I shot this right down my street. There were power lines blocking the way, so I walked in someone’s yard to cut them out of the shot. Some woman yelled “get off my property” at me as I was shooting this, so I tripped the shutter quickly and then walked off.
I put contrast at +100% in Adobe Camera Raw 5.0 and then used the curves tool to push it even further. Even though I pushed the exposure bias down to -1.33, I think I was in the wrong metering mode so the clouds in the middle are over-exposed: they are at (255,255,255) (8-bit) and there is no detail there. Nothing I can do about that… It’s not a big problem in this photo because you expect the sun to be bright.
I pushed a lot of stuff to black with the curves tool, such as the trees and houses below. They aren’t important… no reason for you to see them.
There is a lot of black and empty space in this image. You can do that. The subject does not have to be big and in the center. In fact, it’s often more interesting to make the subject small. In this case, the subject is the sunset and the periphery is the dark clouds at the top.