Looking for the red sun I remembered

Good night for everyone (and hope all of you are fine in this unexpected and strange war moments…)

I know there will be very interesting news in darktable soon on dealing with highlights. But in the meanwhile, still on 3.8, I’m struggling a bit with this. For example: this night I was near a beautiful church in Vilanova da Gaia (close to Oporto), placed in an incredible location, just on the seashore. And what seemed to be a uninteresting sunset, because of the clouds, suddenly became a big intense red sun drowning in the sea bellow this clouds, just at the side of the church (well, really I was there expecting this moment, but I was just to the point of returning hotel, thinking that the sun was yet under the horizont, but there was it).

This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.
20220226-1919-01708.arw (23.7 MB)

The sun, really was exactly as described upwards: a perfect intense red ball. I failed to totally avoid clipping (there a very little area clipped, but there is some), but that should be enough to get the effect. Or that I thought… Now, trying to edit it, I find that it’s difficult for me to get this compact intense red feeling. Sun tends to be white, or oversaturated, or just soft red (like in this rendition).

I’m curious to see how would you deal with this. On dt 3.8, as I am, of course, but also on dt 3.9 with the new improvements coming (please, explain a bit what you’re doing if you are not too busy, so that I can understand this and learn for when 3.9 is more advanced and I decide to change into it). Or any other software, of course. This is PlayRaw!





Well, I’m a bit confused, for a simple RGB curve did partially the trick… but in the opposite way I could think. Adding brilliance (and not resting) to the highlights made the red more strong. Resting makes it more white. I suppose that’s due to the other processing methods in use (reconstructing, saturation for highlights…) But this is, at least, counter-intuitive.

20220226-1919-01708.arw.xmp (11.0 KB)

Anyway, I’m desiring to see editing options and concepts. For example: would you make the sun reveal more by any mean (lightness, contrast, saturation…)?


Thank you for sharing this very beautiful photograph.
Filmulator +1EV then GIMP. I have not really achieved what you require - perhaps just a little more colour in the clouds close to the sun.

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Very nice image, thanks for sharing.

All i did to bring back the full red sun was to raise white relative exposure in filmic. Seemed to do the trick quite well.


Done in RT

Not sure I have it any better


My version…
"Graciñas por capturar este instante "

Darktable 3.9.0~git24.477bc5c41a-1
20220226-1919-01708.arw.xmp (17.0 KB)


20220226-1919-01708.arw.xmp (11.6 KB)

DT 3.8


Yes, it does. Unless you push the exposition up, as I was trying. Then it seems not to be enough…
Or perhaps (probably) I was trying to get something too unnatural, expecting to get a more relevant sun while the reality of the instant was that is so impressive for being yet dark… so perhaps the wrong part is just me trying to get two opposite directions at the same time.

Not a red sun.
I’ve increased a lot the saturation but at the end I’ve compressed the rec2020 gamut to srgb.

20220226-1919-01708b.pfi (57.3 KB)

With white balance

20220226-1919-01708.pfi (57.3 KB)


I played around last night and had something similar to a few edits here… was targeting mostly channel mixer and color calibration…but it was hard with the cloud or atmospheric artifacts on the sun that are not red…boosting the sun often produced what looks like artifacts…so it can be tricky…

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20220226-1919-01708.arw.xmp (21.5 KB)


Yes, exactly, that’s what disturbs me more…

That’s the closest to what was there! Sun was this red, exactly.

20220226-1919-01708-2.jpg.out.pp3 (14,8 KB)