Monday Photo Inspiration – Fern Ridge Sunset

by matt on August 13, 2012

Every Monday I post a photo that is meant to inspire you, motivate you, cause you to pause and ponder, remind you of your dreams and hopefully entice you to act on whatever your goals may be.  We are well into August now and summer is finally here in Oregon.  Over the weekend it was in the 90’s and I was wishing I had installed that window AC unit after all.

Your inspiration for Monday August 13th is a sunset image I took Saturday at Fern Ridge Lake just west of Eugene.  We were outside at the house because it was hotter inside than it was outside and I noticed this band of haze in the sky.  I’m not sure whether it was dust or smoke in the air but it was already turning red and I figured it could be quite a nice sunset.

So we grabbed our cameras and drove out to Fern Ridge Lake to a wildlife area at the end of Royal Avenue.  It’s a place we frequently go to nature walk.  I came away with this image.

Fern Ridge Sunset

This is an image hand blended from two exposures.  The camera views a much more limited dynamic range than our eyes do so in this scene it was impossible for me to capture that range in one exposure.  So I took a series of exposures to expose for the shadow areas which in this image were the grasses and hills in the distance.  Then I took a series of exposures to expose for the highlights which was the sky and setting sun.

For this process I looked at the histogram of each shot to make sure my captures were not losing detail in the shadows or blowing out the highlights.

Then in Photoshop I looked at all the images and ended up selecting two that covered the entire dynamic range and manually blended them using a process I recently learned from photographer Sean Bagshaw.  Sean has an excellent series of video tutorials such as Photoshop Basics for Nature Photographers, Digital Processing for Nature Photographers, and Processing for Extended Dynamic Range.

If you have struggled with post processing your images in Photoshop I highly recommend these videos.  Sean has done an excellent job.  I will definitely be writing more details about exposure blending in the future.

With this image I really wanted to show the red and orange glow of the setting sun and how it cast this warm color over the wetland grasses and I think I accomplished that fairly well.

I hope you find inspiration in this image as you begin your Monday.

“The longer you wait for the future, the shorter it will be.” ~ Loesje

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