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Volcanic orange | by Lightscapes | Ramon J. Freire
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Volcanic orange

Published at, Feb 2, 2013


In 2010, we were living in leafy Richmond upon Thames, at the outskirts of London, and, unfortunately, not far away from approach path of Heathrow’s 9L runway.


No that one would actually notice the noise of the airplanes that much, after a while it was the lack of it is which felt odd and eerie.


It took an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, more that a thousand miles away, to make everyone realise how much nicer things were without the winning noise of Rolls Royce, GE or CFM engines above our heads. There was a secondary effect: all that ash that prevented aircraft from flying above us provided with sunsets one would expect to enjoy in the US’s South Western deserts.


Ramon J. Freire 2012 BY-NC-CC

I had three goals here (1) hold the exposure avoiding clippings (2) keep a crisp silhouette of the trees and the church steeple and (3) keep the orange sky as natural as possible.


It took me a while (two sessions) to get the entire combination right.


I needed to let the Sun to go significantly below the horizon, this helped with the overexposure I suffered during session one. I am, since then, never more than two clicks away from Lightrack, a fantastic App that allows you to know the Sun’s (and Moon’s) position and times, angles, shadows, the works. Any location and any time/date.


To secured the clean silhouette I knew I had to use the metering modes of my camera, I strongly recommend you play around with them.


99% of the time we all shoot with the camera in Evaluative Metering mode with the sensors gathering information of the entire scene, perfect to balance out speed/aperture for the scene. The side effect is the camera will try to ensure no area is left under/over expose and any attempt to obtain a clean silhouette will be very frustrating.


There are three alternatives to evaluative: Partial Metering will take care of 9% of the scene; Centre Weighted which will average the centre and the rest of the scene and finally the more extreme approach, Spot Metering which covers only 3.8% of the area, literally the “spot” around your focal point. This means that none of the information away of the “spot” will not be considered for the exposure adjustment, so by aiming to the sky, I knew the speed would be so high that anything but the sky would be rendered black. The vertical cliff from the middle of the histogram, follow but perfect a flat line towards the right confirmed I had it. Objective two achieved.


Objective three, keeping the orange natural, was always going to be a subjective matter, because to start with it did not look natural at all, so I left it as it was (except for some cleaning of dirt specks on the sensor).


By the way this is one of the picture I send to printing services when testing them, that gradient of orange does lot leave much room for poor results.




This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Taken on February 2, 2013