PhotoZAP 19: Dynamic Sunset

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“I can wander around this image and just get lost in the interplay of shapes, forms, and complementary colors.”—Jack Howard

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© Steve R. Veilleux, Manchester, CT. Gear: Canon EOS-1 Mark III, Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens. Exposure: 3 separate exposures combined (f/4 at 1/90 sec, f/5.6 at 1/125 sec, and f/3.5 at 1/45 sec).

Photographer’s statement: “The sunset was one of many taken while I was vacationing at Pismo Beach in California. I combined the photos using PhotoMatix Pro software. I used the product's tone compression option in order to achieve the final effect.”

Our critics say:

Jack Howard: On the surface there are so many things many would call "wrong" with this image: curved horizon, and serious vignetting for example, but I am crazy about this image. It is nice to see an HDR workflow that is used in a controlled manner just to pop up the sky colors but leaves the pier and hills deep in shadows. I can't look at this image and not think of the forms of great whales: humpbacks and blue whales, and ocean sounds. Here's one of those images where all those hard "rules" about what you must do just go out the window. I can wander around this image and just get lost in the interplay of shapes, forms, and complementary colors.

Monica Cipnic: I always enjoy photographs of the beach, and sunsets are a plus. I do like the texture of the sand and the birds at the shoreline, but the composition (especially the left third of the image with the wisp of cloud just out of the frame and the moon), curved horizon with the vignetting, and the posterization within the HDR in the sky take away from this shot for me.

Mason Resnick: This shot is a great example of successfully breaking the rules. The photographer took a scene without a strong specific focal point and used the lens’s distortion and vignetting to guide the viewer and create a dynamic composition. And I agree with Jack that HDR is subtle here, just enough to bring out details in highlight and shadow areas.

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