Using Photoshop plug-ins to enhance a sunset

While on assignment in old Montreal, I had the opportunity to photograph a bridge expanse at dusk. I was fortunate to be on a shipping dock with a large open area that afforded me a great view of the bridge, the water, and the sunset.

The image right out of the camera was beautiful. I used a Canon 5DMII with a 24-70mm lens on a tripod, with no on-camera filters. I recorded several frames, and then decided to enhance the mood slightly with the help of two Photoshop plug-in packages: NIK Color Efex Pro, and the OnOne Perfect Photo Suite. Using the Photoshop plug-ins to enhance a sunset is quick and easy … nothing that can’t be done directly through Photoshop … just a way to do it quicker with presets.

bridge silhouette in Montreal
This first image right out of the camera is very good, but not at all exciting or dramatic. Larry Shapiro photo

Then, with nothing specific in mind, I decided to play with the mood a bit. First, I liked the image warmer with a Brilliance and Warmth filter from the NIK plug-in.

dramatic bridge silhouette at dusk
This image is much warmer and richer after the filter was applied. Larry Shapiro photo

Afterwards, just for the heck of it, I tried a cooling filter from OnOne.

dramatic sunset image with a steel bridge
Taking the same image with a cooling filter changes the feel of the scene. Larry Shapiro photo