Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘sunset colors

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.

Building Up

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It is late day in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. The sun is sinking toward the horizon to bring another day to a close. Where I’m standing it has been most sunny, but a few clouds are building up to the south and southeast. One of those is catching the last rays of sunlight. If you look carefully toward middle of the cloud you’ll see a departing jetliner that has just taken off from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. I didn’t know it was there until I began processing the image.

Written by csanders429

August 13, 2017 at 7:42 am

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.

Whose House This is I do Not Know

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I have no idea who owns this house. It was just another home that I happened to see on a drive westward coming out of Salem, Ohio.

But it was nearly time for sunset and I liked the glint effect of the light. I was a passenger in a vehicle driven by a friend and I made this image from the passenger seat without my friend even slowing down.

I guess that makes this a literal grab shot. Yet I liked how it turned out.

Red Blinking Light

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On the railroad it is known as an EOT, which stands for end of train. It is a mechanical device that readers the air pressure at the end of the train and relays that information to the engineer in the locomotive.

EOTs have a blinking light so that a stopped train ahead is visible to a train that might be behind it.

This train is moving westbound through Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on tracks owned by Norfolk Southern.

The clouds to the west have begun breaking up enough to let through the last light of the day.

I was trying to time the blinking of the EOT to capture it as the train moved away from me. The starburst effect was simply a bonus.

Providing Light From Atop the Rocks

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I earlier published an image that I made at Bass Harbor Head lighthouse in Maine. It was the first lighthouse that I ever photographed.

Made in October 1978, it would be decades before I again photographed another lighthouse. In recent years I’ve developed an interest in lighthouses although most of those that I photograph these days are on the Great Lakes.

My first attempt to photograph Bass Harbor was at the entrance level. That was the image I posted earlier.

After making it, I noticed that there was a way to climb down the rocky knoll upon which the lighthouse sits.

The sun was sinking fast and casting warm light on the rocks and the lighthouse itself. My earlier photograph does well in showing more of the lighthouse itself, but this angle provide more context, including giving a hint of why the lighthouse was situated here in the first place many years ago.