Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘dramatic sunsets

Anniversary of a Dramatic Sunset

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One year ago today I created what may be the most dramatic sunset photographs I’ve ever made.

We were staying at a bed and breakfast northeast of Tucson, Arizona, at the home of a couple that had some land. Therefore, I had some open views of the surrounding landscape, which includes the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Saguaro cactus plants are a mainstay of the Sonoran Desert though they tend to do best on steep, rocky slopes.

Our hosts had a number of tall saguaros and I walked around their property looking for a suitable one to use to frame my images.

There was a cloud cover that was, fortunately for me, moving on. Ken said those clouds would yield a nice red sunset.

He proved to be right. The skies to the west were clear, but the edge of the cloud cover was still overhead.

That was key because it is not the sun itself but the reflection of light from the setting sun that creates the spectacular and dramatic colors that give a sunset its stark beauty.

From a scientific perspective, what we seeĀ  are light rays reflecting and then scattering after hitting particles of dust, water droplets and ice crystals.

Scientists say that the colors produced by light depend on how far it has to travel and at sunset that path is farther than it is in the middle of the day.

In short, what we are seeing is a filtering effect. Colors tend to be more vivid in skies that are dry, clean and contain smaller particles. This image was made in October when the air tends to be drier and cleaner.

From a photography standpoint, I’ve noticed that getting good sunset images takes patience as well as the ability to react quickly.

The dramatic colors of sunset don’t last long. They can peak and be gone in a matter of minutes. Maybe it is my imagination, but they seem to vanish much faster than they appeared.

But that’s probably a result of the run-up time to the sunset, which is often going to be long as you have to get in position for nature’s show and then wait for it.

And what a show nature can put on when conditions are right.

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Cactus and Sunset

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The sun will soon be going down over the Santa Catalina Mountains that surround Tucson, Arizona, and the host of the bed and breakfast where we were staying has indicated that it should produce a spectacular sunset.

That will occur in a few minutes, but in the meantime, I’m trying out some other angles to capture the last of the sun on this splendid October day.

This three-image sequence works with two separate saguaro cactus plants to show the progression of the sunset.

I was fortunate to have the edge of a cloud cover that moved on at the right time. It would be the presence of those clouds that would make this sunset so dramatic.

Sinking Into Lake Erie

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Interstate 90 in the vicinity of Erie, Pennsylvania, is built on a series of high bluffs that provide a view of Lake Erie to the north.

The view of the lake is particularly pronounced near North East, Pennsylvania.

We had just finished dinner and were headed back to Ohio on I-90. I was sitting in the passenger seat, my camera in hand. I had a few opportunities to catch the sunset and this was the best of the lot.

The sun is about to sink into the lake, ending another day.

Sunset and Edgewater Park Pier

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This past Sunday was an unusually warm day with temperatures rising to a record-setting low 90s.

Edgewater Park in Cleveland on the shore of Lake Erie was crowded, particularly the beach.

I happened to be around at sunset time and there were still a lot of people out on the pier fishing or just watching ol’ sol disappear dip below the horizon.

Another Lake Erie Sunset

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We were having dinner in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, at a restaurant that has a deck right on Lake Erie. We make it a point to go there for dinner once every summer on a warm evening.

This year we arrived later than usual. It was the first time I’d been there as the sun was setting.

Soon the sun would descend into a soup of gathering clouds.

The Last Pink Light of the Day

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Dinner was over and it was starting to get dark. I was reading a newspaper in a sun room of the home of a cousin of my wife who lives near Linden, Michigan, on a lake.

A storm had moved through, but it had moved out, leaving behind some clouds.

I didn’t get to see the sunset because of the clouds, but I did notice that some pinkish light remained afterwards with a hint of purple in the clouds.

I grabbed my camera and went outside. When I can, I don’t like to let a nice sunset go to waste.

I’ve seen similar sunsets, but each presents its own pattern, its own colors and its own beauty.

At the End of Another Day

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Maybe it was a good day, maybe it was a bad day or maybe it was just another day. But no matter what type of day that I’m having or have had I never fail to be impressed or even to take note of another colorful sunset. Nature’s beauty is enough to lead me to pause and enjoy it even if for just a moment or two. Shown is a sunset near Oak Creek, Arizona.