My words and my pictures. All I have

Sunset fire and Photoshop curves


I finally decided to take the leap and learn how to use the big stuff in Photoshop. I took some shots of a lovely sunset about a week ago, and it was lovely precisely because it was a cloudy day. Clouds make stunning sunsets, with the play of light and colors they create.

The sky was breathtaking, and there were moments when I forgot to adjust the settings and press the shutter because I was staring open-mouthed at the magic happening in front of me. So far, all was well. The problem showed up when I downloaded the pictures and I noticed a great difference in exposure between the sky and the sea, which left me with shots where the sky was amazing and the sea was just a dark mass below. Of course the sea was naturally darker than the sky, but it wasn’t that dark.

What to do? Surf the web for tips and inspiration, since it’s a long weekend and I have the time. I’ve been wanting to learn about levels and curves for a while, so I took advantage of this chance and used curves adjustments on the sea in these pictures. I’m a hands-on kind of person – I’ll google to get the basics of something, and then I’ll go straight to practicing and keep learning that way.

I’m no expert, and I was just experimenting a way to improve my pictures, but I rather like the results. The sky’s still as bright and fiery as before, and the sea glows in just the right way without being neither overly bright nor dark in an unappealing way, plus it made the boats stand out just enough to add the picturesque touch they always add (they were invisible before I edited the pictures, ‘cause they blended with the dark sea).

So my conclusion is, if you have a shot you’re not a hundred percent satisfied with, try post-processing – you’ll most likely find a way to improve it.


21 thoughts on “Sunset fire and Photoshop curves

  1. I loveeeeeeeeeee this post!! Great colors, u’re gonna get really good at Photoshop :O))

  2. I think you did a pretty good job!

  3. Awesome edits, the ones at the end with the lovely pink sky and the dark blue water are my favourites, the pink and the blue contrast really well 🙂

    • Thanks! Those are my favorites, too, and I agree that the contrast is very appealing. That’s exactly what the real scene looked like, with the sea glowing in what remained of the sunlight, and I’m really happy I managed to get the real look 🙂

  4. Like like! i use levels more. 😀

  5. Photoshop isn’t easy for me, but I do try now and then to learn. When I get frustrated, and can’t figure it out, I use A much easier way to modify pictures for those of us who are Photoshop-challenged.

    Nice post.

    • I remember the first time I opened Photoshop – all I could do was open and close it, I had no idea what anything was about, what the tools were for, nada. I started playing with brushes, textures, filters, making wallpapers with my favorite movies; I took it slowly and googled a lot, there are many interesting and simple tutorials out there than can help you improve your skills a lot.
      It’s just a matter of having the time and being persistent. I still have tons to learn, but it’s so much fun, I don’t mind at all!

  6. Enchanting sunsets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 I took almost 400 shots that day, and only these are post-worthy, so you see, it truly is persistence and practice that make perfect! (And by no means am I calling myself perfect, I’m just learning!)

  7. Beautiful colors! I like what you did. Photoshop can help with a world of things, and even turn photos into something magical.

    I’m a hands-on learner too. I have to do it to get it. 🙂

    • Thanks, Robin! Photoshop rocks; I want to try using textures on some of my shots to see if I can get something artsy. If I get some good pics I’ll post them.
      Yeah, I’ll only look something up when I meet a wall in my practice, but otherwise, I try everything to find out what it does.

  8. beautiful! have you tried lightroom? ou can do so much of the same stuff as in photoshop, but i think it is much more user friendl…or atleast easier to use. believe it or not i barely go to photoshop anymore!

    • I’ll have to download a free trial version and see what it’s about. The things is, once I’ve learnt how to use Photoshop, the idea of having to start from zero with a new program makes me feel kind of lazy. Maybe during the winter or summer holidays, when I have plenty of free time.
      Thanks for the advice!

  9. Beautiful sunsets, and your post-processing makes them even better. Your next challenge will be to bracket shots and blend them together using layers and gradients. That way you won’t be limited by the dynamic range that the camera can handle, and you wont have to push the shadows so much…isn’t this post-processing stuff fun!

    • Thanks! I’ve tried HDR, but since my camera is a point-and-shoot, it means extra work for me, and it doesn’t turn out so great. It’s something I’m going to try as soon as I get my DSLR, which will hopefully be next year. In the mean time, I’m having lots of fun with my camera and Photoshop!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I can’t stress enough how much I’m in love with sunsets and the sky in general. When I die I wish to be reincarnated as a wisp of cloud that would hover around each sunset (and sunrise). And then maybe you could take beautiful shots of me 😉

    • LOL. You’re very creative lately, Michelle. I get how in love you are, but I dare say I love sunsets more than you do; I found my soul watching a sunset, after all :).
      I promise I’d take pictures of you if you ever reincarnated in a wisp of cloud, or any other element of nature, for that matter :).

      • They say that if you really love someone, or something, you should know how to let them go. So okay, since you’ve declared that you love the sunset more than I do.. I relinquish 😀

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