<<< o >>>Photo Friday: Sunset 30 comments + add yours

I've entered this shot for this week's Photo Friday challenge – Sunset – simply because I've looked through several hundred great shots that have already been entered and wanted to do something a bit different. Hence this shot, which is roughly 90° different from the rest of the entries in that it's shot by the light of the setting sun. Oh, and had this not been a Photo Friday entry I would have called it "colour calls the past" … the relevance of which will become apparent below.

Also, I was discussing this shot with Jason Wall who kindly agreed to let me use his critique to accompany this entry:

"My initial reaction was positive. The composition had no immediate problems. My next thought was to notice the almost duo toned quality of the photograph which was played out in two ways. The first was the way the paint on the pier in the background blended with the color of the sky, and the second was the way the skin tones and sand blended in the color of the setting sun. I noted you took advantage of the 'Golden Hour' (those few precious hours just before sunset when all things seem to look better).

At this point I remembered you had named the photo, so I checked the title again which was, 'Colour Calls the Past'. This amplified a subsurface feeling of those scenes from old family photos and television newsreels of Coney Island and the proto-typical day at the beach in twenties and thirties. The use of the older spelling in 'Colour' was also a nice touch.

Taking this particular tack of nostalgia and history, the somewhat pastel and brownish cast of the colors are a lot like the look of older photos, whether due to poor color processing technology or simply time. The architecture of the pier isn't modern, and falls squarely into the 20s-50s period, i.e. the Baby Boomer generation.

The cast of the sun puts the time of day in the evening, and the broader scene I see depicted is of the Mom and Dad sitting off to the side, resting after a good long day of horsing around, perhaps packing away a few things for when it is time to go. The kids are taking advantage of the last few rays of sunshine, just enjoying the feel of sand beneath their feet and using the last bit of their energy. As soon as the sun sets, the family hops in the car and the kids fall asleep on the way home.

I like the photo quite a bit. I think it is a bit funny in that it doesn't fall squarely into the 'Light Painting' or 'Perspective' categories I delineated several days ago though. Just as soon as you try to categorize something, boundary lines are broken.

A couple of other thoughts, the pink of the baby's fleece is a nice balance to the baby blue sky, and prevents the browns of the sand from taking over and making the scene feel drab."

Jason Wall | walljm

capture date
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
focal length
image quality
white balance
Canon G5
7.55pm on 1/8/04
aperture priority
4x3 + children [portraits] + fylde coast [scenic] + photo friday
comment by Emily at 04:05 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

i like the brown. and i like that almost surreal sense of the kids seeming like giants, the background receding into the distance like a toy.

comment by E. M. at 04:11 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Gorgeous colors...I have to start shooting at that time of day! I also like the bird flying right above the sandline...who, if it continued on it's path, looks as though it is heading right for you.

comment by Jeremy at 04:43 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Great shot, almost sepia like tones

comment by Jasmin at 05:12 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

An unusual interpretation of "sunset".

comment by Laura at 06:03 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

The colors ARE completely amazing. They all seem to match, and so unintentionally. Look at her suit, matched with the sky, and the colors on the buildings behind. Wonderful shot.

comment by myla at 06:37 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Dave this is lovely. And another one I guarantee both of your daughters are going to love when they're grown up =)

comment by myla at 06:38 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

I just noticed the seagull flying straight for you. . .or straight away from you? Wonderful.

comment by jazznrhythm at 09:30 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004


comment by Jason Davies at 10:07 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Heh, the "older spelling in ‘Colour’" is just the British spelling :)

It's amazing how the light makes such a difference. You can't really reproduce it with a photo-editing program if the light is wrong.

