In the Field: This image illustrates the importance of scouting a location prior to photographing it. The image was made at Bandon Beach, Oregon in early September. My good friend, photographer Mark Bowie, and I had arrived in the early afternoon and had walked the beach looking for an interesting location from which to shoot the sunset later in the day. We returned to this location well before sunset and set up. I selected a camera position which enabled me to place the bright sun directly behind the seastack in order to cut its intensity and simplify the exposure. Even so, it was necessary to make two exposures, one for the sky (exposure 1) and a second to open up detail in the shadows (exposure 2). I used a polarizing filter to accentuate the clouds and a 10-22 mm zoom lens on a Canon 40D set at 10 mm. Using the extreme wide angle accomplished two things: First, it exaggerated the width of the shadow creating strong leading lines into the scene. Second, it expanded the view of the sky giving the impression of exploding clouds.
In the Computer: After importing the files into Lightroom, the Vibrance was increased to +21 and the Saturation to +5 in each image. The two files were then transferred to Photoshop CS4 as TIFF files, and exposure 1 (sky) was copied directly onto exposure 2 (shadows). Using a layer mask on exposure 2, the shadows, beach, and seastacks were masked over using a medium hardness brush so that the lighter exposure 2 showed through in those areas of the image. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added, and I gave +30 to the Reds and Yellows channels, +14 to the Blues channel, and +25 to the Master channel. A Color Balance Adjustment Layer was added, in which I gave +20 to the Blue slider to increase the blue in the sky. The rest of the layer was masked over. Finally, I added a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer and increased the Contrast to 60 and the Brightness to 10.