I don’t get very excited by sunset pictures. The obvious problem: we are inundated with sunset pictures.

But my Tofino trip with David Clow changed that. Tofino sunsets can be spectacular. Especially at very low tide. This image was made around summer solstice, when days and sunsets last ‘forever’. This area is a photographer’s dream: gorgeous coastal scenery, marine life, inter-tidal life, rainforests, foggy days, etc.

This is a bit of an out-of-the-box sunset as the sun is not in the frame.

Ingredients: The Unusual, Simplicity, Tension in the visual order, Tonal Balance.

The strong lines in this image as well as the balance in tone between left-bottom and right-top may be the main reason for its appeal. But there is also a degree of tension between conflicting directions in the elements of the visual design.

The brightest area of this image, in the left top, strongly attracts the eye. The general lines in the image do not support that the eye should move in that direction. To soften this conflict (tension) an attempt was made in PS to improve the tonal balance between the left top and right bottom of this image. First, with the rapid selection tool the bottom half of the image was selected and increased in exposure by a factor 0.17. Next I moved the tool to the top edge of the next lower bright band and again I selected the entire picture below that. This process was repeated until I reached the bottom of the image. Therefore the cyan band at the bottom was increased in exposure by a factor 0.17 multiple times. Now there is better tonal balance between left-top and right-bottom of this image, preventing the eye from ‘flying out of the left top.’

Tension in images is created when elements of the visual design seem to be in conflict. Often tension is excessive and works against an image. A minor degree of tension can actually be a positive and may serve to make an image interesting or ‘sexy’. An argument could be made for considering minor degrees of tension ingredients in their own right.

In this image a graduated neutral density filter might have achieved the same effect.

Understanding how The Ingredients affect the success of your images will assist you in choosing the most effective post production edits which help strengthen the ingredients.

Sony ILCE-7RM2, Lens: FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS, ISO 125, f-22, 1/30 sec., tripod.