Thursday, January 7, 2010

Improved sunsets?

Early evening down at Karaka, just a little south of Takanini and there was this glorious sunset.  I had my camera and took some photos.  Quite contrasty, and there was some lovely grass seed heads "glowing" in the setting sun's rays.  I took my shots and was keen to explore the use of HDR to bring a bit more drama into the shot ... but I wasn't happy.

The flare just didn't appear in the right place, I'd got some reflections off the lens filter giving a sort of inverted vignette, the incoming aircraft appeared nine times and then the grass was wandering all over the place.  Arggh!  Such a lovely scene and I'd blown it.

I sought advice about flare and was told to make the most of it.  I'd tried to minimise the effect of the flare in my sunset image and this resulted in my placing the sun pretty central to my picture.  I played with a couple of other images (drastic hdr and less so) but wasn't convinced I was creating pleasing images.
Last night I had another chance back down at Karaka.  Again, quite contrasty so I went with an HDR shot.  The grass heads looked pretty golden and I decided to go for composition and ignore what may happen with flare.  The result is as you see above.  Not convinced, I tried a few other shots.  Here's one that may be tad on the dark side, but I think it conveys the mood quite nicely.
I had a heap of fun, and even found a new location for future shots!  Bottle Top Bay was a little further down the road and gave great views across some water.

Did I learn anything?  Perhaps the following ...

  1. The main thing was take a tripod!  All my multi-image shots for HDR processing line up so much better than my original hand held effort.
  2. Be patient and don't rush to leave.  The light went through so many variations during our stay at the site.  Furthermore, as I experienced here, if I'd stayed a little later I would have managed a much better shot.
  3. Keep shooting and try things!  It's heaps easier to erase a flawed image than it is to capture it after the event.  Only by experimenting and trying new things will you learn.

I suppose really, the proof is in the images.  Do I think I'm expert?  Most certainly not ... but I'm having fun trying to get a good shot!  If you have any hints, tips or tricks that will help me in my endeavours, please let me know.

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