An outrageous sunset in Cape Town

HDR sunset photo from Woodstock

I don't often "fiddle" with our daily photos much, but decided this time to try and compile an HDR version of the the spectacular sunset that we had last Wednesday. And, while this is an HDR photo, I didn't play with the colours and didn't fiddle with brushes or weird filters to alter the original photos in any way.

If you're unfamiliar with HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography, give me a moment to explain. Typically, when humans look at high-contrast scenes (like sunsets) our eyes adjust so quickly that we're able to see detail in a huge amount of contrast - from the very bright sun dipping below the horizon, to the dark shadows caused by mountains, buildings and other obstacles.

HDR photos are typically composed of three or more photos of exactly the same scene, taken one after the other from exactly the same position, only at different exposures - meaning that one photo will be really dark (underexposed), one will be really bright (overexposed) and one will be properly exposed.

One then uses software to merge the three (or more) photos into a single picture that typically takes the best from all three photos and combines them into a single photo. My photo above got a little out of hand (with the eerie-looking shadows creeping along the road and down from Devil's Peak) ending up looking perhaps like the scene belongs more in a movie about demons and vampires.

PS. I promise, there are no vampires in Cape Town. Demons, however - there are plenty - we've been battling several of them at work in the last week! ;)

18 thoughts on “An outrageous sunset in Cape Town

  1. Kathy S

    I had not heard of HDR but cannot stop looking into this exciting shot. Thank you for your wonderful photos throughout the year. Seasons greeting to you and your family. Its snowing and the sun is shining at the same time here in Surrey, UK.

  2. Paul

    Post author

    Hey guys, thanks, and KathyS – it’s really a pleasure, and thanks to you (and everyone else) for being around to make CTDP worthwhile. :)

  3. mjw

    This reminds me that I’m still working on a test HDR shot from months ago – three photos, compiled and edited BY HAND in The GIMP because I don’t have fancy software.

    Love your shot though.

  4. Paul

    Post author

    mjw, I’d actually love for you to fiddle the photos that I have to see what you’re able to do with them. Let me know if you’re keen.

  5. Paul

    Post author

    I mean that I have three photos at different exposures, which (if you’re keen) I’d be keen for you to… erm… The_GIMPify into an HDR photo. I think doing it by hand could produce better results. But, only if it’s something you’d like to try. :)

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