A Glowing Fall Sunset at Oak Grove Lake Park

Sunburst through the trees at Oak Grove Lake Park in Chesapeake, VA

Through the trees I spy…

I was about ready to pack up my gear and head home from Oak Grove Lake Park when I noticed the fan of shadows on the ground, cast by the fall sunset through the trees. I couldn’t pass up the magical lighting and decided to pause once more before heading toward my car.

Sunburst through the trees at Oak Grove Lake Park in Chesapeake, VA

Captivated by the colors and shadows, I set up my tripod on the side of the walking path and patiently waited for those enjoying an evening stroll to pass by so I could capture this 5-frame HDR. I set my Canon 6D and 16-35mm lens to f/16 (a small aperture creates a sunburst effect without the use of a filter) and then fired off five bracketed shots.

After loading the photos into Lightroom I jumped over to Aurora HDR 2017. I’ve been thrilled with Aurora’s default merge on my fall color photos – all I did was a bit of fine-tuning and a couple of selective adjustments. Once back in Lightroom I straightened the horizon, applied sharpening and added a slight vignette.

I think the end result is magical. Fall sunsets are stunning!

Why didn’t I add a vignette in Aurora HDR?

Aurora HDR has a decent vignette palette, but there are a couple of reasons I prefer to add vignettes a bit later in my post-processing workflow:

  1. Aurora HDR doesn’t have ability to straighten images so if I applied a vignette before straightening, I’d end up cropping off parts of the vignette, possibly making the effect look awkward.
  2. Aurora’s Vignette doesn’t look as natural as Lightroom’s. Lightroom simply darkens the edges while Aurora’s vignette seems to mess with the color creating darker and oversaturated edges.

Fall color is just starting to appear around Hampton Roads. I look forward to capturing more vivid fall sunsets in the near future!

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