November Sunset & repost


On a cold late afternoon bike ride a week or so ago I fortunately had my camera and had to try capturing the sun setting behind the beautiful snow covered mountains.

Specific Feedback Requested


Technical Details

ISO 400, 450mm, f6.3, 1/400, handheld as always. Brought up exposure and adjusted for shadows, contrast and saturation. Cropped out bottom buildings.

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Hi Vanessa,
What is your intent with the image?
There is “something” going on with the blacks on the left and right edge of the mountain - not sure what’s up but its much darker than the middle of the mountain.
The sky looks kind of washed out, but I’d need to see the RAW to understand how the colors have been transformed through your processing.

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Hi @Matt_Payne ! That’s a good question, I think my intent has been to get a winter scene. There is a scene totally different from this one that I keep seeing that I want to shoot but I’m never there with my camera. It’s my 10 minute morning bike ride before I have to sit in front of stupid computer monitors all day! I’m hoping to get it this weekend. So this was probably a grab, desperate kind of shot when I had a few minutes and it was a beautiful sunset and I liked how the clouds kind of mimicked the mountains. But I know my settings were wrong when I took it and it probably can’t be salvaged in post. I was trying to bring up the exposure and then had to do something with other settings. Here’s the original….

Hey Vanessa! I see what you’re trying to do with this photo and I do really like the direction that you’re going. I like the warm tones in the cool tones mixed together. I think if you pulled more contrast out of the photo, maybe darken your shadows more and brighten your highlights more and put some more vibrance into those colors. I think you’d be on the right path to making this photo even better!

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I appreciate that the delicate pastel marbling of the warm colored sky contrast remarkably with the massive foreground mountains. The sky must have been fairly dark behind you, as the mountains have little reflected light to show their texture. A lot different from the transmitted / diffracted light of the high clouds.
I could not resist working with it a bit. I went a different direction than your night scene. Overall, I wanted to balance the sky and mountains a bit – make the sky a more pronounced partner to the mountains, and then work with the mountains’ texture and color. I found that the sky has a lot of apparent noise. Evening sky pastels are tough that way. Just wondering, what camera was used? I applied Topaz denoise AI on the sky and sharpen AI on the mountains to tidy that up a bit. Seemed to help the sharpness of the distant tree line.
Then used a Lab color technique to find more sky colors. There are really a lot of colors in that sky. You might prefer the original subtlety, or something less garish than my offering, of course.
The mountains got treated to some increase in exposure and contrast, and a bit of sky color painted in lightly on some snowy areas.
I really like the repeating diagonals in the left side of the image. I was bothered by the dramatic clouds being way over on the opposite side of the image, so I moved the sky close to the left (Transform > Scale) then cropped out the RHS. The result loses some of the expansiveness of your original, so might not convey your experience as well.
Good for you to have camera with you and sharing the experience —“f/8 and be there”

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Thank you @David_Johnston and @Dick_Knudson for looking and your feedback. I tried redoing it based on both of your suggestions. Not sure if it’s improved or not. I agree the sky is very noisy. My camera is a Nikon D3400 and doesn’t do the best in low light settings. It could also be because I don’t have a tripod so can’t go with a really nice long shutter speed. I also don’t have the best post processing device, I have an iPad and use Pixelmator photo for iPad. It’s not bad but I can’t really improve a photo that didn’t just come out right to begin with. You really did a great job of getting the noise out @Dick_Knudson , I did what I could on that. I’d love any feedback on the repost if either of you have time! Thanks again!

Hey Vanessa! Looks great! So glad members of the NPN community could help out as well. Love that. It can be easy to get down on camera quality or not having some gear. However, enjoy the learning stage you’re in right now. It’s honestly the most fun stage of being a photographer. Treat it as an experiment and tinker with different ideas and techniques. Please reach out if you ever need anything!

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Thanks @David_Johnston! Glad you like the repost. Thanks for your kind words. I appreciate it. Yeah, I really have learned a lot from so many in this community. It’s been great!

Glad to hear it!