We experienced this wonderful sunset when travelling through the midwest region of Western Australia back in spring 2020. It is a great time of the year to explore the region. Weather is still cool and comfortable while there are plenty of wildflowers popping up all around and they can make for spectacular viewing. We were really lucky to get this fantastic light show on the last evening of our trip. I already posted a photo from Coalseam Conservation Part taken a little earlier on the same day. Previous image was taken just before the sun went down below the horizon while this one was taken when the sunset light was at its most intense.
As the sun went down, it was the usual thought at the back of my mind - will the sky light up or not. For a moment or two it was not looking promising but then the colours slowly started to appear in the clouds. The light was changing quickly and I did not want to miss any of it so this is the reason for keeping the composition very similar to previous image. I was worried that if I try to look for other compositions I would miss the best light as it lasted only for about ten minutes. I had scouted around earlier but it was hard for me to find good compositions in this location. There were always branches or trees getting in the way and I could not find a foreground to match my vision. This prompted me to stay in this spot for most of the sunset. I did move around a bit later, when the light started to subside and the sunset was fading away.
Getting the final image to show how I experienced and remember this scene was quite complex as well. Shooting against the light, I was always going to need multiple exposures to get the entire dynamic range in the scene. There was a little bit of wind and that caused some movement of trees and branches, which makes blending a lot harder because it causes issues when matching frames together. It can lead to strange artefacts, halos or ghosting. I tried a number of techniques on this image, from HDR blending in Lightroom to manual hand blending in Photoshop. In the end, it was a combination of these blending techniques which allowed me to get the result I was looking for. Lightroom produced a good starting point but there was a little bit of ghosting around the trees that I had to correct manually.
Some images can be processed quickly but some can take quite a bit of time and patience. This is one of the latter images but the results are so worth if one perseveres and does not give up too easily. I hope that I was able to achieve a good balance of light and tones here. It was a stunning sight and one that I still remember very vividly today. We went back to Coalseam again in 2021 but just missed the best of wildflowers on that occasion. Just like with autumn foliage, cheery blossoms and other regular occurrences in nature, they never happen on the exact date and it can be a bit of hit and miss situation when booking trips long time in advance.
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