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Posts from the ‘sunlight’ Category

Solar power…

solar power

As we find ourselves on the cusp of winter’s edge, it’s nice to harken back just a few months and remember the powerful warmth of summer’s magnificent sun. This fiery image, taken while cruising along the southeastern tip of Mexico, was truly a beauty to behold. Feel free to conjure it up anytime the chill of the season upon us takes its toll! Hope you enjoy…

Now you see it…

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This image represents one aspect of what keeps me challenged, and forever thirsty, in my passion for the photographic arts: capturing that “moment” as you are seeing it in real time, and forever encasing it in pixels and perhaps dots on paper in the same  way you originally experienced it. How many  photographs actually do this?  This beautiful morning scene drew me in a week or so ago, on one of the first full days of autumn. It was about 7:00 a.m., and the dew was so moist it was literally dripping off the leaves; the shafts of sunlight were radiating through the branches and the fog, creating an otherworldly effect in what is normally an unremarkable rural setting near our neighborhood. But the moment… the moment was pristine. I framed, clicked, reframed… but  even as I shot, I could tell, somehow, the beauty of the fog-laden air, the clean, refreshing aromas, might never be truly represented by my efforts. Even so, I continued shooting until the sun rose so high that the shafts disappeared and the morning’s magical essence faded away. I hope a bit of it remains in my photograph, and I hope you enjoy…

Sky on fire…

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Sometimes color just rules the day. This evening sky, taken from my Phoenix hotel room window overlooking some of the local flora and fauna at the base of Camelback Mountain, was just too compelling not to shoot. These colors became more muted, then unexpectedly reburst in one final blaze of glory before fading into final twilight.

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Days end…

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Be prepared…

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The image above is a happy accident. It was not the image I went out to photography last evening, but it’s the one I came home with. And while I am fairly pleased with the result, it falls in the category that we as photographers cannot seem to drill into our own heads: Be prepared.

Here is what happened. Driving home from running errands yesterday evening, I saw the cloud formations to the east looking particularly dramatic. The sun was setting, its rays slowly melting from golden to fuchsia, the clouds were gaining structure and contrast in a way that simply guaranteed I’d have an award-winning shot without breaking a sweat. That attitude should have been my first clue. Ahem. So confident was I about my intention and subject, I quickly stopped by my house and in the blink of an eye, grabbed my tripod and camera–already armed with the perfect wide-angle zoom for my landscape, and within 5 minutes was in position and on location. Didn’t

Only… wait. One problem. The sun died… right in front of my eyes. The cloud formation, which should by all rights should have exploded with color, simply…. fizzled.  The cloud went dark. And there I sat looking at a dark blue cloud on a quickly darkening sky. Hmm…. Any light, anywhere??? Oh, yes… of course… the light BEHIND me was spectacular and the local radio tower was perfectly framed in color. Except, I was standing there with a wide-angle lens and the beautiful tower was far, far away. I tried framing, reframing and finally had to settle for an image I knew I would have to severely crop later. The result is what you see above. OK, so maybe somehow, someway, I made lemons out of lemonade (you all can be the judge) but once again, I had to humbly admit that I let my excitement over getting “the shot” get in the way of my clear thinking about what I should have come prepared for. Yes, a longer telephoto should have been in my bag (I didn’t even grab a bag!) so that if the shot I thought I was going to get didn’t pan out, I might have had some  options.

I tell this story because 1) I think it’s important to constantly remind oneself that the road to becoming a great photographer is fraught with humbling lessons and 2) the joy of the chase is actually the true joy of photography. If you end up with an award-winning image, it’s icing on the cake. Just keep enjoying the journey. Til next time…

Big sky country…

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There is nothing more dramatic, more magical, than a winter sky. It’s truly the season of the “big sky” and if you are photographer and you don’t get out and shoot from December to February, you are truly missing one of nature’s most wondrous achievements. The problem for me in the winter is that am generally working til dark, and I usually glance up and out my window right about the time the “big show” begins… only to realize that by the time I grab a camera, fit a lens, jump in the car, and stash my tripod, the magic will have passed. There is more leeway to make this all come together after work in the summer, but unfortunately, the skies just don’t seem to have the same magnificence in July. This image was taken a couple of evenings ago at a park just across the street from where I live. I was prepared to come away with nothing, or next to nothing, but I forced myself to go through the motions and see if I’d get lucky, somehow. While the spot I was shooting from was far from ideal–no sweeping vistas here–once I saw what was happening in the cosmos, I just sat down and shot. I tried about a dozen different angles and hoped for the best. In the end, I think I captured a bit of the majesty I enjoyed in person, which in truth, is always my personal photographic objective. So while the sun may be warmer in June, I’ll always be able to look back and appreciate this gorgeous mid-winter sunset. Hope you enjoy…

