Words and pictures by Aidan O'Rourke
It is always a good idea to take more than one image of the same subject, so
you can choose the best one later. Here I took four captures at different exposure
and zoom settings. I had to act quickly as the sun sets very quickly in the
1. This is the first of the four images. The camera has automatically
set an exposure for a level somewhere between the dark foreground and still
fairly bright sun. The sun is a little over exposed and the edge of the disc
2. This exposure is better - the disc of the sun is clear. The foreground
is much darker. The tall lamp post on the right is an undesirable element which
should be excluded. I want to concentrate attention on the tree and minaret.
3. In this exposure we have zoomed in, exluding the ugly lamp post
ont he right. Attention is concentrated on the palm tree and the minaret. However
the camera has set the exposure a little too high - The sun is indistinct, though
the sky is a has a pleasing shade of orange.
4. This exposure is better from the point of view of capturing the
sun with its edge clearly defined. We have lost most of the orange colour from
the sky. The darker tones give better silhouetting of the palm tree and the
minaret. Of the four different captures, I would like to choose this one to
enhance. But first we need to rotate it, as the minaret is leaning to the right.
5. Using 'rotate selection' we have turned the picture two degrees anti-clockwise.
Using the guide line, we can see that the minaret is exactly vertical. The palm
tree is also vertical. Rotating the picture has left background edges which
we can remove by cropping the image.
6. The image is now properly aligned - cropping has improved the image
by concentrating attention a little more on the three main subjects. But we
are going to have to decide whether we would like to retain the television aerial
or not. On balance, I think the tv aerial would be better exluded from the picture.
This is easily achieved by using the cloning tool.
7. With the tv aerial gone, we are lift with a timeless image - only
the loudspeakers at the top of the minaret are symbols of relatively modern
times. But it's a shame we have lost the orange colour in the sky which we had
on the previous exposure. We can colour the sky by creating a new layer, setting
it to overlay and using the paint bucket to pour a bright orange onto the layer.
Though the colour has been added manually, during enhancement of the image,
the resulting picture is actually closer to how it felt when I took the picture.
Though the camera failed to capture it, the light at sunset is orange. This
colour also captures something of the sweltering heat, as well as the atmosphere
of the Middle East - you can almost hear the muezzin making the call to prayer.
The above image shows us the stages we have gone through in order to achieve
the finished image. Top left: An image rejected because the sun was indistinct
and because of the ugly lamp post on the right. Top right: The image we have
chosen to enhance. Bottom left: After rotation 2 degrees to the left Bottom
Right: The completed image - see how the orange is close the the shade of orange
at the lighter capture, top left. We have added colour at image enhancement
to restore the 'truth' to the image.
About the images
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 990, normal setting
Enhancement: Adobe Photoshop
Capture time: Friday 27 April 2001 6.27pm
This is one of countless mosques in the emirate of Fujairah, on the east coast
of the United Arab Emirates. We are close to the centre of the city of Fujairah,
but the Hajjar Mountains are visible some 15 km away.