One of my photographic goals in Hawaii was to capture some great sunrise and sunset images on the beach. I already talked about my sunrise experience in a previous post. I got some decent images but I was hoping for something more dramatic. I probably can’t call myself a “real” landscape photographer since I didn’t get up early in the morning everyday until I created an image I was truly satisfied with. My sunset photograph, however, turned out a lot better than my sunrise image, in my opinion. It has the dramatic light and color that I was hoping for. Since sunsets didn’t require me to get up early in the morning, I made several different attempts at getting my ideal sunset.
I had my usual landscape setup with my tripod and Sigma 10-20mm super wide-angle lens. I was taking both single images and exposure bracketed images — just in case I wanted to do some HDR processing. This one is from a single exposure. The sky near the sun is blown out but I think it sill looks fine. I love the color and there is enough cloud detail that I did not bother doing a HDR version of this image. If I can produce a dramatic image with good detail and exposure, I certainly don’t need or want to go through the extra effort to create a blended HDR image. Not doing HDR processing saves a bunch of work and the image can turn out to be cleaner if there is motion blur in any of the 3 photographs typically used to create an HDR.
My Thought Process
The composition of this image is not too dissimilar from my sunrise beach images. I wanted a nice curve in the water line to draw the eye into the frame. I made sure the horizon was not dead center, though I was torn between getting the great reflections on the beach and the nice cloud details. I ultimately decided to give a bit more to the reflections since the light bouncing off the wet beach was perfect at this time. I think the reflections and texture in the foreground adds some nice in interest towards the bottom of the frame. The rocks to the left balances out some of the buildings on the right side.
In post processing, I increased the brightness and color saturation. I am pleased with this bluish-puple color in the sky. I wasn’t expecting this color and was pleasantly surprised. I also added a vignette to make the perimeter darker to further emphasize the brightness in the middle and draw the eye to the center.
[Note: Click on the image for a larger version]
The image was taken with a Canon 7D with the Sigma 10-20mm lens on a tripod. All image adjustments were done in Aperture 3. I also reduced some digital noise with Topaz DeNoise version 5.
The image above was taken at f13, 5 seconds, with no exposure compensation, ISO 100 at 10mm.