Another Lake Nippissing Sunset
by Peter Menard
(North Bay, Ontario, Canada)
As the sun was going down behind a bank of clouds it was reflecting in the lake. I also liked the way the sun lit up the clouds above it.
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This is a great sunset. It has all the right elements – sun, reflection, and some cloud.
It may come as a surprise to see cloud as an element of a great sunset, but it really is. Take away the cloud and all we have is a colourful, but very plain, sky.
Other things that are good about Peter's photo are the crop he has used. It's not quite square, but it's much squarer than what came out of the camera. The square crop has spent some time in the wilderness, and I for one think it is well worth bringing it back in from the cold!
I would recommend giving a crop like this a go on a lot of photos. We've become used to using either what came out of our cameras, or using what our local print shop can produce. Why not give a different crop a try? If it un-balances the photo in some way, there's always the 'undo' button.
So what could be improved? I would have loved to see more of the sun, rather than the top quarter only peeking out from above that cloud. I appreciate that this just might not have been possible though. Sunsets can change quickly, and by the time you're ready, it may be passed its prime. It could also be that in this case, there was never a moment when a fuller sun was available to photograph.
There is something else that I would offer as a tip – process this photo a little. It seems just a bit washed out. I would first boost the contrast a little. Then, try saturating the image a little. Don't overdo either of these though, as going too far will cause the photo to 'posturise' – or break up into blocks of colour.
Finally, I would add a touch of sharpening. It will highlight the clouds.
Doing this will really make this sunset come alive.
All in all, good shot Peter, and thanks for submitting it.
Ed has had a go at improving Peter's photo. You can see his before and after here.
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