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….
Did I mention Saudi Arabia is Muslim? And they do not allow any other religious symbols to be displayed. No cross or bible. They are confiscated. And the censors….well I was on Saudi Airlines and a scene was edited with blurred bubbles. What? It was a cemetery. And there were crosses. And all the tombstones were blurred out. Geez. Actually it’s amusing to watch censored movies. You see there is considerable latitude for the particular censor and the movie he blurred. Some will blur a woman’s bare neck. I’m not talking cleavage. Anyway, there is hardly a block where you don’t see a local mosque. My hospital has one built in and available on the ground floor. Hey! Catholic hospitals have chapels. And the minarets are striking and picturesque.
And sunsets are spectacular. A water treatment plant is nearby spewing lots of pollution. My partner always said sunset in Bayonne was spectacular because of the pollution… The minarets all have speakers that blare out prayers at prayer time. Five times a day starting at dawn, they pray. Well, not everyone prays each and every time. But there is plenty of call and plenty of opportunity.
You want weather? I saw weather. Unfortunately, I cannot demonstrate here how absolutely breathtaking it was to drive through. It was dusk. The rain all day lifted enough so that there was no fog at all. The air was crisp and cool. Moist. The sun peeked in from the right and shone under and against the clouds. How special? People were stopping to get photos with their smartphones. We got a full rainbow. I can only show you half.
The clouds were changing rapidly. The light was fantastic but only for a few fleeting moments. Free show! And then it was gone. The clouds were so ephemeral. Storm clouds were still gray with rain to my left. It was nature at its most awesome. Enjoy the show. I wish you were there.
Hoverboard is a term and phenomenon that exploded into my consciousness recently. It was a mythical device shown in the movie Back to the Future. Kids are now on it all over the place. Where have I been? Under a rock, obviously…. And they are dangerous, lots of orthopedic fractures have resulted. There’s video where they explode – unintended of course. But, I digress. I’m catching the sunset at the cornice and there are two guys (yeah, large kids ride these things sometimes) in my frame complete with sunset afterglow and the world’s tallest fountain. Yes, an interesting commentary starts. Old vs new, make way for the modern. Two cultures are clashing, each oblivious to the other. Smart phone in hand, it’s another way of showing that you are cool and ignore the world around you. Sunsets are a dime a dozen. The guys are looking in different directions. The old and the new, someday oil will be exhausted and then what? Yeah, then what? Meanwhile, kids are short because the fall to the ground off a hoverboard is less. I guess I’m too old for this. Or, it’s a long way to fall…
Every night is not excellent. So you go with what nature gives. You need to be on the spot. But clouds are not always cooperative. But as with many things, it is location, location, location.
Then you just have to make lemonade if you are given lemons. I’ve shown you the fountain before. It’s a jet engine and touted to be the world’s tallest fountain. I take pictures of it ‘cause it’s there. Like Everest baby, like Erverest.
So a night later Laura came to visit and we did the sunset again. She’s Julia’s best friend.
And Laura was introduced to the reflection sunset in the glass to which she commented, “That’s a Victor picture.” Her family pays enough attention to acknowledge my cunning use of photographic technique to get different rather than mundane. I didn’t know they noticed. And since Laura’s dad is pretty good with a camera, that is high praise.
There were four of us to watch the sunset, so the mystery fifth is a bonus. Perhaps it was the good fairy of sunset photography going by with a smile.
Here’s a new variation on an old subject. Jules and I walked the beach and the sun sets due west. I was watching the afterglow and noticed the window reflection. Voila! A new perspective and it was an unexpectedly extraordinary find. It’s neat to find something you have never seen before in a scene you have shot so many times. Yup, an old dog learns.
Don’t quit your day job. The mantra repeats in my mind. I’d be a wedding photographer if I could. Then the bridezilla stories abound on the wedding complaint sites. Oh, well, everyone gets rain. But! I sold a picture! My second! See? Don’t quit your day job. How’d they find me? This blog. Who knows? Out of the blue…can we purchase the photo we found on your blog. I hope they do not mind my showing the cover mock-up for the book. They wanted a high resolution digital file. Ah! My images are numbered. This was a slide. Roll number and frame number were not too hard to locate. And then I had several copies of the digitized image. However it was a real stroke of luck to find a high res Tiff file. Yup, luck! The original slide was buried in a box somewhere in storage. No, it would not be possible to find it. So serendipity, the publisher just happened to ask for a file I had. Most of my images sit redundantly backed up on four external hard drives. And now to payment, the publisher wanted bank information to transfer the funds. Identity theft?
