Hawaii Sunset Over the Waves

The sun sets above the rocks and waves of the Ko Olina lagoons on the first night of our June 2023 Hawaiʻi trip

The sun sets above the rocks and waves of the Ko Olina lagoons on the first night of our June 2023 Hawaiʻi trip.

In the trip report, I shared several sunset photos, but I also intentionally held back several other photos to be able to share later on. One reason was so that I would have more to post throughout the winter. And another reason was that I wanted to spend a little more time working on some of these photos. This one did get a bit of work - read more about that in the About the Photo section down below.

As I have often said, sunsets are amazing, and sunsets over water are even more amazing. I am thankful that we got to see as many beautiful sunsets as we did.

Hawaii Trip 2023

Beauty Everywhere

As much as I do enjoy sunsets over water, I do have to also remind myself that other sunsets can be just as beautiful. Take a look at this sunset from our house, for example. Or this interesting sunset on a cloudy day as seen from our front yard a few years ago.

Sunsets can be beautiful just about anywhere you are. Some days are different than others, based on clouds and other weather conditions. But there is something interesting about the changes of colors as day turns into evening. We just have to take the time to notice it sometimes.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. - Psalm 121:1-2

About the Photo

This photo is actually a combination of two different exposures from the same Raw file (see Steve’s Photography Tips for more about that). In processing, I could set the white balance to make everything look more blue, or I could set it to make everything look more orange. The water looked better orange, while the sky looked better blue. But neither version looked the same as the real-life sunset, due to the limitations of cameras.

To compensate for this limitation, I made JPG files of both the orange and blue versions in Raw Therapee. I then loaded them as layers in GIMP with the blue layer on top. I masked out the lower portion of that layer, letting the orange-tinted water show through. This looks much closer to how the sunset looked in real life, capturing all of the different colors that our eyes could see.

I used to do this type of photo processing quite a bit back in the old days, but I have gotten away from it in more recent times. But in this case, it turned out to be just what I needed to have this photo look the way I wanted it to look. Hooray for the old ways of doing things sometimes!

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Raw Therapee and GIMP.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: June 14, 2023
Location: Aulani, Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi


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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.