Sunset At South Shore of O’ahu (Hawaii)

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I already featured the photo I took almost from exactly the same spot while visiting Hawaii (Sunrise Over South Shore of O’ahu). The big difference though between two shots is the photo below I took at the sunset and the previously published shot was taken at sunrise.

It is not often you came across the place which is perfect for both sunset and sunrise photography. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail on the O’ahu island of Hawaii is one of those amazing spots.

Hawaii. O’ahu Island. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
Loc: 21.304722, -157.651389

Shooting

This is an extreme example of sunset photography. I was shooting directly into the sun, but it was already partly shielded by the Koko Head Mountain making the shadows of the scene very dark. The light of the scene was very dynamic. When I checked the dynamic range of the HDR image during the processing phase, the value was 19.3 stops.

Here are some dynamic range values for you to compare:

  • Scene: 19.3 stops
  • The human eye can see: up to 14 stops of light
  • Sony a6000 sensor: 11.4 stops
  • Computer monitor: 8 stops

The human eye is considered to be the best and the most sophisticated optical device, but even a human eye can not see the entire range of the light here.

This was the perfect scenario to use HDR photography and I took 3 bracketed shots with 2EV intervals (-2, 0, +2) on a tripod.

Processing

I started with merging 3 bracketed shots for HDR using the new Lightroom Merge tool. I have a dedicated tutorial for this technique: “Lightroom HDR – Natural Looking HDR In Lightroom”.

Later I used Lightroom Rapid Editing for Landscapes (read my tutorial here), applying End of Summer preset from Landscape Collection and adjusting the exposure (image was underexposed) with the ToolKit.

The Lightroom Editing Formula: End of Summer (1, 20, 31, 34)

In Photoshop, besides regular editing (contrast, color correction, noise reduction), I spent at least 20min to clean up the scene with the Stamp Tool and to remove tree branches from the bottom left corner

Also, with the help of the Topaz Star Effects plugin, I emphasized the starburst effect of the sun and to add the sun flare (see Before & After transformation below).

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Processing: Lightroom HDR Preset Based Workflow

Lightroom: import, tagging, cropping, HDR Merge, preset based processing (End of Summer preset from Landscape Collection).
Photoshop: contrast, color correction, cleaning with the help of the Stamp Tool.

Photoshop Plugins: 

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