After contacting the author of the book to be sure it was all above board, we settled on credit card accepted by my cousin Amy, who is a professional with a business. Done. Sold one! The last one I sold was in 2012. Nope, don’t quit your day job.
It’s a ride down from Boothbay Harbor. There’s a lighthouse and I have had some nice experiences here in the past. We hit it as sunset was in full swing. The first image is 24mm with my spiffy new 24-70mm lens. And the second was wider 18mm with an older 18-35mm lens. As with any high contrast scene the meter and sensor were limited in capability to capture what the eye sees. There are options. But I prefer to keep it simple. There are times that call for a super wide angle. It’s subtle but definite. Your choice but I’d go with the 18mm image.
Boothbay Harbor, autumn, and, sunset a great combination I think. Take your pick. I saw the clouds and the sunset. Then I noticed the cove and the reflection. Some days are just magical. The light was fading fast. I got the images. HDR might have been more dramatic. I’m okay without extra manipulation. My roots are slide film. So the inability to meter the entire scene is not a problem for me. I like the natural feel. It’s funny because Jules always could tell film from digital. I wonder how she’d feel about these images.
Sunset is always different. I like good clouds. Then I want a nice orange glow. Sometimes you don’t get what you want. I like it when folks pass in front of my sunset. They get shot.
And it is amusing to watch the smart phone crowd. I have to admit the cellphone images are better than nothing. I guess for a screen saver or desktop image this is more than adequate. I just think you need a real camera to do it right. But notice my big fancy camera is having problems in the dim light too.
Some days you just don’t get that cloud filled sky with orange glowing clouds. The camera is pretty adept at getting the globe or the setting sun. Timing helps. Across this bay is a manmade island gifted to a past king. There is an empty palace there somewhere in which a staff of a thousand remains employed. When I first saw this with Farid he warned me not to photograph the island. He was being cautious I guess. There are time when you are and others when you are not.
Black and white – men and women – come to think of it, I don’t see to much hand holding but I do see it commonly among men. And I do not see women holding much either. Intentional? To answer a different question, these folks walked across my sunset photo. Right!
I was curious to watch this little one set up her dad’s phone to take the shot. She’s pretty darned talented for her age if you ask me. iPhone shots have surpassed Nikon cameras to jump to number two on Flickr. Canon is still number one.
We had dawdled, seriously meandered our way up the coast. So the plan to bike or hike the park trails was a bust. I refer to the carriage paths that the Rockefeller family bequeathed to the park. The trails are fabulous and definitely ride them if you can. I have. And maybe some day we will again. Meanwhile the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain is worth the ride too. The lake and the Maine coast are shadowed below. No HDR for me. Sorry. It was the sky that was the star.
Any other clear blue sky day and the coast and the lake would be the stars of the image. But the clouds and sunset were image. So I took it. Moments later I fell uphill. Yes you can be clumsy anywhere. I sustained a laceration deep enough to require stitches but was not willing to waste time in an ER. I’d have sewn myself up if I had the materials. Instead the local Rite Aid had the bandaids to pull the cut together and all was well.
In Bar Harbor the final throes of sunset gave the sky an impossibly beautiful orange color. So I managed two nice sunsets in the same day. We were foraging for dinner. So this second shot was a real bonus. I will parenthetically add that we were also carrying a pair of lobster socks that said “bite me.” The lucky winner of said pair will know this was the place we bought them.
It could just as well be sunrise. I hate power cables. They always ruin a potentially good shot, except when they are the shot. Well it is dusk and we are headed west. Do ya think? Ha, I like that phrase two days in a row. And the sunset is catching the power lines. And the glow is wonderful. We’re in Maine and headed down the coast to make it to a dinner reservation.
The technical – we are in the car. There is glare off the windshield. I need to zoom the lens up a bit to avoid the glass, glare, and the car mirror. And…I am the driver. Relax. I did not peer through the viewfinder to compose. I treated the shot like a point and shoot opportunity. And yes, my companion was not a happy camper as I clicked off a few shots. No, we did not stop, we did not pause, we just kept on going, and we got to that restaurant on time just as it was dark.