Rick Cloran, HonPSA, MPSA  

Badlands Sunset by Rick Cloran, HonPSA, MPSA

May 2023 - Badlands Sunset

About the Image(s)

This one was made in Badlands National Park just as the sun was setting. I was using the R5’s HDR bracketing feature that does three shots (bracket size can be set) at three stops difference. The odd part is that it will vary the iso on the under exposure and the shutter on the over exposure. Canon R5 with Sigma 24-105 on EF to R adapter, 24 mm. Core shot at iso 1600 1/64 F11.3, under shot at iso 200 but other settings remain the same, over shot at iso 1600 but shutter at .13 sec. I ran the three raw files through DxO Pure Raw 3 then tried Luminar Neo HDR Blend, Aurora 2019, and Photmatix 7. There isn’t much color outside of the sky and the lit area on the high points of the cliffs so I was curious as to how the programs would deal with that. Luminar and Aurora gave me a workable, if uninspiring result. Photomatix bounced on this one. I dropped a gradient in the sky in Camera Raw. In Photoshop I tweaked the contrast in the mid tones and did a very small amount of dodging. Realistic if not all that inspiring with all of the core lighting in the upper portion of the image, but it does show we can still achieve some tonal differentiation even without direct lighting.

6 comments posted

Bill Buchanan   Bill Buchanan
I find it interesting how various software produces different viewer results. Close examination brings out the subtle textures and muted greens in the foreground material. I would personally prefer a slightly more visual pop. I took the liberty of importing your image in Photoshop and applying the Auto setting in the Camera Raw Filter. Scott Kely also taught me a little trick in holding down the Shift key in camera raw and pressing the White and black points.   Posted: 05/08/2023 13:26:50
Comment Image

Jane Ballard   Jane Ballard
Looks like I'm going to have to travel there sometime! Beautiful image! Nice contrast with the cool shady areas and the warm sunset. Nice colors and textures. It might be possible to pull out a bit more of the color in the foreground.   Posted: 05/10/2023 17:08:56

Max Burke   Max Burke
Rick, You indicate a lot of work was done on this image to show the impressive sunset on the hills, with a good clear sky showing some color late-day haze on the sky. As regards the foreground it has wonderful detail and colors. Jane's version required a small amount of adjustment to increase the colors near the base of the picture, which helps that area.   Posted: 05/17/2023 15:55:56

Don Poulton   Don Poulton
Certainly from my experience with different tone mapping programs, the software choice can make quite a marked change in the appearance of an image (not to mention the various presets the programs offer). You've caught this scene at a time in between the golden hour of late daylight and the blue hour of post-sunset. I find Bill's adjustments bring out a bit of "pop" in the image. Also, I think warming up the foreground just a bit might improve the image (but try this out to be sure).   Posted: 05/22/2023 14:20:54

Brad Ashbrook   Brad Ashbrook
Great looking rocks and you did a nice job despite the lack of clouds. I agree with others, there seems to be more in the foreground that you can enhance.   Posted: 05/22/2023 20:49:27

Lisa Cuchara   Lisa Cuchara
wow, lots of texture, cool place and great composition. I will have to add this to my places to visit.

Thank you for the detailed explanation of the processing.

perhaps warm up the foreground a tad?   Posted: 05/25/2023 23:26:05


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