The best picture I ever took that I wish I had a do over: Random! Totally! This was on a road trip in Europe. Does it matter where? When? … a very long time ago. We had stopped (the car) many many times. The patience of my passenger/wife? was at an end. No stopping. I had a point and shoot (film!) camera in my lap. Auto anything? I just lifted the camera to the driver side window and fired one shot. One! Single! Shot! That’s it. The moment was gone, never to be seen (ever!) again. Am I clear? I missed out on a real moment. I couldn’t stop. Who knew? Well, I got something to show you all. Regrets? I have a few. But then life did turn out with a happy ending somewhere along the line. And I hope to be on the road again. And my beloved spouse will (though not intentionally) pressure me to keep on the move. Next…
Sunset… blurred. Hey! I got this out the car window going 55+mph. It ain’t easy. I could’a asked Colleen…. But no! This was our sunset on leap day. You know… February 29. Special. It was a special sunset with my favorite wife…. present wife? (You knew that.) Ah, no matter what I say from this point, I’m in deep …. I shall remember this day for the musical concert and our unspoken disagreements this day. The concert beginning was worse than watching paint dry. Oh geez! But the second half was grand, kind of like how our disagreement disappeared. Years from now, this sunset will be the signature memory. All the rest will be a memory softened by time. So far, we’ve had a very nice year. (Ask me about the disagreement? … I forgot already.)
Light is everything. It creates the mood and tension in an image. Clouds are the intermediate palette upon which to base your background. Clouds can bring tension. Or they can direct light toward your subject. It is often fleeting to have the right light. Blink and it’s gone. I try to pay attention and take advantage whenever I can.
Same sequence. We drove into the sunset. The effect was as spectacular. Pick. There were numerous keepers. It was hard to miss. The only rub was that I was shooting thru the car window as I drove and I had to wait to clear the hills in order to get a clear shot. Not bad. Don’t do this at home kids.
Pick. The nice thing about being on the road is that the sunset unfolds in front of you. You then have your pick. Evening glow, more glow, or urban traffic. You pick. I got the full experience.
Yes, it is among many others I have posted and among many you may have seen. It’s still makes us pause to see one. Someone, critically, once said to me, “You’ve seen one. Isn’t that enough?” Good point. They are all different. And the argument would go on…. My post, my blog, I disagree. I don’t think I shall never stop taking a sunset image no matter how many and where I am.
Rain had just fallen. We missed the thunderstorm. It was ahead of us. We caught the remnant as we traveled through. There was fog on the mountains. You drive a lot. You don’t see fog very frequently from the road. At least, it is a rarity for me. Layers. I remember watching layers of mountains while in the car as a kid. I recall the Blue Ridge mountains? Clouds? Layers of mountains? I’ve seen it since. They are always fun.
I’m just spinning back the image files to the year 2016. Nightfall, at 35,000 feet. I’m over Long Island headed back to the Middle East. The glow of lights below outlines civilization. There is no blankness in the landscape. I am amazed at the image. It’s not perfect. But, detail is there in the glow of sunset… enough to appreciate the curve of the earth?
Reality? Can you feel the heat of the desert? There are no trees… few. And the crowded streets. It’s barren and foreboding. It was a great adventure. I’m glad to be gone.
I learned there are no rules from a museum photo judge this past spring. A spectacular sunset was in progress as we exited a store. And, the camera battery was dead. There was no view to see the spectacular orange ball gloriously setting. Ok! Bang! The camera had 4 shots in it till the battery finally quit completely. Otherwise, there would be no image and no post. You got wires thanks to that judge. And I made lemons out of lemonade with the pattern of the sky. I like the sky but can appreciate the wires now.
How often does that opportunity arise? To demonstrate how mellow I’ve become… we ate a leisurely dinner in El Tovar. It was a superb meal. We finished just as the sunset was in progress. I would have set up with a tripod in an ideal spot if it were years ago. But I have become more of a photo opportunist. If the situation presents, otherwise I am content to let life happen. So, I got color. My sunset was not a sweeping vista. We had an excellent meal overlooking the canyon. Dinner with Colleen was priceless.
