If you follow my blog you’ll probably recognize the featured image, it’s the DongShan river (the story is here https://randomibis.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/first-sunset-of-2014-the-story-behind-the-pic/).
What you don’t know is the amount of pictures I took. It all started on a bridge, and while the clouds were quickly moving and changing their pattern in the sky I deployed my tripod and shot many sets of 5 exposures that I then proceeded to post process at home. Some of those shots were seconds away from each other, others were a few minutes away. I took 13 sets overall, and deleted two of them because I didn’t like the final result. I kept the remaining 11 and here they are:
A small difference in the position of the clouds lead to a big difference in the final result. A darker sky meant that the river would look much darker as well, while a larger opening through the clouds created a picture with a better “sunset like” theme.
Which one do I prefer? The one that I posted in my original article is the bottom one, and the reason for that is the color of the sky. It was the first sunset of the year, and I decided to make my choice based on the sky. I prefer the look of the river in the darker pictures, but they look more like a stormy moment that happens to be around sunset. That was not what I had in my mind while I was standing on that bridge. That last picture has a nice color in the sky and the mountains are still fairly visible in the distance. Since it’s an HDR of 5 exposures it would have been easy to increase the light in the darker areas around the river, but again that’s not where I wanted to focus the attention of the viewer.