Hotel Del Coronado Sunset
Sunset with reflections in the hotel windows. I was looking for a good spot to take the sunset photo so I went up the stairs to a platform. To my pleasing surprise, the windows provide a great reflection.
Photo Tip - Capturing the Sunset
The most extreme range of light and dark occurs during a sunset when the sun is not hiding behind the clouds. Often the photo ends up with a white spot for the sun and extreme darkness for the foreground. Cameras just don't have the dynamic range of the human eye.
Using an HDR process in which multiple images with a variety of exposures are merged together can significantly improve this situation. However, there can be problems, especially when there is a wind and things such as the leaves of the palm trees are moving around and won't be in the same location in every shot.
My preference is to shoot in RAW with the exposure for the area near the sun. Initially the the image will appear almost as a silhouette. However, with a high-end camera and a RAW editor, the details in the shadows can be brought out.
Of course there is the risk of also introducing significant noise. To help mitigate the noise, I would still shoot with an ISO of 100. Then after reducing the shadows, I will run a noise filter set so the details are not lost. Each photo is different so the actual settings need to be played with until the right balance of noise elimination and keeping the details is met. Then apply a sharpening mask set so that edges are sharpened without creating halos.
Yikes, as I write about this, I am reminded of the hours of OCD editing in Photoshop that I have experienced in the past. :-) In the end it is not just about the result, the learning process also brings satisfaction.
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