I just noticed the seagull too, and I love the expression on the little boy's face.

comment by djn1 at 10:19 AM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Little boy? One of our youngest daughter's will be deeply offended! ;-)

comment by Urbanite at 02:13 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

When I first saw this I thought "Oh a photo from the 60's", you know when they become faded over time and take on that soft pastel tone. This photo is very tonal and looks wonderful, absolutely superb.

comment by Jason Wall at 02:50 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

I think the reason why I said, "older version" in relation to "colour" is because it the King James Bible spells it that way. :)

comment by bob at 03:46 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Great image, David -- lucky you -- a beautiful family -- all happy in a nice new home - in a beautiful part of the world... Thanks for sharing...

comment by Tristan at 04:11 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

I like the perspective of this shot and the light is wonderful. After reading (and agreeing with) Urbanite's comment about how it looks like an old-ish photo that's a bit faded. All it needs now is some nice vignetting... ;)


comment by mark at 04:19 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

i dont know..i like the shot and all. Perfect time of day. Perfect capture of the moment, but I can't help thinking that the picture seems to be missing something (for me)...might be the reds!..heh...I think this is one time were i would have preferred to see more color.

comment by djn1 at 05:05 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Thanks everyone. And if you're interested, you could take a look at a more naturalistic version of this shot that I've put up by way of comparison. I'd be interested to hear how you think the two compare.

comment by aleclong at 06:31 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

No comparison between shots. Your stylized version is superior. So much warmer and richer.

You're a very talented photographer, David. I very much enjoy viewing your interpretations.


comment by Cheeky Girl at 07:09 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Beautiful Pic!!

comment by mark at 07:24 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

all in all, i think the yellowish version has the most "wow" to it...

comment by Danielle at 07:49 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

adorable :), the colors and mood of this picture are very relaxing

comment by John Washington at 08:00 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

Very nice pic. It has that polaroid feel for me which I really like. Lovely

comment by ian at 09:46 PM (GMT) on 5 August, 2004

this is great, david. my first thought upon seeing it was, 'oh wow'. absolutely wonderful work with the colors.

comment by p23e at 05:33 AM (GMT) on 6 August, 2004

Lovely daughter’s ...

comment by Jason Davies at 09:09 AM (GMT) on 6 August, 2004

Oops, I meant little girl of course! A common typo :)

comment by Robin at 09:39 AM (GMT) on 6 August, 2004

Am I the only one that prefers the naturalistic version?

Dave, I can see what you were trying to achieve but it just doesn't work for me. I think the sickly skin tones just throw the whole thing off.

I *much* prefer the naturalistic version, which I think is a pretty fine picture.

Maybe it's just because it's a bit of a departure from your usual style and was a bit of a surprise for me when I saw it.

comment by djn1 at 11:09 AM (GMT) on 6 August, 2004

Thanks everyone. And Robin, I know what you mean and am somewhat ambivalent about which version I prefer. If this were just a shot of two kids on the beach (i.e. not my own daughters), I'd prefer the version I put up, but if I were to consider this a shot for the family album I think I'd go for the naturalistic version.

PS - 'a bit of a surprise' is good. I wouldn't want to get too predicatable ;-)

comment by amanda at 02:26 PM (GMT) on 6 August, 2004

oh dear god
taken my breath away again david

comment by Peter Crymble at 04:49 PM (GMT) on 6 August, 2004


You know I love your shots. But every now and then I come across a shot that everyone likes that doesn't do it for me! This is one of those...The kids are lovely, but at least one seems slightly out of focus...not sure about the composition either - would have preferred it slightly more to the right. As for the colour - I'm a bit of a futuristic, colour freak. I love your saturated images and this yellow look is abit much for me...

Just being honest :-)

Keep up the good work...


comment by djn1 at 09:55 PM (GMT) on 6 August, 2004

Peter: I nearly didn't put this shot up at all, and if it hadn't been for the Photo Friday challenge, and the fact that I didn't have anything else even vaguely suitable, I wouldn't have bothered with it. So I guess I wasn't too sure about it either. That said, and this often happens, if a load of people like something I put up I do tend to end up viewing it more favourably ;-)

comment by Nikola at 12:36 AM (GMT) on 18 November, 2008

beuty colors