YASS (Yet Another Sunset Shot)

IMG_9872.CR3 (22.7 MB)
IMG_9872.CR3.arp (56.2 KB)
This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.

After some rain in the general area late yesterday moved on (we got none at the house) the clouds were starting to look good around dinnertime. I drove ~6 miles across town from my house to a small local lake in case things got promising. There’s no much at this location compositionally, but if the sky was good enough it might work.

Well, the sky never got “good enough”. :slight_smile:

But since I was set up, I kept pushing the button. This was about all I could make of it.

Converted / edited in ART 1.20.2, with further editing in Affinity Photo 2.

Since this is Play Raw, here are some details of the edits if anyone’s interested. IMO it helps to know what was done. If I’m familiar with the software used the sidecar can help, but if not… To me this image didn’t respond well when I got too heavy-handed, so it was a balance of sorts.


  • Tone EQ for overall balance
  • HIghlights precompression to tame (a bit) the two artificial lights on the far left shore. I’m a little torn, since I’d like to lose them and their reflection (too much effort) but they do provide a bit of interest in a way.
  • Very dialed-back RL convo sharpening (far tree line only, basically) and a little luminosity NR
  • Slight chromaticity bump from the L*a*b* Adjustments tool.
  • Local contrast on the foreground rocks and (barely) on the lily pads to aid definition
  • Color/Tone Correction mask layers:
    • Global color grading - Pushed the warms warmer and cools cooler
    • Clouds - Tonal adjustments
    • Orange parts of the sky - Tonal and very slight saturation adjustments
    • Water lilies - Very subtle saturation and tonal tweaks to make them a little more visible
    • Foreground rocks - Tonal adjustments
  • Slight gradient on the upper sky
  • Crop 1:1
  • Lens correction, exif user comment, etc.



The Corrections layer is various things I removed with the Inpainting tool (a couple of shore lights, floating leaves, etc.). Nothing major. WB adjustment was to further de-magenta it a tad. The four Exposure and Vibrance (sat) layers are selective tonal and color adjustments painted in through masks.


Thanks for the image. My attempt with DT 4.4.2

Looking at it in the browser, might have over-egged the orange a little. In DT it looks fine. I liked the contrast between the orange, dark clouds and the light blue sky peeking in over the top.

What was done.

  • My normal process.
  • Two staggered graduated density Orange & Grey.

IMG_9872.CR3.xmp (22.8 KB)


Yeah, trying to take advantage of the color in both the bright(er) sky and dark clouds was a challenge. But it’s fun to see how much time I can waste on it! LOL

Debian 12 Xfce + Rawtherapee 5.9 + Gimp 2.10.34


IMG_9872.CR3.xmp (17.4 KB)


Here’s my go. :slight_smile: Thanks for posting!

IMG_9872.CR3.xmp (12.9 KB)

I started with boosting contrast in sigmoid, set the exposure for the foreground, then applied a second instance of exposure with a graduated drawn mask to bring the sky down. Then boosted highlight saturation a little, and and applied some fairly heavy-handed colour grading, all in color balance rgb. Pushed shadows to blue, midtones to reddish and highlights to orange. Something like that anyway. :slight_smile: I decided I liked it with a square crop. This is what I ended up with…

1 Like

Nice open treatment, not too heavy. There’s already enough weight in that cloud! :slight_smile:


That’s interesting… you can almost see the sky and clouds in reverse! Cool.

1 Like

My version…

IMG_9872.CR3.xmp (15.4 KB)


That’s actually very accurate to what I saw. Visually it was just a touch lighter when I was shooting but it was getting dark very quickly. Nice balance.


IMG_9872.CR3.xmp (16.3 KB)


IMG_9872.CR3.xmp (12.3 KB)



Well, wouldn’t you know it… :frowning_face:

Yesterday I headed out and ended up with the so-so image above. This afternoon my wife asks if I’m going out again to shoot the sunset. I said, no - There’s too much high level cirrus and such. And as sunset time approached, I was right. It was totally overcast - dull, even grey skies. Well, at least I wasn’t missing anything and I felt good about my decision.

Except about three minutes after sunset time, I apparently did miss something. Something apparently spectacular. Something I was hoping for yesterday.

This is the western “view” from my excuse for a backyard, across my neighbor’s backyard (cellphone shots):

Digital zoom:

And surprisingly, the colors in these shots doesn’t come close to the real brilliant and deep saturation of orange in the sky.


But what can you do? Drive across town (at a minimum) each and every afternoon and spend an hour or two waiting on a sunset that statistically will rarely happen? Or get up at 4 AM every morning and do the same?

My idea of heaven? Living somewhere that’s open, with a view, where I could see what’s coming – sunsets or anything else – and quickly respond …like simply walking outside and taking a good shot. Some place that’s not infested with an overgrowth of those vile things called trees. And no neighborhoods…

…again, Argghhhh…



In short - yes… if that is what you wish. Some folks go to extreme lengths for their art.

I’m not as hard-core as others. But I have on occasion every morning while staying at a hotel on the beach got up early before sunrise, walked the hour to the spot to try to get the sunrise shot. Sometimes, you win - other times?

If you are on a hill with a view - there will only be so many times you take a shot before it becomes normal and not worth the bother.

I studied engineering not arts. But I do remember that at Uni - one of my friends in an art class had an assignment that they were allocated a 1m x 1m location on campus for the week. They were to submit the best 5 different paintings/ photos for that spot. I suppose my brain doesn’t work that way - but that is one way to force students to think outside the box.

Sunset 2.0 is very often a better show than the part where the sun is visible. I share your pain about not living in a nature-photography-friendly location instead of the worst traffic congestion in North America. If I was smart, I’d get into street, but it just doesn’t really motivate me.

IMG_9872.CR3.xmp (11.5 KB)


No hills here! LOL

1 Like

Yep, that’s when the sun is geometrically well-placed to illuminate a cloud deck, assuming “access”.

I guess my desire for open spaces probably has its roots in the fact I grew up in a larger-ish family (5 kids) and have lived in town (to one degree or another) all my life. Privacy had never really been in my vocabulary and it’s something I desire.

1 Like

I was in arts – I started in geology, but changed. I should’ve gone the STEM direction but never had the necessary wherewithal to make it through. Of course I ended up with more than half my career in IT (mostly unix). Go figure…

We had similar assignments and they’re good for boosting creativity, but in the end it’s a chain – one that’s only as strong as its weakest link. Right now for me, the two weakest links are me and the available subject matter (i.e., location). So even if I excelled at some other aspect, there’s still those two to bring it down. It’s kinda like a table covered in a fine linen tablecloth, set with fine china, expensive silver, cut leaded crystal and then pouring gourmet gravy over doggie doo on the plate. Technically it would be mostly great but I wouldn’t eat it! :smiley:

That said, I’m all for anything that can incrementally improve my work so in fact, I actually do that sort of thing from time to time …uhh, the square meter – not the doggy doo (just so I’m clear)!* But when there’s a built-in mandatory “limiter”, as it were, it’s more difficult to get motivated.


* Although looking at some of my past images, that might not always be clear just the same!