Henderson Inlet Sunset

This is a fairly simple image. It was taken last evening as the sun set. I do like the color; however, is the saturation and sharpening overdone? I did cut back on the yellow, green, and blue saturation. Could the highlights in the trees be cut a little? (I did this on the second image) I used TKA luminosity masks to improve the contrast in the water. This is a long exposure, eight seconds, using a neutral density filter in order to get softness on the water.

Iso-32, 24-120 mm at 68 mm, F 20, eight seconds, neutral density filter,
D850, tripod, Adobe camera raw 10.5, Topaz adjust, TK luminosity masks, TK sharpening action at 30%

This has some nice layering and the large version on my monitor provides are fair amount of detail in the bright areas. The sky is right on and the shadows are still fairly luminous.

The issue for me is the front lighting. It visually compresses the foliage and doesn’t show it to it’s best advantage. It’s like taking a portrait of someone with a flash where the facial features are lost due to even light.

On the other hand this is how nature is when viewed at times by all of us. I’ve cast to trout in light like this so it does have some emotional pull.

Wow, what a beautiful scene, David. I could just sit there for awhile. Looks like a photo that should be on a calendar. It looks fine to me.

I like the second version with the highlights reduced a bit. I toyed around with a screen crop of the top to just below the last bit of sky and kind of like that…it really changes the image and emphasizes the warm light and reflection. I’m not necessarily sure it’s a better image with the crop, but I thought I’d share the idea.

Phil, I toyed with cropping more of the sky also but with a little bit of the reflection of the sky and the water I thought it would be more balanced the way it was. But I agree the different crops do change the image focus.

David, I like the amount of sky as presented, and I also like the version with the highlights toned down in the trees. I do agree with Igor’s comment about the front lighting affecting the contrast, but obviously to get this reflection you had to shoot from that angle. I think you could darken the shadows in the trees a little to add some more contrast there. The other thing I might consider is selectively cooling the shadows, to also create a little more contrast. In fact the warm sunset light is so strong, I might even experiment with cooling the overall image just a tiny bit, trying to create some contrast with the blues in the sky, while maintaining the warm sunset feel.

Thanks Ed for your suggestions. Here is a version with a cooling filter and a luminosity mask over the shadows to increase the contrast and brightness in order to bring out more detail.

David, this is a wonderful image. Most images are about the light, and this one most certainly is. I think I’m actually leaning against the original (or the one with the less contrast, brighter highlights) To me it just appears more natural, if that’s what it would be like if I were standing there. Then again, if you had only showed the one with lower highlights, I would still be impressed with the image.

At first glance this seems like a 50/50 image between the reflection and the trees. But having the line of trees in shadow and the sliver of sky give this image some depth and layers. Great job on the long exposure extracting some wonderful colors in the water.

Last version, sky way to blue for me.


I like Lon’s critique, and I agree—the sky’s too blue. Perhaps using the history brush to bring the sky back to its original color, and while you are at it, bring the shadowed greenery back to its original color and luminescence.