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Cape Cod Sunset

This shot wasn't really planned, which may be part of why I like it so much. I was headed to the beach to do a sunset portrait session, and walking behind the dunes I saw the sun adding a nice glow to the beach grass. I quickly lined up and got this:

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The settings I was using ended up at 1/2000, f/2.5, ISO 160. I have an import preset that does nothing but apply the lens correction profile so this has already been done here. The first thing I wanted to see was if the sky could be rescued so I applied highlights -100, whites -25. A boost in contrast and a slightly S shaped tone curve gave me hope I would get what I wanted:

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The foreground still looked dark to me so I added shadows and blacks +25. The image still looked a bit flat at this point, some experiments led me to clarity +15, vibrance +50, saturation +5. Lastly, I wanted the photo to scream "GOLDEN HOUR" so I raised the temperature from the as shot 4400 to 5000. Final result:

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My wife liked this enough to have a canvas printed as an anniversary gift so I consider this a smashing success.

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