Sunset Straw Bales

Forres, Moray, Scotland.

I am not going to make any apology for the apocalyptic looking sky suffice to say it is a good match for the Velvia transparency and is also an artifact of extended exposure time and reciprocity failure (colour shift), which I think has worked in my favour. I had to use 6.5 stops of ND Grad on the sky to get detail out of that field and of course as the sun set it got darker and darker which meant I had to introduce a fiddle factor for the reciprocity failure whilst all the time holding onto my fixed 40 ISO and an aperture that permitted the required depth of field. The sun in fact set through that sky over a period of 7 minutes. I am pleased with the apocalyptic look and hope you find it interesting too.

Pentax 67II, 90-180 zoom, 3 stop, 2 stop and 1.5 stop ND Hard Grad filter aligned with field horizon, f/16 at 7 minutes-ish. Fuji velvia 50.

Apologies for forgetting to crop off the left hand edge where the straw bale has sidled into shot.

Ian, Oh my, that is one intense sky! It seems like years, but I know and recall this intensity and those items you mention with regard to Velvia, reciprocity, etc. etc. I’ve got many a sunset/sunrises - maybe not with such a glorious sky, but certainly the colors and intensity. No apologies necessary (nor for the hay bail…)

Given the intensity of the sky/clouds, it’s amazing you were able to get the detail you did out of the field. While I personally might like to see a tad more luminosity on the field (glow from the sky would seem to be a source of light to warrant?) - but more importantly, I think the silhouette of the handful of bails is enough - and tells a story as well.



Sometimes when the volume is on high, you just have to leave it there instead of turning it down, no apologies needed. Those clouds look like waves, which is kind of neat. I can usually tell when sunset colors have been primarily achieved via processing. But this one does not look that way, it looks like how a spectacular sunset should. I am amazed how much detail you were able to maintain in the foreground, luckily you had a horizon that is Grad ND friendly.

It’s also interesting how just a slight downward slope in the horizon helps the image avoid having a static look too. And I like the use of negative space in the LRC too, it also helps make the image more dynamic. This is a gorgeous image, thank you for sharing it with us.

It’s also nice to see Scottish farmers have stuck to traditional ways. Where I live in New England, the farmers all use ugly white plastic bags on their hale bales in the field.

Nice work. I seem to remember years ago from your website or the old NPN? When I used to shoot velvia ( so who didn’t?), I never adjusted for reciprocity failure because it always seemed to enhance the image.

Great looking image Ian. Apart from the obvious tastiness of the colours I like how the motion in the sky contrasts with the stationary rolls.