Sunset Like a Window Upon Fire


What a person actually needs is not a tensionless state, but rather the striving and struggling for some worthy goal. What he needs is not the discharge of all tension, but the call of a potential life-meaning waiting to be fulfilled.  Paraphrased from Victor Frankl

I find these words of Victor Frankl to be profound and inspiring. It reminds me that a complete lack of stress or tension does not help a person to grow or to develop their potential.  The goal, he explained, was for each individual to find their ideal level of stress or tension, the amount that stimulates growth of their abilities and provides meaning and purpose to their lives without being overwhelming.

Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who was a survivor of German concentration camps during World War II. While in a concentration camp, he made many observations regarding human resilience and determination of spirit.  In his subsequent book, Man’s Search for Meaning, one of his conclusions is that people thrive on a certain level of stress, which varies from person to person. Less stress than this causes them to feel bored, lethargic or hopeless; while excessive stress causes people to be incapacitated mentally, emotionally and physically.

The remainder of this post focuses on the sunset photo at the stop of this post, which occurred several months ago near San Diego, California. Yes, it really did look like that. I have never before seen a sunset like this, with so much color concentrated in such a localized area. This photo received very little processing. (Specifically, Adobe Camera Raw was used to reduce noise, mildly increase “clarity” and slightly pre-sharpen). Almost all of the processing was to synchronize the position of the waves, as this is a two frame panorama. (During the time that the camera is swiveled to take the second frame, the waves move closer to the shore.) For this wave adjustment, Photoshop Elements was used to clone stamp, copy & paste waves. Finally Nik Sharpener Pro 3 was used to apply a little sharpening for display/web output.

I welcome comments and suggestions/criticisms.

I am available to assist photographers just beginning their experience with photo processing.

J. Michael Harroun©2013


6 comments on “Sunset Like a Window Upon Fire

  1. Heather says:

    I like the long, straight, somber lines of the waves against the chaotic and colorful sunset.
    Is the cloning process difficult to get used to in the panorama creation process?

    • Yes, the waves contrast nicely with the clouds/sky.
      Cloning is surprisingly easy. For the waves, the secret is to use varying amounts of opacity (typically 50% to 100%) of the clone stamp tool, instead of exclusively the 100% default opacity. For large portions of waves, copy-cut-paste is quicker than cloning.

  2. dogdaz says:

    Purpose. To me it is about having purpose. Sometimes that will cause tension but ultimately release.

  3. Inspiring words from Frankl. Thanks for the quote. And sunsets are one way for us to help deal with the stresses of a stressful world. This sunset looks like the sky is swirling down to one point of light.

    • Thank you for your compliment and for taking the time to leave a comment.
      I agree, the sky seems to be swirling down and concentrating.
      I still cannot understand the physics of how this sunset could happen.
      I’m glad that I could save some of it to share.

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