Window to the sun - sky, etc opinions!


Hello again! I just finished this image (is any image really “done” though?). It’s a stack of 3 images: 2 to compensate for the unavoidable sun flare and another to get the window view focused and exposed correctly. It’s my most technical edit to date. I’m looking for some feedback about about a few things:

  1. Blend - Does everything look ok in the image technically? Any weird spots I can’t see?
  2. Sky - I know the sky is a little blown out. I have another image I can blend in but might not do very much and could make the hills look weird if I don’t do it right. So, would love some opinions on that.
  3. Overall composition, editing, color

I’m still a beginner but at least I knew enough to get what I needed in the field. Thanks in advance!!!


I never thought I’d see this again.I’m pretty sure I know where this is as I took this same picture about 30 years as a color slide. Yes if you get up early in the morning you’ll get richer reds and the sky will be blue. You might still be able to pull out some blue from that sky and the reds are certainly there. The composition is fine. I would just shoot at a different time of day.

I actually like the sun flare here and I don’t mind that the sky is a little bit blown out (though I could see just pulling a sliver more blue there). I think the sunflare adds drama to the “window” idea. I imagine that, without the flare, the effect of having that window as a compositional element is diminished.

At this size, the blend looks really nicely done and I really like the processing.

I’m not a huge fan of the sun flare but that is just a matter of taste (sun flares are not my thing) :wink: but I agree with @Adhika_Lie, if that flare wasn’t present, the window effect may not have worked.
I couldn’t find any problems with the blending.
The sky may be a bit over but I think it goes along with the softness (in tone) of the far mountains so not a problem at all for me.
I do think that right side part of the interior of the window could use a bit of dodging, its not a huge shadow but I find my eye gravitating there.
Other than that it’s a gorgeous image with a lot of details on the center (important and framed) part.

Thanks for sharing,

Your processing is impressive for your first attempt. I like the idea of shooting through the window in the rock, but I don’t feel like there is a strong subject to anchor my eye in the background.

Typically you want to shoot a sunstar just as the sun starts to crest over the mountains. Once it gets over the mountains you will typically have the washed out sky.

It’s good that you are pushing yourself creatively and you have a good idea with this image. It just needs a little more refinement. Keep it up and you will get there.

Its a great photo Brie, more so if you are new to it. Darkening the sky will help give it more contrast. It is a tricky shot overall. I wondered what a 2:1 ratio would look like to enhance the horizonal look. So I attached that version.

Pretty impressive for a first stab at exposure blending, the blend looks seamless and you have no halos. You are well on your way.

I like to include sunstars (flare) in images like this. As @Brian_Schrayer mentioned you need to catch the sun at the instant it peeks over the horizon. Sometimes a tiny change (inches really) in your shooting position or angle can completely change the appearance of the sunstar. What lens you use makes a difference in the shape of the sunstar too, depending on the number and alignment of aperture blades. My Canon 16-35mm f4 lens creates awesome looking sunstars, my Canon 24-70mm f2.8, not so much.

I use aperture priority to bracket shots for exposure blends, and from experience I have learned that when the sun is in the image, you need a -3 stops bracket to retain sky detail. In this case my guess is that you didn’t go that far down, or you might even have been able to retain some blue in the sky.

Thanks for the feedback Ed. After I purchased it, I discovered that my 18mm 2.8 Zeiss has a great sunstar and I did use it on this one. I was out hiking with my sister and didn’t think to stop down to f16. Man! I was at f13 which is ok but I’m still wrapping my head around apertures, what they can do and what they do on my lenses. I positioned my composition so the edge of the window created the sunstar. I do have 1 more dark exposure that I can blend in for the sky but I need to finesse it so I don’t get any weird halos. I’m using Lumenzia to blend and I think I need to practice the blending a little more to get it right. I’m definitely a work in progress!

Thanks Brian! I’m definitely working on improving:)

Ah, I occasionally like a sun flare but getting them right can be tricky. I’ll take a look at that shadow for sure. Thanks for the feedback!

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Thanks for the feedback! I’m going to try to pull down the sky a little more and see what happens. Thanks again.

Ah, I did have a blue sky and it was actally pretty early in the morning but maybe not early enough. I do have an exposure with blue sky so I may try to blend some in and look into tweaking the colors. There is some interesting landscape there and was a quick morning hike near where my mom lives.
Would love to see your image if you ever make it digital.Thanks for the feedback!