Sunset Envy

posted by tucker

*UPDATE* I have recently launched a desktops section of the site, and it features a touched-up, cropped version of this shot that is even better than what I had originally put here! Head over there to check it out.

I have had a slew of fairly underwhelming sunsets while in Maine this time around… so I decided to go back in time a month and look at what I’d shot from my previous visit, during which there seemed to be an endless supply of colorful nights. (And also because we all know that sunsets are the ONLY subject to HDR, ever. No other options exist so we should all limit ourselves to sunsets only. ­čśÇ ) We’re just going to pretend this shot is from tonight…. This shot posed an interesting problem to me. The framing is fine in camera, and the shot processed well and came out as a good-looking HDR. The issue was that there seemed to be no good way of cropping it in Photoshop. 80% of the time I spent post-processing this picture was cropping and un-cropping trying to figure out how to frame it for the final shot. I was (and still kind of am) stymied by this one. The problem came as I was editing it at 100% zoom; I kept noticing how cool each individual piece of the scene was all on its own, and how it lost impact as you zoomed out to take in the overall scene. I love the reflections of the trees on the water on the left, I love the illuminated flagpole over the house with the sun and reflection in the middle, I love the two docks with their reflections, I love the silhouettes┬áof the trees with the sun glowing behind them on the right… The final crop had to be a balance of being able to see everything, yet not lose the details in the process. This is an almost unreachable balance in this case. Here is the original, and two crops that show some of the possibilities…

The original, un-cropped image. Click through to examine all of the details yourself!

The final "overall" crop that I decided on, relying on the rule of thirds. I saved out a few of the other closer-in crops too just in case. They are almost like different pictures!

One of many possible crops of this image... I would love to add the glowy trees to the left of this but then I lose the close-up feel that you get at this near 100% crop...

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