Balcony Sunset Photoshoot

This weeks blog has a number of pictures attached to it. I’ve been asked a number of times about the process I go through creating the digital art you see posted. Almost everything starts with a photoshoot. (I do create art prints digitally from scratch, but this post is about an example of creating from a photoshoot)

For this example I am using a photoshoot I did in January of 2011. The setting is a sunset over the Pacific Ocean taken from the balcony off of our bedroom overlooking the coastline of Carlsbad, California (Northern San Diego County). This is the house we raised our girls in and we lived there for almost 20 years. The house was at the end of a cul de sac in a neighborhood that was located on top of a ridge 3 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. To the immediate west of our neighborhood/property was a field owned by the Carlsbad Water District. The importance of that was that it was never going to be built on and offered an unobstructed view all the way down to the coast. I give that background because of this photoshoot. In all the years we lived there, this sunset was an exception to the rule and was only seen a few times. For this type of sunset, there must be high level clouds and an unobstructed view. We had the view at all times, but during the spring, summer and fall months it was more typical to have a marine layer come ashore late afternoon into the night. The marine layer typically was low level clouds (not fog), that hid most sunsets over the ocean. The only time we actually had clear skies at sunset was in the winter as the marine layer was less common. The high level clouds were also a rarity in this area preventing this type of a colorful sunset. On this particular day, we started to see the colors burst forth in our backyard. I immediately clued into what was happening and grabbed my camera, ran upstairs to our bedroom and the balcony. I have attached 8 of the 18 shots I took that day a number of them were redundant and the rest were poor shots looking towards the extreme south and north.

Balcony Sunset 1

This was the first capture I took using my telephoto lens focusing on the immediate west.

Balcony Sunset 2

I zoomed in a little more. The building you see with the “smoke stack” is a coastal power plant that was built quite awhile ago as a coal burning facility. It was converted to gas years ago and today the smoke stack has been removed.

Balcony Sunset 3

This shot is without extending the telephoto lens and is the view we had with the naked eye.

Balcony Sunset 4

Zooming in just south of the power plant capturing more of the clouds.

Balcony Sunset 5

Lowering the framing slightly.

Balcony Sunset 6

Zooming back towards the power plant…

Balcony Sunset 7

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture more of the clouds as the colors are deepening.

Balcony Sunset 8

Pulling back on the telephoto to capture a widening shot. These were the captures I narrowed it down to creating the art prints that follow.

Coastal Sunset
Pacific Sunset

These two shots were cropped and a subtle digital watercolor overlay to highlight the orange tones. Also I removed the smoke stack from the power plant (not knowing it was going to be removed in reality but not until 2020).

Love is Patient

Cropping “Coastal Sunset” gave me the background for this Inspirational art print.

Carlsbad Sunset

In this capture, I used an impasto style painting which creates large dramatic brush strokes.

Dusk on the Coast

Using the same impasto style on this one, but using one of the photos that had blue sky showing such as Balcony Sunset 1.

These five prints from this photoshoot were created after experimenting with cropping of the captured scene and then the different art styles. This gives you a taste of the process using a photoshoot with a singular subject matter. Multiply it by number of subject matters on a more intense photoshoot.


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34 thoughts on “Balcony Sunset Photoshoot

  1. Writing to Freedom

    Thanks for sharing more of your process Kirt. How wonderful to have this view from your house, even if only occasionally with the colors. I must admit I prefer the photos to the very abstract images.

  2. Tiffany Mendonca

    I do miss that view and the many sunsets we saw from it! Your prints are beautiful and it was really awesome to see the shots and then see the different textures you gave them using that same shot. Also I’ve always loved that scripture and what a beautiful background you gave it!

  3. Dan Antion

    Thanks for the background, Kirt. We had an occasional view of Puget Sound from one apartment. I admire your dedication to run up there and get those shots. They are beautiful. Your treatment is very nice. Lots of creative spirit wrapped up here. Good job!

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      Thanks for the feedback and for stopping by….The ones I didn’t share were really bad and out of focus….the colors were changing in the sky so fast, I got a bit ahead of myself when I shot completely different directions.

  4. D. Wallace Peach

    What a beautiful sunset, Kirt. All the photos look gorgeous to me. I’m glad you cropped out the smokestack, though I probably wouldn’t have known what it was. Thanks for sharing your work!

  5. Felipe Adan Lerma

    It’s an amazing process, Kirt – similar yet distinct for each artist, and I feel you’ve shown the growth in feeling and recognition of that feeling with each artistic decision — definitely an amazing process! Thank you, Kirt! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  6. Americaoncoffee

    A beautiful shoot Kirt. The orange filter speaks and the horizon is filled with wonder. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful heart-shaped celebration! ๐Ÿ•Š๐Ÿ’ซ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ””

  7. boundlessblessingsblog

    Brilliant and captivating pictures of awesome sunsets, Kirt. Nature at its best and you are an excellent and artistic person. Such a lovely read and the poem on Love was Love in all its forms and so profound. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  8. Sue Slaght

    Fascinating to read and see the process of the photoshoot itself Kirt and then the various ways you create your art. I felt as though I was standing over your shoulder watching.
    Sending very best wishes to you and the whole family.

  9. Diane Henders

    It’s neat to see how your photo shoots become paintings. I got a digital tablet for Christmas, so I’ve been doing some digital art, too – great fun! There’s so much less stress when I have an “undo” button. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      I “LOVE” the undo button…….it makes life so wonderful!!! It’s my best friend!! I’ll do about three versions of something….sit on it for a day or so….come back and “undo” the ones that I don’t like.

    1. Kirt D Tisdale Post author

      The color was so intense (no filters or anything else like that used) and I wasnโ€™t kidding when I said it was very unusual to have that kind of a sunset there. Thanks for the feedback and for stopping by!! Have a great week!!


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