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Jollylinjo

Sunset on Cable Beach



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Behind The Lens

Location
This was taken on Cable Beach in Broome in Western Australia in June 2013. We had just completed an expedition cruise along the Kimberley coastline and were staying in Broome for a couple of extra nights before flying home.
Time
The photo was taken at about 6.45pm, probably about 15 to 20 minutes before the sun dipped below the horizon. There is a local company that conducts sunset camel rides every day. They walk up the beach for about a kilometer then back again. There were three groups of camels out that day.
Lighting
There wasn't anything I could do with the lighting. I took most of the photos that day looking directly into the sun. This photo was actually taken when the sun was behind the cloud so more details of the people on the camels can be seen. The colours reflected off the clouds onto the sand were amazing though. Other photos I took with the sun below the clouds resulted in some great silhouettes. I was taking photos for about 50 minutes in total, from when the camels first started walking up the beach until after the sun had completely set. The light changed somewhat as the sun was sometimes behind the clouds and sometimes below the cloud level. The light changed again after the sun had completely dipped below the horizon. I took the photos on P mode so the aperture changed according to the lighting.
Equipment
This photo was taken with my Canon EOS 450D. I usually take photos using the P mode and adjust the ISO and white balance. For sunny days like this, I set the ISO on 100 and the white balance on the bright sunny setting. P mode was the most convenient in this situation as I was constantly on the move so didn't have the time to change settings along the way. Due to the fact that I was running along the beach to keep up with the camels, no tripod was used.
Inspiration
I would never do a camel ride myself as I don't like heights! I had seen some photos that a friend of mine had taken while visiting Broome. She had gone out with a professional photographer who showed her the best settings to use to take photos like this. Her photos were amazing! I was happy to run up and down the beach following the camels, taking as many photos as I could along the way. The camels in the foreground make for far more interesting photos than just the stunning sunset by itself. I have posted some other photos I took this day on ViewBug if you want to see some more.
Editing
I use Photoshop Elements for post-processing. The first thing I check is how straight the photo is. There is nothing worse than a horizon that dips either to the left or right! After straightening, I will crop the photo to cut out any unwanted parts. This photo was cropped slightly as I didn't include all the camels so needed to crop it so I didn't chop a camel in half. I also left some negative space at the front of the first camel, giving the impression of it walking along the beach rather than standing still. I then look at the lighting levels and adjust these to increase the depth of contrast and colour in the photo. With photos like this, I often create a lighter version as well as a darker version of the photo, then merge all three so that more details, like faces, can be seen. Lastly I adjust the colour saturation. Before I do any post-processing, I always copy all the photos into a separate folder so I still have the originals just in case something goes wrong and I want to start again.
In my camera bag
I was carrying two cameras this day, both Canons. I was alternating between this DSLR, the EOS 450D, and my point-and-shoot PowerShot SX240HS. The photos taken on both cameras were stunning! When I travel, I only take one lens for the DSLR so use the PowerShot camera in times when I need a stronger zoom lens. I have since updated the PowerShot to the SX710HS as it has a 30X zoom instead of the 20X zoom that the SX240HS has.
Feedback
Get in shape before leaving home so you can keep up with the camels! If you can select the settings you use, don't leave the camera on automatic. Shoot the photos on a setting that you don't have to make too many changes to as you go - with a moving subject, you don't have the time to play around with settings, especially if you have a new camera and aren't used to it before you leave home. If I were taking similar photos today, I would definitely bracket the photos so they can be merged together to highlight more details. And have the camera save in both jpeg and RAW so you have the choice of which one to use when planning your post-processing. Unfortunately I didn't know anything about shooting in RAW at the time but since then I have completed some on-line photography courses, one of which was on RAW. If I had this skill when I took these photos, I am sure they would be even better and more stunning that these are. And don't be afraid to literally take hundreds of photos - make the most of it in case you never get back there. You cannot take too many digital photos.

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