I’m a big fan of sunsets in general but didn’t have much hope for this one. You can think of clouds as the canvas upon which a sunset will be painted (if you’re into metaphors), and without them all you usually get is a uniform haze of light gradually fading to black. As you can see here there were only a few scattered clouds in the sky and they weren’t really picking up any color, so the fact that this sunset turned out to be so awesome definitely took me by surprise. Apparently there was some kind of atmospheric disturbance beyond the horizon that caused huge luminescent bands of orange to streak up into the sky radially from where the sun was setting. I tried to capture one of these flares in the shot along with the deep blue surrounding it.
What makes this shot even more unlikely is that it’s an HDR image taken with a point-and-shoot camera, which is theoretically possible but highly impractical. After a few minutes of watching this incredible sunset and castigating myself for not having a real camera/tripod to photograph it with, I thought I should try to make the most the situation and attempt an HDR sequence anyways. I had to hold the camera firmly down against a deck railing and adjust the EV through a menu between each shot for a total of five times; even with my vicelike grip on it I still had to manually align all the images in Photoshop before importing them into Photomatix. Thankfully since I got a DLSR this isn’t something I’ll have to repeat, but I’m glad I made it work to capture this scene.