Scott Davenport Photography
Photography - Education - Fun



Grow your composition skills & camera technique with In The Field videos. Watch In Post videos for processing tips and tricks. Also check out the ON1 Photo RAWLightroom and Luminar Learning Centers for deeper dives on individual topics.


Join me on a workshop and improve your craft. Fall 2018 workshops are sold out. 2019 workshops will be announced in October. Join my mailing list and be the first to know when new workshops are announced.


Photos are meant to be seen! Let me see the world through your lens. Follow me on social media and share your work.


The Sunset Experiment

Choosing a composition and sticking with it throughout a sunset - or any landscape - opens up some interesting possibilities for crafting a unique image. It's a rare treat when my schedule allows me to shoot a sunset. Maybe once a month. So when I get a sunset chance, I shoot a lot of frames - especially when the sky is gorgeous. On this occasion, my tripod were firmly planted in the same spot for at least 30 minutes. As the conditions changed, I used a cable release to take sequences of exposures.

Over the last two weeks I've been experimenting with the shots from that outing. With each photo, I focused less on producing an end photo and more on "generating ideas" - to borrow a phrase from Trey Ratcliff. I processed each set of exposures in a different way. And usually on a different day, which adds in new factors such as my mood, what time of the day I was working on the photos, what music I was listening to ... all things that, consciously or subconsciously, manifest in the photo.

A few words about the images you see above:

  • 17:25: An HDR of 9 bracketed shots. I specifically took this shot when the sun momentarily peeked through the cloud cover, casting wonderful golden tones on the rocks. I focused on the rocks when processing this photo.
  • 17:36: An HDR of 9 bracketed shots. The sun firmly nestled behind the growing marine layer, the clouds ever-changing, the scene felt softer. The rocks in the foreground are toned down, the sky softer, it wanted a calmer feel.
  • 17:43: An HDR of 9 bracketed shots. The clouds further dissipated and on scene it was already getting notably darker. I chose to move in the direction of a "twilight" feel, adding a light purple cast to the sky. The foreground rocks are amped up just a touch.
  • Blend: Purely in the "generate ideas" mode. Looking at the first three images I'd created, I really liked the golden rocks from 17:25 and the twilight sky of 17:43. Using 17:43 as the base, I masked in a hint of the golden rocks. Pushing too far made my brain reject the photo as artificial ... so just a hint of gold.
  • 17:44: A single exposure. How quickly the skies change ... I kept with the "twilight" processing. With a single exposure, only so much shadow recovery could be done, so the rocks are very dark. I focused on the sky.
  • Multi-Blend: A merge of the sky from 17:44 and the foreground rocks from "Blend". In my opinion, HDR processing can push a sky too far sometimes. Here, I reigned in the sky while keeping that extra texture in the rocks.

So what's my favorite? I like 17:25 for the overall punch it has, how it grabs my attention, and those sweet golden rocks. I also like the Multi-Blend, the calmer feel of the soft sky with just a hint of that fading golden light. Although, in the Multi-Blend, I feel I want to bring back in some of the rolling surf for just a bit more mid-ground interest.

So maybe I'm not done "generating ideas" just yet.