It was a everyday regular Friday in january. I was planning on going for a sunset shoot over at one of my favorite locations. The plan was to get an blue hour image with the jetty and some sunset glow over at the horizon. The whole day it looked like I was getting my clear skies. When it wats time I went cycling to the location and kept checking the sky, some veil clouds were appearing and I might not get my clear sky image after all…
I arrived well in time for sunset and had some time to wander around, I came here for one shot and one shot only… Because I arrived from a different direction than usual to this location I found an interesting corner on the waterside and if i could line it up with the sun setting centrally it might just work… Lately I am experimenting with different post processing techniques and this time I had chosen to not use filters and shoot bracketed shots. I would be blending them manually in post-processing. I used a neat trick I learned from Jimmy McIntyre to remove the flare from the sun. For this you just shoot another image with your finger blocking the sun. It removes the lense flare and I would merge these two later in post processing. This gave me a total of four images to work with later in post…
Here’s a shot of my finger blocking the sun, you can see the flaring in the corners of the image not happening.
While taking this shot I met an other photographer. We talked some while I was going through my routine of bracketing my images. It was fun to see his images later on. I was so focussed on getting that one shot I was here for and he was very productive shooting totally different images.
And here’s the final processed shot of that setup. (click for larger image)
During this process I never expected what was going to happen although looking at the sky you could already see what nature had in store for us. After taking these shots I went to get ’the shot’ I walked over to the jetty and set up my gear and waited..
And then the fireworks started, I could not believe my own eyes the sky was turning all sorts of colors and the clouds were doing some amazing dance. I almost forgot that I was there to take a photo… I took some more bracketed shots and tried several different compositions with the jetty as main subject/leading line. I finally got the sense to grab out my phone and shoot some images with it because I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The sky was turning more red by the minute and I knew that these conditions wouldn’t last long… But I was wrong the colors in the sky lasted for about 20 minutes getting more intense by the minute. I kept shooting during this time afraid that I would miss out on the peak moment. Then finally after 20 minutes the red was slowly disappearing from the sky. I met up with the other photographer and we could not believe what just had happened.
When I finally got a chance to see my images on the big screen I could not believe that these weren’t processed yet. I knew that I had to be careful with the post-processing because you would quickly get the idea I was pulling on the saturation slider to much. Indeed some stock agencies refused some images of this set for ‘over processing’ Indeed they look fake and with all the post processing techniques around and everybody taking the saturation slider to the max I cannot blame them. These kind of sunsets are so rare that people are trying to replicate them in post processing eventually taking the shot route comes back in everybody’s face. My usual style of post processing is also very colorful so I’m pointing the finger to myself to. On this particular evening I can just say; this was how it was… Check out my images hope you enjoy and get a little of the feeling of awe that I experienced stating there gazing at the ever changing sky.
Enjoy (click for a larger image)