It is always such a pleasure to go to the beach and watch the waves roll in. Sometimes you just don’t want to leave. I visited Seaside, Oregon a couple of years ago and was in no hurry to leave. It was such a peaceful evening and the salty air was so refreshing. There was a large festival in town with a concert so most of the beachgoers were over at the venue, leaving the rest for me to enjoy on my own. As the sun began to dip I decided I needed to keep this memory fresh so I made a dash for the car to get my camera. I hope you get to visit some day and take in a Seaside, Oregon Sunset just like this one.
Every now and then I find an old place that just intrigues me. This was not one of those places, necessarily. The property wasn’t all that interesting and I just wanted to finish my work and move on. At the corner of the lot I noticed this old building, and was suddenly alert. I did find at least one way to enjoy the place. Maybe this is where clouds are born.
I was up early a few weeks ago, with nothing much to do that day. So I decided to go out looking for a nice photograph. The sun was far from coming up so I had time to go poking around on this unplanned shoot. I came to a meadow filled with cattle, but more impressive were the approximately 200 elk grazing on the early spring grass. There were about a dozen elk calves wandering around in a clump. I did shoot a few shots of them, but simply wasn’t prepared for wildlife that morning. Nothing to show for it. I did hang around for a couple of hours watching the light do it’s little dance across the horizon to the west, gradually creeping down the sides of the mountains. As the sun finally peaked over the hill in front of me, I clicked off a few shots, but nothing was really exciting my artistic eye. As the morning wore on I suddenly became aware of the cattle guard I had been standing nearly on top of for the past two hours. The sun was glinting nicely off of it, making it a magnet for me. The sun rose higher and happily the clouds grew more interesting. The result is nothing short of pure joy for me. I hope you like it, too!
Sometimes you don’t need a reason to shoot a location a second time in as many days. When an early autumn storm blew through this week, I knew I had to get out and see what was worth shooting. I had second guessed the sunset time wrong, again, and so was not able to continue to the location I had in mind. Instead I turned of 10 miles early and headed to where I thought I might see something nice. I was right. The elevation difference between the valley and the heights of Squaw Butte made for and excellent aerial playground. The clouds shearing across the landscape were interrupted by the stalwart ridge and forced to give way, washing around it like the sea around coastal shipwreck.
I was watching a concert pianist on YouTube this morning and she said we could watch her practice all day long. She practices for 10 hours each day! I guess that is what it takes to become an expert at something. That really struck me hard because sometimes I think I can just pull out the camera and make an awesome shot, but that is rarely the case. It takes loads of time and practice to hone any craft or skill, not just the desire. It was with that same attitude that I got this nice Squaw Butte Sunset last night.
All day long I research and learn new techniques for improving my skills, if I’m not actually shooting. But what good is research if you never actually do anything with it? So I set out to go and find something to shoot, even if I didn’t have a solid plan. It’s a good thing I was committed before I left because as it turns out my initial target was no good. Then I remembered Squaw Butte and how nice it is up there. I wanted to get the sun while it was still up, but I was just about 5 minutes too late. As I was driving up the mountain I was watching the sun creep higher and higher, while growing softer and more faint. When I finally arrived at my destination, all was lost. Ok, not really. I just had to modify my plan and hang about for 2 hours while it got dark. I decided I could at least shoot some stars. In the mean time, there was plenty of sunset watching (and a little shooting) to do.
Plans had to change again as the clear sky turned to partly cloudy, which is no good for shooting stars. It’s funny too because the initial reason I went out was because the sky had nice clouds, but by the time I got to my location they were all gone.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at the Squaw Butte Sunset as much as I enjoyed being there. It was a cold fall treat, and I might just go do it again someday soon.
I’m beginning to play with HDR. My goal is not to create images that LOOK like they are HDR, but that have a nice range of tone that is visible to the human eye. Because current camera technology is limited, the only way to do this is to combine several images into one. This can produce some very crazy results. This image looks closer to normal than it started out. Surprisingly, it takes a lot more work to get a natural looking image using HDR processes, rather than a crazy psychedelic scene. This little view is just outside my driveway here in Idaho. It is one of my first attempts at capturing and processing HDR and I hope it is a pleasing skyway view.
This part of Idaho is dry in the summer. VERY dry. Like, we haven’t had rain for 65 days kind of dry. So I was a little surprised to see this odd fish cloud lounging above town a few weeks ago. That was the only one. Not a single other cloud could be seen. It struck me as strange, unique and interesting all at once. I wanted to capture the ‘above town’ part of it, but that part of town just wasn’t deserving of being in a photograph. It wasn’t until I started to work on the image that the shape of a fish stuck it’s head out at me. What do you think: fishy or not?