keep the boats, lose the flare. I find the flare too distracting. I see this as a shot of the building and its pier and not a shot of the sun and its flare... hard to combine the two in my view.
Keep the boats and flare but lose the birds. They just look like little black specs. I have to say that I don't think the boats really add anything as they are really small, but they don't hurt either. Clear as mud now right?