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Color Capture on Sunsets


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I Live on the California coast and I like to capture sunsets.  My problem is that my X-T4 doesn't capture the colors.  What I mean is the colors that I see on the clouds around sunset do match the colors captured on my camera. I don't get the vivid red and orange hues, I see with the naked eye.  I'm experimenting with different white balance settings, but that will take a while.  The ideal cloud conditions don't occure everyday.

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Capturing these colors is difficult because our eyes are more susceptible to the longer waves of red light whereas a camera sensor is equally sensitive to all wave lengths within the visible array. Next to that a camera sensor cannot cope with the same dynamic range (dark-bright contrast) that our eyes can handle. Sunset colors are therefore often a bit washed-out or faded on regular shot images.

First of all make sure you don’t overexpose the image. It’s easier to brighten the shadows than correct blown-out highlights. When you shoot jpeg and don’t want to adjust the image in post processing, make sure that highlights is set to -1 or -2. You can also experiment with setting Dynamic Range to 200 or even 400%. Fuji cameras are fairly good detecting the correct white balance, so leaving that on auto is usually fine. When selecting the film simulation I would recommend Velvia for the most vivid colors. To reduce the experimentation time, you can use the Auto Bracketing method. Setup with different exposures, different Dynamic Range settings or even different film simulations. That way you can quicly judge the closest settings.

However, the best is still to shoot raw files and adjust exposure and colors in post processing. Capture One in my view has the best editing capabilities for Fuji raw files.

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Thanks.  You have given me enough to change my approach.  I'll try auto braketing with different exposures and increase the dynamic range.  For post-processing, I use Affinity Photo.  It's a non-subscription application at a good price.

Thank you again.

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