Sunset Through the Trees at Lands End

Lands End Park, San Francisco, California, USA

While walking through Lands End park in San Francisco (CA, USA) one evening, mother nature pleasantly surprised me with this wonderful sunset. I happened to have my camera with me, so naturally I had to at least try to capture the scene. However, as is always the case, photographs have a way of not doing nature justice.

A light mist floating in the air is responsible for the wonderful light rays punching through the tree canopy. It is almost as if the light is reaching through the tree tops out towards the viewer. In the upper portion of the photograph the blue sky, green leaves, and yellow light all contrast against one another quite nicely. Meanwhile, you can almost feel the warmth of the sun when looking at the yellows, oranges, and reds in the lower portion of the photography.

It is a bit hard to see through the intense light and numerous trees blocking the horizon, but the Pacific Ocean is in the background. The Pacific Ocean is of course the source of the mist that is responsible for the light rays. That mist is blanketing the ocean, defusing the incoming sunlight, and painting a rainbow of color across the sky. The horizon is bit easier to make out if you look at the far left and right edges of the photograph. Meanwhile, the intense light at the center of the image silhouettes the trees quite nicely.

Lands End Park, San Francisco, California

Lands End Park is located on the northwestern corner of the San Francisco peninsula. The view to the west overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The view to the North looks out across the entrance of the San Francisco Bay, towards the Marin Headlands on the opposite side of the waterway. The water is spanned by the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. The park itself has various trails, trees, etc. And as this photograph shows, it is also a great place to view the sun as it sets over the Pacific Ocean.

The Bay Area, Northern California

The area around the San Francisco Bay, is commonly referred to as the "San Francisco Bay Area," or just the "Bay Area" for short. This includes San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Silicon Valley, Mountain View, Berkeley, Napa, and many other notable locations. There really is no clear definition of the Bay Area, with different people defining different boundaries. I have heard a few different definitions myself while living here.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography

In high dynamic range photography, the scene being photographed is captured at multiple levels of light (exposures). This allows all portions of the scene, whether they are bright or dark, to be captured with sufficient detail in at least one of the different exposures. The brightest exposures provide detail in the darker areas of the scene, but wash out the brighter areas. Meanwhile, the darkest exposures provide detail in the brightest areas of the scene, but the darker areas are quite dim and hard to see.

Later during post-processing, the different exposures are combined using software to create a single high dynamic range image. The resulting HDR image includes all the details from across the scene, regardless of bright or dark areas particular portions of the scene were.

It is also common to remap the HDR image back into a standard dynamic range (SDR) image using a method known as tone mapping. Depending on the tone mapping method used, the resulting SDR image may look either realistic or unrealistic. Tone mapping is often necessary to share photos taken using HDR techniques since many of the most common image formats only support SDR.

More high dynamic range photographs I have taken can be found here.