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Friday, March 27, 2009

Underexpose Sunsets for Drama

In the last posting I talked about how I took a sunset shot and turned into into a moonlight effect using the hue slider. Here is the original sunset with almost nothing done to it in Photoshop (just a very slight warming). The reason the sky looks so dramatic is that I took a reading from the bright area of sky (where the sun was poking through a bit at the bottom) and then used that exposure. Normally I wouldn't include such a bright area when metering because it would underexpose the scene too much, but that's just what I wanted to happen in this case. By making the clouds and sky darker, the rays of sunlight at the bottom show up better.

You have a lot of leeway when it comes to exposing sunset shots, it's almost hard to make a bad exposure. And you can always fix or exaggerate the exposure later in editing. The more important thing to me is just being at the beach when the sunset starts to flare up--which is why when time allows, I take a cup of tea and drive to the beach at the end of the day! It's good for the soul and good for your photo collection.

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