Colleen likes to eat out. Wouldn’t you? No cooking. No dishes. Someone does all the work. And you reap the benefits! Besides, it’s fun to eat different. As I mentioned, I try to take a picture every day. Some days it’s restaurants and food. Ummmm… I like to eat out too. Too much can be bad for your diet. Diet? Eat out? Sometimes the temptation is too great!
I have a thing about ordering Thai curry puffs. They are no particular big deal. But, the restaurant in NYC never had them though they were on the menu. They were always out. It’s like being hungry when you were a kid. Later in life, you just can’t resist ordering them because you can. So, I do!
Since I was inspired by the lecture at the Biggs Museum on photographic judging, I have sought/run into situations that are not ideal. No matter. Just shoot. Don’t mind wires, houses, or any other extraneous distracting elements. At least you have something. It won’t be in any major photo exhibition. But I have that decidedly ‘funky’ look that maybe more fun than I had otherwise considered. That art critic taught me that anything goes and what he likes should not have any influence upon what I might like.
These eastern clouds were being lit by setting sun in the west. It had been storming earlier in the day. I shot out the car window as we traveled down the highway south. South is always down, right? We’d been using a map that day. My companion folds hers. It doesn’t help. Two GPS devices, two iPhones, one map later and we still have a frantic scramble at the next turn. Kidding!
There is something to be said for cropping. I never considered panoramas until Dave showed me his iPhone shots. Easy!…on an iPhone. Pretty easy in Lightroom too. You have to have a good substrate with which to work. Then, it’s effective. Right image – right tool. Nice trick.
There is a side benefit to sitting in NYC traffic during the evening rush hour. I was not familiar with Williamsburg. So we had to go the hard way. GPS is nice. It will get you there. But to be a native, is to know the short cuts and avoid the sitting. We sat. But it was sunset and the benefit was that we had ample opportunity to photograph New York as I had never been allowed. Yes, we shot through and out the window. We got what we got. The new Kosciuszko Bridge, the skyline, the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower – all of this was afforded to us.
There was a big ginormous cemetery in Queens that one rarely glimpses over the high fence. I got it with the ESB in the background. Neat!
We still sat for a good long while. But there was something to do too. Stuck in traffic? There’s a benefit. You can see the city from a vantage you will not otherwise be allowed. There are views and then there are views. …silver lining.
For fireworks, I’d guess you can’t beat the sun. My old partner used to say the sunset over Bayonne, NJ was spectacular because of the air pollution. Maybe? The California wildfires were burning furiously to the north and south of Los Angeles. We could see the smoke 65 miles away in Ventura. Maybe? Maybe it was pollution, or maybe just luck? Nature put on a spectacular display.
I get a lot of sunset shots. …because I look. After that it’s the camera that does the trick. Of course, you’ve got to know how to hold your camera. Ha! There are a few things to knowing the right exposure. There’s nothing that Photoshop can make better if you didn’t get a good image to start. I’ve learned a lot about photography. Scenes and images come around again. It’s a matter of knowing what to do. I got hundreds of sunset images. Do I need to stop to take one more? Hmmm? Each time the light is a little different, the clouds unique, the location? It’s kind of like love; I do it ’cause I am.
Hang ’round awhile. What’s the rush? Unfortunately, I shoot a lot of sunset pics from a moving car. Hey! I shot some/something. Did you? But if you hang ’round after the sun goes down, there is an afterglow that follows. That is pretty spectacular and worth shooting too.
Traveling west by car I had an opportunity to see weather and clouds and sun all interact. I ended up with a greatest hits parade. The images were too numerous to count. I was struck by the variety that nature presented. Once again, my camera did a more than adequate job of capturing what I was seeing. It did fail me in capturing the red blinking lights of the windmills after dark. They blinked in unison but my camera lag was too slow to show off all the lights. You can’t always get what you want.
