Flaming sunsets

I need to start by confessing that I'm not a fan of sunset photographs or more specifically not a fan of what I think of as a conventional sunset. That is to say that a splash of colour is not enough to save an otherwise dull photograph if it's just a strip of horizon with the sun dipping down.

For example this is a photograph I do like:
Sunset at Arisaig

Here the sun is setting behind the hill to the right, kept out of shot, while I've focussed on the tree in the middle distance, silhouetting it's shape against the sky and waited for a gull to fly into an appropriate area of frame to add a further point of interest. In post processing the black point has been adjusted to enhance the contrast against the background (and an additional, distracting, gull has been cloned out). 

But I'm less keen on this:
Sunset at Camusdarach

I think of this as a more conventional shot. I've arranged the composition so that the reflection falls between the rocks and is placed approx on the one third line. Competent but for me dull, the saving grace is that I like the way the reflection of the sun makes an inverted exclamation mark (in my mind anyway, maybe not for you).

Here's another more subtle image:
Sunset over Eigg and Rum

No hill here, instead I've just pointed the camera away from the sun slightly, using the rocky outcrops to give some shape to the foreground while the islands appear softly in the distance.

Here with a more dramatic sky:
Sunset from Cullipool, Luing

I'm a fan of interesting clouds, here the sky has obliged and this could equally be considered a sunset or a cloudscape.

With filters:
Sunset at Camas Rubha a Mhurain, Arisaig

I have some Lee graduated sunset filters, essentially graduated yellow, orange and red filters. I use these to enhance skies when shooting for black & white but it seemed a shame not to give them a go when shooting their namesake. The result is certainly dramatic but I don't think I'd want too many of these.

After the sun:
Oban at night

The colour doesn't always have to come from the sun, here the sun has dropped giving a deep blue colour in the sky but the colours of interest come from the street lights and the sea front illuminations.


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