With the terrible fires ablaze outside of Sydney the smoke blanketed the sky and lit it up during sunset. Before sunset though, around 4-5pm, the sky was like out of a sci-fi film. The thick smoke was blocking sunlight from getting through and when I was looking across eastern Sydney it was like a combination of sepia toning and infrared film. All the buildings had the colour sapped out of them and the water in Sydney Harbour was this odd grey/brown colour, it was so surreal.

I came to Macquarie’s Chair to shoot the Opera House and Harbour Bridge because every time I’d been here the sunset had just been O.K. and I was hoping for something a little more dramatic, and today I got drama !

We are constantly reminded in Australia how harsh mother nature can be and who is in control. I remember doing a university biology assignment where we germinated a bunch of native seeds and the results showed that they often sprouted much better under heat. What this actually means is that Australian fauna has adapted to the bushfires and actually relies on these fires to germinate, mother nature working in the most strangest of ways. The aboriginals knew this fact and would often burn off areas to promote regrowth.

Software and Processing:

I shot 5 images on my Sony RX 100 II mirrorless camera and I could have gone about editing this in many ways. But what I decided to do was tonemap the 5 images using HDR software in Photomatix Pro. What this does is allows me to bring out detail in the shadows and highlights and this is most evident in the buildings in north sydney as well as in the clouds.

Photomatix PRO – Is a MAC and PC HDR software for creating stunning HDR images. They have a free trial, but if you end up buying a copy of Photomatix you can get a 15% Discount with the coupon code LukeZemePhotography

Other software I used in the making of this image was Adobe Lightroom 5 & Adobe Photoshop CC, as well as On1 Perfect Effects. I cleaned up some of the noise in the image using Topaz DeNoise 5 and I used the RAW light setting. I also used some of googles plug-ins from the NIK collection and mostly made adjustments layers using Adobe Photoshop CC

Image Location:


View Bushfire Sunset in a larger map

Thanks, Luke

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Please use this contact form for any enquiries and we will get back to you asap. Thanks :-) Thanks, Luke

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