Na Pali Cliff Sunset

Sunset photography doesn’t have to include the setting sun.  The setting sun creates soft light and shadows on the hills, and it throws unique hues of pink and orange into the clouds and the sea. Many landscape photographers could fill books with the special light of dusk on the Earth’s features. But there is still a place for sunset photography that stars the big orange ball making a high contrast composition. That big orange setting sun was irresistible from 4,000 feet atop the Na Pali Cliffs in Kauai. From our vantage point, at the southwest end of the nearly circular island road, the sun sets over a tree lined mountain rendering the mountain as a striking silhouette.  The sun is so bright against the mountainside so dark, that I immediately thought of taking several bracketed exposures. However, once I got home and worked on the computer based processing of my images, I found my most satisfying results by processing a single image (the middle exposure) in Lightroom, Photoshop and the Nik software.  My goal through processing is to “make an image” to express my artistic vision — a process that starts with camera settings, lens choice and composition on location and ends with tone mapping and color adjustment at home. I prefer to see the mountain in silhouette, and to balance the tones and colors of the sky, the clouds and the ocean. Here are three of my favorite images: This one, taken right after the sun slipped behind the mountain, was finished in Nik’s Viveza software:

After sunset over Na Pali Cliffs from 4,000 ft. elevation
After sunset over Na Pali Cliffs from 4,000 ft. elevation

And these last two images are the same image #1262, first processed in Nik HDR Pro…

Sunset over Na Pali Cliffs, controlling high dynamic range.
Sunset over Na Pali Cliffs, controlling high dynamic range.

and the second processed in Nik Color Efex.   I will be interested in your opinions about the images you like the best.

Sunset over Na Pali Cliffs in silhouette
Sunset over Na Pali Cliffs in silhouette

With different photographers,  different artistic visions, different conditions — there are countless variations on this theme.

Author: cathykellyphotography

Independent photographer based in Pittsburgh PA and Naples FL. Nature, landscape and portrait photography. Portfolio includes international work in USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Email cathykellyphotography@gmail.com to review work in your area of interest. Nature portfolio includes flowers and wildlife. Prints and digital files for sale. See website: www.cathykellyphotography.com.