The “Moses” Sunset

Sunset on Elliott Bay in Seattle.
Sunset on Elliott Bay in Seattle.

Yes, I have the bug. Call it sunset-itis.

A few weeks ago, I was showing some friends (all professional photographers) around Seattle and they could not stop marveling at the light. After all, light is almost all a photographer cares about. Since we have almost constant marine layer in Seattle, even during the dead of summer we have abundant clouds, which makes for great light. Until that evening with the out-of-towners, I took Seattle light for granted.

(Note: Clicking on images will launch a larger version in a separate browsing window).

This realization dovetailed with my recent knee surgery, which prevents me from carrying the heavy gear necessary to photograph birds. So I’m trying sunsets — and maybe some sunrises. This time of year, the light comes really early (5-ish) and stays really late (10-ish) and a guys needs to sleep some.

I’ve started to learn when I might need to bracket shots for HDR vs. the magic of a single-shot capture. I also did the sunset photo above as an HDR composite but found the results too mushy in some places and too harsh in others. The single frame I ended up posting gave, I felt, a crisper picture and better colors. What do you think? The same I thought held true with the ferris wheel photo in the post that is linked below.

I got to shoot a couple scenes off the rooftop of my friends’ condo building, near the Seattle waterfront. The lead photo is what I went up to capture — the “Moses” sunset (because of the rays). I used a polarizer because of severe haze, as well as a graduated neutral density filter to balance out the sky. Also below is a quick snap of the Space Needle, just ahead of dinner.

The Space Needle, seen nestled in its neighborhood.
The Space Needle, seen nestled in its neighborhood.

This is one from winter:

A Washington State ferry leaves the Seattle waterfront.
A Washington State ferry leaves the Seattle waterfront.

Click here for some previous Seattle sunsets.

4 thoughts on “The “Moses” Sunset

  1. Thanks Renard and Graham! I think I’m liking the non-HDR version. It’s not only cleaner, it was taken earlier than the HDR version, so the boats are in a place that leads the eyes into the sunset.

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