Plaza del Sol in Cozumel, Mexico

Color and Shadow

The bright colors of the Plaza del Sol building stand out in the sun at Cozumel in Mexico

The bright colors of the Plaza del Sol building stand out in the sun at Cozumel in Mexico, as seen during our June 2022 Disney Cruise.

During our walk around Cozumel, Laura and I came across this area of town. The main Plaza building housed several shops run by local vendors, and we took some time to look around in a couple of them. Other shops and restaurants surrounded the main building, along with several palm trees. And you know I love palm trees.

Like all of Cozumel, the Plaza del Sol was quite an interesting place, and it looks cool in a photo, too.


Yes, this photo looks a little different from most of the photos I have shared from our cruise so far. I figured all of the “main” photos were in the trip report. So why not have a little fun with some of the photos that I have left? After all, I took many, many more photos than those that were included in the trip report. Read the About the Photo section below to learn some of the specifics about this photo.

I used to create more photos like this back in the day. Well, not exactly like this, but photos that had different looks to them. And then for one reason or another, I got away from that. That reason is probably time. It is pretty easy to just increase the color saturation and bring up the shadow detail and have a really nice photo. And that is most of what I have been doing for a while.

Something like what you see here takes a little more time. And when I was including several photos in each trip report post, time was a factor. But every now and then I can take a little extra time and do something different like this photo. I just have not done that in a while.

Will all of the future Burnsland photos look like this? Probably not. But more of them might be something different from time to time.

Different can be good.

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. - Ecclesiastes 7:10

About the Photo

What you see here is actually the third version of this photo, believe it or not. And each version is built off of the previous one.

For the first version, I knew I wanted to go with darker shadows than the evened-out shadows that I had been using lately. So everything except the main building was just a bit dark. And I increased the color saturation quite a bit, too.

After that, I decided I wanted everything to be black and white except for the main building. So I set about making that happen. I duplicated the photo to a new layer, converted that layer to black and white, and then created a mask to allow the color version of the building to show through. That was version two.

But then I decided to reduce the opacity of that black and white layer, which let just a little of the color underneath show through. So while the building is in brilliant color, there is still just a little bit of color in the surrounding areas of the photo, too. And that is the version that you see here.

The problem was that I liked all three versions. This one eventually won out. But I might go in a different direction next time. Because who says that you have to do the same thing every time?

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in GIMP and Raw Therapee. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Rokinon 35mm f/1.8
Date: June 6, 2022
Location: Cozumel, Mexico

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.