Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
That was probably the most spectacular sunrise I got to witness in my life. Of course, the weather and the location played a big part in it. Only two days before I took the featured photo I was in freezing Montreal where the temperature was below -20°C for 3 weeks in a row and now, after short 12-hour flight, I was in the tropics hiking the volcanos and witnessing sun rising over the Pacific Ocean.
When I analyzed the scene before shooting, I could see the very dark areas below me, the town was shaded by the mountain. At the same time, despite the sky was being mostly covered by thick clouds, I could see a few extremely bright spots above the horizon. It made me change the exposure bracketing intervals from 1EV to 2EV to cover the entire dynamic range of the scene.
I took 3 bracketed shots with 2EV intervals (-2, 0, +2) on a tripod standing on top of Lanikai Pillbox Trail.
First, I merged 3 bracketed shots for HDR using new Lightroom Merge tool. I outlined this technique in my latest tutorial “Lightroom HDR – Natural Looking HDR In Lightroom”.
When I had brand new HDR image I created in a previous step, I started editing approach I outlined in The Minimalist Guide to Lightroom Editing. I liked the effect of Sunrise preset from Landscape Collection and later used ToolKit adjustments to fine tune image.
The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Sunrise (1, 10, 12, 21, 39)
Later, I decided to add more “fire” to the sky and used the Graduated Filter to add more red color to the left part of the sky.
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Aloha from the Hawaiian Islands!