How do you make a sunset more than a pretty picture? To really connect with your audience some emotion or feeling needs to be conveyed.
What are you feeling when you are making the image? What attracted you to the scene? What do you want to say?
When I first started asking myself these questions it was difficult! Hmm… what do I want to say about this pretty lake? Ummm…
Oddly my mood when I made this first image was rather annoyed! The bugs were outrageous, I got eaten alive. I thought I probably didn’t want to convey that. But it led me to create an image that is on the harsher side, emphasizing the dramatic clouds with deep contrast. The portrait orientation has more tension. Also in post-processing I didn’t want this image to be too blue, I wanted it to be dark and dramatic.
Once I put my jacket on and the sun dipped below the horizon, everything seemed to calm down. Fewer bites, less wind, softer colours. Now I wanted to make an image that was peaceful. The long exposure allowed me to blur the water to make it soft. The landscape orientation of the image is more relaxing with the elongated horizon. In post-processing, I emphasized the blue just a little.
Isn’t it amazing how different these images are? Incidentally, they were taken about 45 minutes apart and they are both HDR images made up of multiple exposures.