How less can be more…

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Sometimes as photographers, we are caught up in the pixel race… the charge to fill every available micro-pixel with information so our pictures have that WOW effect, as if maximizing pixel data somehow relates to photographic  quality. But creatively speaking… sometimes less is more. In this shot, taken at the Pacific Coast near Malibu, I took a break from shooting the gorgeous rocky blue coastline to turn and see the sun just peaking over the hillside before sunset. Ordinarily, shooting directly into the sun is a no-no…. with crazy lens flare and volatile metering making a quality exposure near impossible. However,  in previsualizing this shot, I realized it  had the makings of a nice silhouette. I snapped off a few frames, and later, with a bit of post processing, was rewarded with this final shot. Am bothered by the vast amount of negative space? Not really… in fact, all the black just help train the eye straight up to the top of the peak, where the bright rays shooting through the trees capture that fleeting penultimate moment, just before the sun disappears for the day. Hope you enjoy…

Winter’s WOW factor…

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Autumn seems to be all about color. Once those green tones of summer begin to evolve into shades of orange, red, rust, and yellow, photographers (me included) leap to our feet, run about madly and try to soak up the color like a sponge–often shooting hue, instead of true composition. You can’t help it, and I am as guilty as the rest. But then December kicks in, and those remaining leaves are dull brown, the skies often turn blustery or gray, and we are left wondering where it all went.

Luckily, the onset of winter brings another dazzling subject–those dusky winter skies. I am no meteorologist, but I assume the tilt of the earth’s axis as we enter the winter solstice gives the sun’s rays that searing ability to blaze through the clouds and offer some of the most gorgeous, breathtaking sunsets of the year. No matter what the scientific reason, I am literally gasping for breath every time a scene like the one above explodes on the landscape, making even an ordinary setting like my backyard look like a scene-stealing broadway star. Now, that’s WOW factor! Hope you enjoy…

Days all aglow…

 

Scrumptious color, everywhere I look these past weeks. We’ve had a particularly long, beautiful run of color this autumn in Middle Tennessee, which has drawn me outside, camera in hand, like a bee to honey. It’s truly irresistible. I love it when a tree like this maple is bursting with warm reds and golds, which creates a canopy of brilliant warm tones below. Even the trunk is glowing. As I was standing underneath, shooting upward, leaf after leaf dropped down around me, reminding me that these days are fleeting. Time to savor, appreciate, and shoot. Hope you enjoy…

Prickly subject…

 

This is a second take on the subject that appeared in my last post. I liked the monochrome treatment as I felt the stark contrast worked well with catching the light on the prickles. But here, the warmth of the scene gives an entirely different feel. You can truly close you eyes and imagine being bathed in that morning desert light. The subject however, is not any more inviting! Ouch! Hope you enjoy…

Green symmetry and sunlight…

 

I recently completed a WordPress survey that asked the question: Do you ever have trouble coming up with something to write about. I answered truthfully, “never.” Maybe that is because I don’t put any pressure on myself to post daily, or on any regimented schedule, so I write when the spirit moves. But I think it has more to do with the fact that when I view the images I’ve created, the words simply flow. That to me is the heart of photography–not simply looking at a pretty picture–but the fact that the image “says” something to me.  I never fail to be inspired for a post, because I am communicating here the feelings and thoughts I had when I originally composed the shot. Sometimes with time, I even see more than I thought was there, which makes it doubly interesting to write about. But no matter what, there is always a message–an inspiration–in every photograph I post.

This photo was taken in Seagrove Beach this summer. An ordinary palm branch, right outside the condo where we stayed. I was struck each morning, by the beauty and symmetry of the leaves as they spread out from the center, and the gorgeous golden light that illuminated its natural, yet graphic design. On the last morning there, I decided to capture it. Today, it makes me smile each time it pops up in my gallery viewer. I hope you enjoy it, as well…