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When The Sky Turns Red

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 19 June 2019 in Landscape & Rural.


Red tones take over the evening during a colourful sunset near Esperance in Western Australia. A second photo from an evening we spent at this location at the end of 2018. If you remember, I mentioned chasing the light during the long drive south from Perth. I took this photo a little bit later after the golden light turned to intense red hues.

Besides the obvious colours in the sky, I absolutely loved the rich colours reflecting on the rocks in the foreground. This light really changed their appearance and in my mind brought them to life. I remember vividly standing there being bathed in the red glow of the sunset. It was like someone just put a red filter over my head and I had to watch the colour histogram very closely on my camera to ensure that the red channel did not clip too much. What also helped was that few larger waves crashed over the rocks and wet surfaces reflected a lot more of the colours than earlier in the evening.

It is always a little bit of give and take when it comes to photographing intense colours. If you keep the luminance down, you can retain detail and prevent blown out highlights. On the other hand, when you darken them too much, you loose vibrancy and that brightness of tones associated with a sunrise or sunset. It is often down to the creative choice and what is more important to you as the photographer.

There are tools in processing software to help you address some of the issues but it is always best to get it as close to your vision as you can in the field, where possible. For me it just makes it so much easier to work with in post processing. I would much rather be working on developing the mood and story that I wanted to photograph than spending time to fix something that I was lazy about earlier.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 13/10 second F/8.0 ISO 100 16 mm

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