A beautiful prairie sunset over a field of ripe canola. Canon EOS 7D EF-S 10-22mm at 22mm f/5 1/250 ISO 200 -.67EV
I have returned to the prairies and although I love Vancouver Island and it has definitely become home for me there is something very special about the draw of these skies. There is an openness here, a welcoming in the landscape that doesn’t try to overwhelm you the way that giant forests, towering mountains, or rushing rivers do. You can simply ‘be’ here and there is a wonderful sense of self that grows in the solitude of those wide open spaces that helps you understand your place in the world. You can pull in a breath, let it go and you understand a little more.
Getting an image that has a glowing sunset over a foreground that is not completely black can be a challenge and I am not sure that I have completely succeeded here. I wanted a sweeping landscape that told more of a story than just the beautiful colours of a the sunset. I wanted a sense of place and space that was evocative of the prairie in a special way. I exposed for the sunset without letting the foreground canola go completely dark. This is where the value of a RAW file comes into play. I was able to use the dodge (lighten) tool in Aperture to paint in a lighter exposure and bring back the detail in the canola flowers. In my experience it is better to expose for the highlights and then allow the software to pull the detail out of the dark areas of the photo. They are there but the camera sensor cannot display them without a little help. I then added a touch of the shadow tool to finish the job and increased the saturation to give the sunset a bit more punch. Below I have included a copy of the same image before I started doing any processing.