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Zanzibar Sunset
Camera: K5 Photo Location: Stone Town, Zanzibar 
Posted By: sealonsf, 03-12-2012, 07:28 PM

Just got back from Tanzania. Have lots of photos to go through, but thought I'd share this sunset shot. The clouds weren't favorable for a true sunset so I was glad I got this shot before the sun went behind the clouds. I like it, but do you think the sun being blown out is too distracting?

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03-12-2012, 08:38 PM   #2
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the sunset is a bit bright for me, but I love the bottom half.
03-12-2012, 09:06 PM   #3
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I agree with Bob. What I'd do next time is take a second (assuming you used a tripod) highly underexposed shot of this scene, and then use layering to blend in a darker sun. The picture as is though is quite good as is if you crop it so that the horizon is about 1/3 the way down from the top and then remove the tree limbs. Nice! I like the shape of the boat and the silhouette effect.
03-13-2012, 08:55 AM   #4
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Thanks, that's what I was afraid of - that it would be too distracting. I won't have a chance to fly 30 hours (almost!) to Zanzibar again any time soon to reshoot the shot, so I'll see what I can do. Will try the different cropping too. I always like to have something in the foreground (the limbs), but I can see that it could just muddle the picture here. Thanks for the comments. (And, it was a hand-held photo.)


Last edited by sealonsf; 03-13-2012 at 08:55 AM. Reason: added last thought
03-13-2012, 08:58 AM   #5
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Here it is again -- better?

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03-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #6
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I like the original version with the sun fully in the frame (other than the posterization in the lower sky, if you're going to print be sure to use a 16-bit tiff file if possible). The hazy overcast gives just enough cushion to the blown-out sun that it works, kind of a film look. But I also agree that cropping out the branch is better here; makes a strong clean composition. I don't think you can really blend in a correctly exposed sun anyway, or maybe I should say for normal photography a correctly-exposed sun is going to be blown out, period.
03-13-2012, 09:22 AM   #7
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I'm glad you cropped out the tree branches on the lower right but I also liked the one with the full sun it it better. It is part of why you took the shot in the first place and is what it is. Makes the scene IMHO.
03-13-2012, 09:28 AM   #8
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Well, as you can see, there are no rules here. Although the sun is too bright for my taste, it may not be to yourself or to others, and I do like the subtle expression of the clouds.

Did you take the picture in RAW or JPEG format? Another thing to consider trying, if you used RAW, is to create a duplicate of the original and underexpose it by a few stops, then try blending. You'll still get the bright sun effect, but with trial and error in the opacity settings you might be able to recover some detail in the blowout areas and get some more color and get just the right balance you want. It's a very nice subject. I'd give it a shot!

03-13-2012, 09:38 AM   #9
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... to me.. the limitation is the viewable size on a monitor... the exposure for a shot like this is tricky.... but i like the results... dave m
03-13-2012, 09:51 AM   #10
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I'm not bothered at all by the bright sun - perhaps because I'm accustomed to such a sun hanging over the water. I love the shot - the lateen ring on the boat is both ancient and mysterious.

Jer
03-13-2012, 03:49 PM   #11
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IMO, I really like it the way it is! Always loved sunset shots and this one's unique! Tom
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