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Afterburner - Laguna Beach, California | by Jim Patterson Photography
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Afterburner - Laguna Beach, California

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The Shot

Back in December, 2009, I headed south to Orange County in southern California for a few days to spend the holidays with Kendra's family. On one day, I snuck away to the San Diego Zoo and on the drive back north, searched for nice beaches near Laguna Beach.


I had no clue where to go and ultimately found a small cove below a residential area. I headed to the rocky point and settled in for what appeared to be a lackluster sunset. A thick and gray marine layer lingered offshore.


I am trying to come up with terms for all the different types of sunset phenomenon. There are 'sizzlers' and there are 'fizzlers' know the kind that start off strong and quickly fade to nothing. Those are just big teases. There are the extreme ones from good to bad: epic' and 'dud'. This sunset was an 'afterburner'. When all hope is lost, and it is difficult to tell if the sun has even set, the color creeps in and grows, even if it isn't a sizzler or epic.


The Gear

Nikon D300

Nikkor 12-24mm @ 20mm

25 sec @ f16, ISO 100

Singh-Ray Vari-ND Fitler

Singh-Ray Daryl Benson 3-stop Reverse GND Filter

Lee Foundation Holder with 77mm Wide Angle Adapter Ring

Markins M20 Ballhead, Really Right Stuff Lever Clamp and L-plate

Gitzo GT3531 Tripod


Software & Editing

-RAW file adjustments in ACR included custom white balance, small exposure, brightness and blacks adjustment. I typically do all color, constrast and sharpeneing once in Photoshop.

-In PS, contrast increased using a Basic Mid-Tones luminosity mask, color intensified using Tony Kuyper 'Make it Glow' action and opacity adjustment to taste. Tony Kuyper Saturation Mask used to desaturate areas slightly. Burn and Dodge layers through various Light and Dark luminosity masks to adjust localized contrast. Selective sharpening using Nik Sharpener Pro.

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Taken on December 27, 2009