Red sunset over southern California

Mother nature sometimes has a habit of pairing incredible beauty with strong destructive forces. In this instance, the smoke haze from a wildland fire created a filter creating a dramatic Red sunset over southern California.

This shot was captured out the window of a moving vehicle driven by a friend as we were on the way to an area where the fires were actively burning. The colors were amazing and I used NIK Color Efex Pro within Adobe Photoshop to enrich the colors to emulate what I witnessed at the time.

dramatic sunset with clouds
When the sun dropped below the smoke hanging over the valley, the colors were absolutely incredible. The acted as a filter allowing a perfect outline of the sun without extensive flare and over exposure. Larry Shapiro photo

An added benefit of the smoke was a natural 3-stop neutral density filter allowing a perfect view of the entire sun without lens flare, over exposure, burned out highlights. This was all accomplished with a single exposure metering for the sun directly.