Friday, October 26, 2007

Ashes To Ashes, Dusk To Dusk

The Cold, Hard Light Of Day

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This photograph is part of a sequence I shot from my front yard about three months ago. I noticed some scattered cloud at dusk and kept an eye on the colours for the next few minutes. It started out as a combination of vivid pinks and blues, but the strong breeze changed the display very quickly as the cloud shifted. For about three minutes there was a burst of orange across the sky and I was lucky to be able to use some silhouettes to emphasise the fiery colours.

It was a really unusual scene for a winter sunset, especially this sort of effect where it looks like a bushfire. In case you're wondering, this is an original frame and it has not been enhanced in any way. As a schoolboy, I learnt how to develop my own black-and-white shots in a darkroom, so I understand all the processes involved in achieving certain effects, but I never Photoshop my images.


Corey~living and loving said...

Simply Stunning David! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful sight. loved it.

Bradley's Mom said...

All I can say is "WOW"!

That is just gorgeous beyond belief!

Thanks for sharing!!

(And thanks for all your nice words to my son....they have made my heart so happy!!)


Christine said...


And I LOVE that you don't photoshop your images. I rarely do myself, except to adjust for the poor color of the scanning or something like that. Yes, I shoot film, too...but I generally now have a CD made at time of developing so scanning is only an issue for older images.

Jo said...

Wow.....that is incredible! So glad you stopped by my site because it meant I discovered yours!

Mary said...

Absolutely stunning!!

I'm like you...I do not photoshop my pictures (or alter them in any way). I like my photos to come out just the way I took them. I love taking pictures of nature because of the brilliant colors found all around...there's no need to "fix" them!

Merisi said...

That is a truly fiery dawn of a new day! Beautiful as it is.

I do not photoshop either, is not on my roster of things that I am interested in. Too much time out of my life also.

lime said...

amazing. it looks like the sky is on fire!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Simply stunning, David.

And congrats on getting the draft of the book done! Can you get the edits complete by next week??? Daunting task, that!

CaBaCuRl said...

Hard to surpass a good sunset or sunrise shot,methinks. Loved your articles on Nhill too,

Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks for this great bog.
I really enjoyed reading it


dot said...

Beautiful sky picture!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Beautifully captured, and a joy to see.

Frasypoo said...

Hi David,
Thanks for dropping by my blog.
Thats a beautiful photograph.Renews my faith in God

The Oswegan said...

Nice colors David.


The Oswegan said...

I just wanted to respond to all of the photoshop comments, because I get the impression some people think that using photoshop is somehow bad, or a waste of time.

As a long time photographer, and former lover of tmax, chemicals, darkrooms, burning & dodging, etc. etc., I can tell you that photoshop is, first of all, the only way I would ever have time to do black & white or multitone photography anymore - especially with the reduced cost and time savings involved in "going digital."

Secondly, I feel that digital cameras often do not mirror the look or the feel of what is seen in real life by the artist when the shot is composed.

Photoshop allows for the same color corrections and white balance adjustments that used to take place in a color lab.

That being said, I do believe that an image can be overdone in photoshop, and that many of the features in photoshop cause images to look quite fake.

However, there are things like ifra-red and solarization, that can be accomplished within photoshop, that photographers have done for decades in the darkroom.

I think that photoshop is the new darkroom for darkroom photographers that have moved to digital format.

It can be used for good and not evil.

All of the above, in my humble opinion.

Sorry for the novel David!


Mary said...

Oswegan, I totally get what you're saying. However, I still prefer not to photoshop my pictures. I use a digital camera and have been very happy with the results when I take my photos. Ah they blessings of my preview screen. If it's not the way I want it, I delete and try again, probably on a different setting. More often than not, the photo comes out exactly how I saw it with my own eyes.

While I know other photographers like the use of photoshop editing to correct things, I personally do not like it for my photos. And I've always come out more than pleased with my pics, even more so than when I took regular film and supposed "touch ups" were done with coloring and such. It truly is a "to each his own" thing.

WorksForMom said...

Wow, fantastic shot. Talk about a sky on fire. And extra kudos for not photoshopping your shots.

Lin said...

A sky completely afire! Thank you, it gives me something to watch for in our approaching winter skies.

Anonymous said...

A very nice pic! thank you.

eric1313 said...

Spectacular, indeed.

savannah said...

gorgeous color!

Oswegan said...

I understand Mary.

The problem with the digital processors, and the different white balance settings etc., on many digital cameras, is that they alone just don't allow the type of control that film, the development process, and the dark room did. So to get consistent results between camera, computer screen and print is just about impossible without photoshop and some type of calibration scripts between camera, computer screen and printer.

Really what I'm trying to say, in way too many words again, is that I simply can't get what I see on the screen to look exactly the same as what comes out on the printer (very easily), without technology and software.

That is unless I were to back to the darkroom.

I understand your point of view and appreciate your respect for shots that are naturally great and beautifully composed in the camera viewfinder - and I totally agree with that.

David - Much Respect.


mrsnesbitt said...

Wow! Is this part of skywatch Friday David? Awesome.
As I said on Dot's post today, nomatter where we are we all look up to the same sky!

So here I am, looking out on to the sky and there you are on the other side of the globe reading this and I bet you are NOW looking up to the sky and thinking ...Denise is doing the same! LOL!

See that cloud? I have just sent that your way! LOL!

Ornery's Wife said...

Loved the photo! You had to know I'd chime in on the photoshop debate! I don't care one way or another whether a photo has been altered, but it is nice to know if it has been. An amazing color palette like this almost seems surreal, so that was a very important disclaimer in my opinion. Sunrises and sunsets are some of my favorite times to have my nose stuck up in the air! :-)

Sandy Carlson said...

This is a stunning photo! Thanks for this moment of pure wonder.

Mary said...

Oswegan, thanks for your reply. I should have also mentioned that it's not just the preview screen that I am finding great results with, but also when I put it on the computer and when I print them out (I scrapbook, so I print out just about all of my pics). The only time I have ever altered colors or anything is if I'm trying to go for anything more or less than what it actually was when I took the picture (i.e. a scrapbook page having more muted colors than what the real colors were). I'm not saying I'm the best photographer in the world, nor am I saying I have the world's best digital camera. But I have been very fortunate that I have not had any issue in capturing exactly what I want to capture and having that translate to the computer and to prints in my hand.

Buck Pennington said...

Nice shot indeed, David.

NorthBayPhoto said...

Stunning photo!

karoline said...

might i just add to the photoshop comments...

taking a natural photo is that..this is what it looked like, here it is..

then, like i do with some of my more interesting photos, play with them intentionally to make them look like they 'weren't' just taken...

it's like comparing sketching to oils or impressionist to reality...they can be two different things...painting yes..but not the same..

as always..luv your keen eye and quick fingers david..

now i'll just shut up again..



Dick said...


smilnsigh said...

"I never Photoshop my images."

And thank you for this. I don't *appreciate* Photoshopping. Not any of the effects. Not at all. This probably makes me sound grumpy, but so be it. ,-)

When I look at a photo, I prefer to know that it's what the person's eye saw. I know, the finished product often doesn't look just like what our eye saw, at that minute. Wonderful, new and different effects can be found, in the finished product. But...

That's natural. It happens many times in life. It's not manipulated in any way ~ via Photoshopping.

Many people do like the manipulated effect. For me, just for me, I don't. :-)


sex said...
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