There’s no question about it, a sunset can be a beautiful subject for a photograph. For a long time I avoided making sunset photos. My reasons? For one I considered them “too easy.” How could anyone possibly mess up a sunset photo? The other reason being that the world is flooded with photos of sunsets. If you don’t believe me just search for “sunset” in your favorite search engine and see what comes back! That said, my attitude about this genre of outdoor photography has changed a bit.
While one might think it impossible to take a bad sunset image, it really is possible. There’s more than pointing the camera and releasing the shutter. First you have to consider composition. Where should I place the horizon? Should I include any foreground or background objects? Is the finished photo going to be typical 4×6 ratio, square format, a panoramic? If water is involved to I want a slow shutter speed to get that soft, cottony look to it, or a fast shutter to freeze motion? The sum of these questions can result in a good or bad shot.
There’s also what happens with the RAW image after capture. The photographer has a lot of control over the finished product by using tools such as Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and various plug-ins. Color balance, brightness, contrast and clarity are just a few of the things the artist adjusts during post processing. Too much or too little rework in post can make or break the final image. A snap shot is a snap shot. An image straight out of the camera with no adjustment to meet the photographer’s vision.
But what about the plethora of sunset images out there? Well, there are a lot of them. But you know what? Those are the product of someone else’s vision. Not mine. I would like to think that my experience behind the lens and working with post processing tools adds a unique spin to my work. At least they’re not simple snap-shots… I hope! Take a look around and see for yourself. I’d love it if you’d comment and tell me what you think.