Today was a good day for me. The sunset gods were smiling down on South Central Pennsylvania and gave us a spectacular show. Luckily tonight I had a worthy scene to include with it. It all started when I picked up my son, Chase, from school around lunch time. He had a half day of school today to start his fall break. I spotted a cornfield on the way which was covered in bales of corn stalks. I saw a similar scene earlier this summer and they were cleared out before I was able to get back to photograph them. I was crossing my fingers that this time the bales would stick around long enough for me to get some good shots. Chase and I made the trip back to the field just as the sun was setting and lucky for me the bales were still there. I had my doubts whether the sunset would be any good or a complete bust. It was extremely cloudy all day but luckily they were not too thick to block out the light completely. It seemed like all of the stars aligned for this photo to happen. I just wanted to make sure that I had a good composition. We ran from bale to bale pretending the farmer was coming after us with a pitchfork (kids have the darnedest imaginations). I’m sure if any of the residents of the neighboring houses saw us in the field they probably thought we were a little crazy running around the field. We had fun playing around and I was able to get some great photos.
The above photo started as a HDR image comprised of three separate exposures. I initially used HDR Efex Pro 2 to create my base image. I then used Photoshop and masked in a single exposure of the sky at 80% because I usually tend to not like how the HDR treatment affects the sky. I added some shadows around the bale in the foreground to add more realism to the scene. I also used a slight radial filter around the bottom edges to darken them some and bring the viewer’s eye more toward the important parts of the image. Finally I added a graduated filter to the bottom left corn to remove some of the saturation cast from the intense sky color. I really like how this image came out and I hope you do as well!