Sunset silhouettes

Sunset in Central Park 

Last year, I made two trips to New York City, and both were great.  Quite obviously, there is a lot to shoot there.  I can imagine a million different things you could shoot in a city like that.  But of course, I didn't have time for them all.  :-)

One evening I made my way up to Central Park for the sunset.  I started in the Strawberry Fields area, and then wandered over to the Bow Bridge and Bethesda Fountain.  Thinking back on it, I know I left a lot of shots untaken.  

Sadly, that happens quite a bit.

When I return from a trip, I am always excited to dump the images on to my hard drive and start reviewing them.  It's sort of like Christmas morning when you are a kid.  You have some idea of what's waiting for you, but you just have to see it to believe it.

But here's what else always happens to me - I review the images, and while I find plenty that I like, I also start to think of many other ideas I could have done, but just didn't think of at the time. It's fairly disappointing, really.  And sad of course, because who knows when I may return?

Nonetheless, I did get a lot of shots that I liked, including today's photos.  As sunset was happening and the sky was all beautiful, I was firing away quite happily.

But I decided to do things very differently than I used to do.

As recently as 6 months ago (which really isn't that long ago), I would have been doing wide angle shots in full-on HDR mode.  In other words, I would have done everything possible to capture the full range of light in the scene - foreground, middle and background.  Then in post, I would merge them to HDR in Photomatix and process it like my normal HDR shots - that is, with a fairly evenly lit scene, displaying many of the details across the entire shot.

But not this time.

I opted for a completely different take on a sunset.  I thought it would be different yet interesting to silhouette the majestic skyline and focus instead on the wonderful light in the sky.  I wanted to mask the details and focus on the quality of the light and the colors.  

In other words, I knew HDR was not going to be my approach when I took these.  I knew that when I saw the sunset.  I knew that when I set up the shots, and I knew that when I pressed the shutter button.  And yes, I stuck with my decision when it was time to process these.

So even though you may leave a scene without getting everything you want, or you get home and realize some other creative things you could have done - it's still great to look back and think that you DID pick a different way of doing things, and stuck with it...and find that you rather like the results.