I told you I’m not a morning person. Funny! Since I quit working I’m frequently up before dawn. While I worked I was fortunate to time the start of my day well after sunrise. Somedays I would head in for ‘rounds’ near to noon. Yeah! Decadent! It almost seemed unfair. I felt guiltily like I wasn’t really working. I was lucky to have a flexible job that I enjoyed. Of course, there were plenty of nights I got home well after dark or not at all. Sunset, sunrise? Close your eyes, open your mind, it could be either or both. Mostly I’m active in the evening. In the morning I see the dawn but am less enthusiastic about catching the ‘rays.’
Here’s a non-sequitur. At the average of 1/100 sec per image for 100,000 images over three years that would be about 160 minutes or 2 ½ hours. Therefore, I have recorded/documented about a scant two hours of my life during that time. Since I shoot a lot of doubles, it would be a far smaller representation. Video? You shoot a lot more “nothing worth saving.”
Here’s an exercise I struggle with. Timing. Get that breaking wave sharply focused as it rolls showing maximum curl. Of course, it should also be a big wave. I frequently miss. …try again. Usually the camera is in my pocket as I see a large wave break. And another won’t come along till I have the camera tucked back in my pocket again. Insanity! Or, Murphy’s law?
Getting a spectacular sunset is like getting a fish image in the Red Sea. It’s pretty hard to not have an opportunity. Meanwhile I am woodworking. I can make basket stands. I need a new trick. These will go to another home. I won’t make more. No more baskets to be had at the store. And I’m not taking up basket making…. Pick? Two non-sequitur images. It’s a twofer. I’m just lazy today.
You carry a camera around; you get these shots. I don’t know whether you want one, but I got this. I just looked out and saw the juxtaposition. Neat! Stop at McD? Your call.
Everyone laughs when I take out my camera on a plane. It’s not good – the conditions. You are at altitude moving along at 500 mph shooting through scratched plexiglass with sunglare and cabin reflections. Try a night shot? Oh brother! It’s a slow shutter speed that will surely blur your image. “Every once in a while a blind squirrel gets a nut.” Never give up. I go with a shutter speed of 1/100 sec. Let the ISO run on auto. Press the shutter and hope for the best. Nuts! Yup!
This was my view landing in Jeddah. In the 11 o’clock position (in the traffic circle) is the world’s tallest flag pole. Yes! They made the traffic circle just for the flag. Urban planning? Yup! There is a traffic jam going ‘round that circle every single day and night that lasts for hours and hours. No one can complain to the king? When he goes through his motorcade has a path cleared by the police. It’s nice to be king. Oh! No trees either. There are lots of people.
And now, it gets dark at night. My weather changes. And at night it gets really dark! The view is unpolluted. There are lots of trees. I have to look closely to see any lights in the dark. Nice. I can do this for a while. Serenity. Don’t mess with mine.
I’m on the move this week. Forgot to post in advance. There is some great and grand weather in the Midwest. It’s a few days after the election. I’m still shocked and surprised. I’ll begin to post again in the next few days as time permits. Meanwhile I’d prefer to keep my thoughts to myself. For change it might be better to follow the adage: “if you have nothing nice to say…” So, let’s just talk about the weather.
Never ever! Never ever fly through Riyadh. I said it twice. You have been warned!
It’s a beautiful airport. It is a transit hub that funnels passengers to Jeddah/Mecca. Flights leave from multiple airlines continuously. I arrived from the US on a 6PM flight. My connecting flight to Jeddah was at 9PM. Plenty of time. I watched the board for announcements beginning an hour before the flight. Ten minutes after my flight departed, they posted – “Departed” – on the flight status board. No gate. No warning. No last call. Nothing. They never announced the gate number. This was the start to the nightmare. I caught a flight out at 1AM. Flights leave every hour. My plane was half empty. So go figure. I got to Jeddah airport and was met by the hospital driver. We threw my bags into the trunk. The driver turned to me and asked if I had the keys. No! He called another driver – for a spare key? No! For tools to break into the car! At 4AM we are in the parking lot breaking and entering. Really! It was a long flight made longer by a series of errors.
Never ever fly through Riyadh to make a connection. I have heard horror stories from others. If you feel inclined to ignore the warning….