When I first posted this image I got several “how-to” requests. I’m so sorry for my delayed response, but better late than never, eh? The biggest piece of this image “equation”, and the main ingredient that gives it this unique “look”, is that I shot it with my fish eye lens (15mm) – super wide angle. The other stats are: Canon 5d, iso 200, f/5, 1/800 sec, jpg setting. I manually exposed on the dark side because I wanted to retain as much cloud detail as possible, and I’m sure I was picturing in my head that this would be a silhouette-y image. I closed the aperture down to f/5 because I didn’t intend to blur out any fore- or background; I wanted all that sand, ocean & cloud detail as well as everyone in focus.
So here are the editing steps I took:
1. added .57 exposure
2. warmed it up by adding +11 yellow to the white balance
3. Applied Vibrant preset & Festoon Haze (from One Willow’s The Palette Collection)
4. Pulled highlights down to –75 (preserve clouds) and brightened shadows to +49.
5. Added +8 clarity and bumped vibrance to +28.
6. Cloned out a couple of the obnoxious sand footprints (probably mine).
7. Added a darkening gradient at the bottom to better show their long shadows.
8. Pulled down the blue luminance (again, to make clouds pop).
And that’s it. From silhouette to sunshine & shadows.