Yes this is for real, indeed it’s so easy with sunsets to get the processing so wrong to make it look so not right, but I had to make sure I didn’t increase the contrast for there was NO black in the original scene, just a gentle set of pastel tones except for the burn of the sun itself. It went behind a long thin cloud layer ahead of a huge bank of cloud moving on for the next morning’s rain. This vaporous layer split the sun so that an intense burn remained above the cloud, but a deep red burn emerged from beneath. There was hardly a drop of wind (look at the surface of the sea) but the cloud shapes make it look as though the suns flames are themselves being blown by a gale.
All of this was incredibly lucky as a few minutes beforehand the sun was completely obscured by a hazy and vast layer of cloud. Through the long lens I was able to see the detail more quickly and perhaps thanks to the optics, I’ve never seen a sunset so surreal and so spectacular.