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I have had a go at cleaning this image up a bit, toned down some of the highlights and added a slight bumpmap layer in GIMP.
Any ideas on how I can make it better are welcome.
These are modifications uploaded by other members of the photo above. Download the photo by right clicking Download Photo and clicking Save As.
For me, the shot is the silhouetted magpie — the sky is nice but it's not a really spectacular sunset; nor is the rest of the silhouetted foreground especially exciting.
So, my main tip would be zoom in more if possible and, if not, move closer and/or crop tighter. Also, when shooting sunsets, it's important to set the white balance manually — daylight usually works best. In auto white balance mode, the camera will try to compensate for the colour of the light illuminating the scene and make it whiter. But you don't want it to compensate: the colour of the light is the whole point in a sunset.
It's also good that you've avoided having the ball of the sun in the photograph, as it's much too bright for the camera to record properly and creates big exposure problems, which you've neatly avoided.
Nice shot, I would tend to agree that you could have zoomed in more on the Magpie, also in my opinion the light above the Magpie draws the eye there before hitting the Magpie.
I feel that as an upright (as my mod) and a darkened sky this is a better image, as the bird and the sunset become more the focal point of the image ,the upright crop with the bird kept in the centre provides a nice symetrical effect.
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