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I have to say, sunsets are harsh. High-contrast yellows, oranges, reds... for someone who tends to shoot natural light in storms or fog, it's not something i'm entirely comfortable shooting or editing. Throw in a raging brush fire? Alright, we'll adapt.


Racing the sun, we parked and sprinted up this rather steep hill with about 30 lbs of equipment. To get everything in focus and to compensate for the incredible amount of light hitting the sensor, i promptly stopped all the way down to F10. An aperture that small blows your depth of field wide open so you're sure to get some detail in both the foreground & background. It also creates a lovely star burst when you're pointed directly at the sun, which Siskel and Ebert give two thumbs up.


Additionally, with most of the light coming from behind the model, I had to use a flash fill to expose her face and the forground. Otherwise, we're just seeing a pretty silhouette.


aaaaand... CLICK.


(Fun Fact: I destroyed a brand new an air mattress and tore a foot long rip in my pant leg in the 15 minutes we were on the hill. The air mattress was used for some earlier falling shots. Did i mention it was raining burning embers?)


In post, it took a while to find the right colors and treatment for this shot. Turns out the trick was to desaturate the colors a bit, compensate for the high-contrast with some milkier tones, and fight the fiery reds with subtle blues and magentas.


Above is the end result.


model: kayla varley


Canon 5D Mark II

16mm (Canon 16-35mm F2.8L)

F10 @ 1/200

400 ISO

Canon Speedlite 580EX II

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Taken on September 4, 2011