This almost was the shot I wanted to take, but a bit of impatience while shooting this image resulted in much more work in post and the image still did not come out like I envisioned.
With the still very bright sunset skies and clouds contrasted against the dark cracked lake bed, this image screamed for a multiple exposure HDR (high dynamic range) treatment. At least 3 images are taken, separately spot metered for the sky, the lake bed, and one somewhere in between. All 3 images are then blended, resulting in very little over/under-exposure for the entire image. The problem here was I metered “correctly” for the mud, but that caused the skies to be blown out and only slightly brought back in post with Lightroom. With the light fading fast, notice the 6 second exposure in the EXIF data, the impetus was to move on and find additional compositions. What should have been done was to take an extra minute to meter for 2 additional shots.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO 100, 19mm, f/14, 6.0 sec
Folsom (CA), Cracked Lake Bed, Sunset Clouds, Long Exposure. Folsom Lake, CA. January 08, 2014. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.