Sunset over Nouméa

Sunset overlooking Nouméa from Pic Malawi. Panorama stitch of 44 separate images using Photoshop CS4. Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens. Exposure Details for all 44 images: 1/25 second @ f9 ISO 400.

For today’s post I’m going back to one of the last hikes I did before leaving New Caledonia. I captured this incredible sunset from an equally incredible location: Pic Malawi, a steep mountain commanding an awesome view over the peninsula upon which the city of Nouméa resides. After a steep ascent struggling to keep up with a French Alps native, the sun began to merge with the sea as golden clouds buffeted the thickly forested hills around us. It was probably the best sunset of my life, and I was lucky enough to grab this 44 image panorama featuring our fellow colocataire (house mate) Romain, as he took in the breathtaking view. This is a 360 degree panorama, which explains why the summit on the left is sunlit, despite the sun appearing to go down somewhere behind. To view this panorama in a fuller glory simply click on the image and it will open in another page displayed in a larger format. Hope you guys enjoy it. This shot along with some others I’ve taken recently will be added to the landscape gallery on my website soon so stay posted for that. Feel free to leave any comments here on the blog. Thanks for looking, Cheers, Cam.

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11 thoughts on “Sunset over Nouméa

  1. Yep, I second Nick. Very impressive, Cam.

    Frodo is perfectly positioned, giving a good sense of perspective/depth/dimensions and draws the eye immediately. The sun and him balance the image nicely.

    So 44 exposures in total. I assume you composited them with each other to achieve the exposure range (“HDR”) as well as stitched them to achieve the 360 degrees. Care to disclose your figures? 🙂

    Cheers,
    Sam

    • Thanks Sam,

      Keen eye too. Originally I took two sets of images with the aim in mind of merging the two panoramas in a kind of mega HDR panorama experiment. However because I didn’t lug a tripod up the mountain I couldn’t get the two panoramas to align in photoshop, so I just used the panorama I originally exposed for the land. This is why you’ll notice the sun, and a bit of the sky and clouds immediately around it are actually a bit blown out, and the colour a bit off due to the use of highlights recovery in Camera RAW. So it’s not technically an HDR (or at least not a tone mapped HDR because I think I did use a bit of fill lighting for the darker areas) and it’s actually not an ideal result, I’ll definitely be attempting to improve that area before printing it or putting it on my website. Another thing I’ve tried with limited success (though not in this example) is making HDR panoramas where the bottom layer (for the land) is exposed differently than the top layer (for the sky).

      Some say HDR is cheating, but they probably don’t realise that digital doesn’t have the same range of contrast that film did so photographers are now a little forced into using other methods of getting the same range of contrast. And in many ways HDR shots actually represent more truthfully what the human eye experiences (i.e. a High Dynamic Range). Though they’re probably also reacting to just how toxic the majority of HDR images that get made are! I’m not a huge fan of them mostly, but sometimes it’s ok. Rest assured, this image was the result of a genuinely amazing sunset, not some kind of unscrupulous photoshopping.

      Cheers.

      • Hey Cam,

        I agree completely with respect to HDR. People have been inundated with non-realistic HDR images in the past and it has stained the term “HDR”. However, I am seeing less of these exaggerated images nowadays as, I believe, people are becoming accustomed to the technology and actually understanding it’s purpose – using multiple exposures to achieve the range that we humans experience, i.e, realistic representation. I suppose you could almost say a ‘good’ HDR image is one that an untrained viewer does not realise it consists of multiple photos.

        I too have tried stitching multiple exposures into a pano-hdr-hybrid-monster but I struggled with keeping lighting consistent as I panned. (I stuffed up and left it on aperture-priority and the WB changed between shots.)

        I’ve tried using single shot RAWs for “HDR” – mostly for macros since the bugs move fast and/or flash-recharging usually is not fast enough for bracketing – by adjusting the exposure during post-processing, but this tends to introduce too much noise in the under-exposed parts. It can help but usually only between -1 and +1 exposure adjustments during RAW conversion _at most_.

        Thanks for the detailed response by the way. Looking forward to more posts. And Noumea does look quite amazing.

        Cheers,
        Sam

  2. This photo reminds me of a Chinese poem I learnt when I was little, ‘…The sight of sunset is ever so beautiful,
    Regrettably as dusk fades night shall loom.’ For thousands of years, the appreciation of the boundless charm and beauty makes people sad with knowing it doesn’t last forever. Cam, you are making it possible! Keep up the good work! xo

  3. Pingback: Vanuatu Smile « CAM COPE Photography Blog

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