Sunset at Marsh Creek
Shooting sunsets without filter to me is very difficult specially if the difference between the sky and foreground is almost 4 or 5 stops. That is a nightmare to shoot. It’s either you’ll get blown highlights or very dark shadows. If you see a very perfect sunset photo there is some kind of filter use or digital manipulation done like HDR, manual blending, freaky detail, color matching, luminosity mask etc etc. I don’t really like to spend that much time in the computer and also I am not that good with Photoshop.
Even more difficult to shoot in stitched panorama because all frames must be of the same exposure. A Grad ND filter when used properly will even the exposure of the scene. Say you spot meter the sky at 1/125th of a second and the foreground at 1/30th you have to use a 2 stops Grad ND filter to have an evenly expose photo.
In this photo above I waited until the sun was below the horizon to somehow lessen the difference in exposure between the sky and foreground. I spot metered in the trees across the lake and did a couple of test shots and checked in my LCD if there was detail in foreground and sky with just one shot. The source of light was just the sun and when it was too low in the horizon it illuminated the yellow wild flowers in the foreground. I stitched 10 RAW frames in Adobe Photoshop CS5 and exported the TIFF 16-bit to Adobe Lightroom 4 for post process and mainly adjusted the highlights and shadows detail. When you click the photo to enlarge it you will see people in kayaks.
Hope you enjoy it!
PS. I was offered an instructor position in a photography workshop chain that has 20 branches nationwide. I said no and told them my photography is just for fun. I was flattered though. Why would someone pay too much to learn how to shoot, it boggles my mind.