Sunset Stepping to the White Pocket Citadel

As evening appeared, White Pocket began the nightly tonal transition from bright sunlight through golden and blue light to nighttime.  This image was taken at that special transition of refracted light from the last remaining sunset bouncing off of Altocumulus mid-level clouds that caused the slight reddish tone of the sand on the right of the hoof holes and a bluish casting from the dark overcast on the left side of the Navajo sandstone.  Only a few areas on the West side of the Citadel mound top captured some of the last sunset light.  A side note is that it is believed that these hoof holes are from cattle attempting to walk to the pool of water that often gather in the low spots on the sandstone formation.  

This photo was composed of several manually shot images.  It was quickly realized while composing this shot that two separate exposures were required.  One shot was required for the sky and another to manage the ground.  Since I am an HDR enthusiast, I also worry that I might miss up on getting all elements properly exposed.  I tend to always take multiple shots at different exposures to ensure I minimize compositional oversight, which is my post-processing angst.  So for the sky, I took several images, then selected five images,  For the ground I similarly took several shots but later felt three images were working out finally.  Then both composites were merged to make this photo.  

Post-processing shows that this composite image resulted in a brightness value of 2.33 with only a -7/10 EV exposure bias.  This indicates that the three bracketed images blended retained almost 2.5 stops more light, but the calculated bit was slightly under-exposed almost 1 stop.  

Since this was the blue hour, I expected blue tints would dominate the color theme, but that wasn’t what the extract color theme revealed.  What the color wheel shows are that the bluish-gray sky and the tan and gray tints on the sandstone have a complementary harmony.  The blood orange and rust-red sky tones from the orange and red wavelengths of the visible light spectrum bouncing off of the clouds are analogous.  However, the overall image shows a diad color harmony.    As expected the tonal ranges also were very low in saturation, but that is to be expected for a blue-hour image.   This of course also indicates that post-processing avoided over-saturating the image and focused on leaning more toward luminance.    

Finally, PhotoPills was used to frame this composition, and the settings are shown below.  

Picture Info
October 26, 2022
6:43 PM MST
Sony ILCE-7RM3
FE 16-35 mm
26 mm
1/4 sec
No Flash
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