Emily Kawasaki  

Scarlet Sunset by Emily Kawasaki

October 2020 - Scarlet Sunset

About the Image(s)

This image was taken on SEP 18, 2020 at 6:17 pm ET. The photo was taken facing west on Lake Ontario in Williamson, NY. It shows the lake in the foreground and the sunset and clouds in the background. The photo was taken with my SONY ILCE-5000 camera. The ISO is 160, the exposure time is 1/40 sec., the f stop is 4, and the focal length is 19mm. It was a brilliant sunset that evening. So, the only edits I made in Adobe Photoshop Express were to increase the sharpness slightly and increase the clarity slightly. I haven't made any changes to the original colors. I would be curious to get suggestions from the group as to how else I should/should edit this photo.

10 comments posted

Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
I really love the colors you found in the sunset, under lighting the bottom of the contrasting, storm like clouds. That kind of light typically changes pretty fast, and I think you picked the right moment to click the shutter. Great job recognizing the special light and capturing it.

I think the composition of the image however could be strengthened. My eye goes to the bright areas, which means the bright patch of sky above and right of center, as well as its reflection which leads the eye from the front of the frame to that bright sky patch. Trouble is, I think where you want to lead the eye is toward the wonderful color on the left.

So, hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of recomposing. I cropped down to the part of the image that I find really compelling. In the attached crop, the prominent wave provides foreground interest, and the other less bright sky reflection leads the eye from there to roughly where you want it to go - the amazing color in the clouds. I did a little quick photoshop work to enhance the foreground wave and the sky reflection (dodge and burn), as well as to bring out some of the scarlet color in the water that shows up here and there (some selective use of vibrance). I burned the edges some, and then admittedly made a quick pass through Nik Color Efex, using Tonal Contrast to boost the contrast overall. It is definitely a different look when done, but to me the interesting elements you've captured fit together a little better.   Posted: 10/10/2020 13:30:11
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Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Robert, these are great suggestions. I like your crop and recompose - it really focuses on the colors of the sunset and the waves, which was my desire when capturing the image. I agree that the bright patch of light to the right takes a way from the left side and the sunset. I wasn't sure which crop to use - but I think for this image, the crop that you used (which I haven't played with as much) is a great fit. Thank you!   Posted: 10/10/2020 13:35:48

Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Hi Emily, don't let anyone get away with saying, "you got lucky with that sky". That would be a fallacy. Yes, you're never sure what nature will do, but you prepared for it anyway. You planned and got ready, composed your shot and waited. Even if you were on a walk, you took your camera and anticipated something good might happen. Needless to say, you caught a great sky and worked it into a very nice waterscape photograph.
I like Robert's crop. He saw your vision and made it complete. As imagemakers, we sometimes get too emotionally attached to our photos the way they were captured. It's good to have someone who can see the image as it is and help make it work. My eye movement now starts with the wave, moves up to the right horizon and then finds some great cloud action.   Posted: 10/14/2020 18:44:22
Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Thank you Dan! Yes, this summer I spent each weekend up on Lake Ontario, checking the weather conditions and sunset times, arriving early, staying till astronomical dusk, and catching a variety of gorgeous skies. I was glad to have been able to get a range of shots this one evening - with this shot being the best of the bunch. I agree that Robert's crop really highlights the best parts of the shot!   Posted: 10/15/2020 11:14:23

Gerard Blair   Gerard Blair
Emily - you set a challenge - how can a boy resist!?

My take is based on the color Efex Pro - tonal contrast - tool which digs out a lot from those clouds. Then a curves to play with the lighting - and some dodging in the mid and high ranges to bring out the whites in the sea and clouds.
My crop removes the light sky on the left edge - and keeps the horizon and the vertical light path on rules of thirds as you had them.   Posted: 10/17/2020 11:06:49
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Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Gerard, thank you. I really like how your edit brings out more of the depth and texture of the clouds as well as the highlights on the water. I think for your edit, keeping it in landscape version works better than portrait. Great ideas!   Posted: 10/19/2020 17:21:52

Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
Hi Emily

Just when you thought you had everyone's opinion here I come with one more.

I like the landscape version better than the portrait version. I find in the portrait version the wave becomes too dominant of an element in the photo. I agree that that piece of sky is too bright but I would tone it down in post and make it a bit more yellow/orange. I would change the crop to put the bottom line of the golden rectangle at the horizon and this would crop out the top of the sky which is too bright. It also puts the main subject, the beautiful pink clouds on one of the lines as well.

I would brighten the wave in the foreground to enhance it as a foreground element just like Gerard. With the crop in the landscape mode it does not steal the show.

  Posted: 10/17/2020 20:20:25
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Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Cheryl, I like how your edit draws out the warmer colors over the horizon. I think for your edit, the landscape format and crop looks best. Thanks for the suggestions about brightening the wave in the foreground. Great edit!   Posted: 10/19/2020 17:25:11

Dale Yates   Dale Yates
Excellent photo! In my opinion the composition is good. I like the silhouetted land formation to the left. The cloud structure is excellent. I especially like the red hue in the background. I also like the landscape crop better and agree with Cheryl that the light area between clouds can be reduced somewhat in post processing. However, keep in mind that the line of light reflection on the water, just right of center, is due to the light area between the clouds. If this light between the clouds is reduced too much, it could render the reflection on the water out of place. Just some thoughts...nice work!   Posted: 10/19/2020 15:18:01
Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Dale, thank you. I agree that the silhouetted land formation is important in the shot. I think it add a sense of scale to the shot. I will definitely play with the image a bit more, since I don't want to lose the reflections in the water.   Posted: 10/19/2020 17:28:34


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