This is a cross post from my photo-per-day blog, Pixelated and Back Again.
About a month ago I picked up a digital photo frame for my office. It\’s just a small one — seven inches or so — but it has a terrific quality of resolution. The logic behind the purchase was really quite simple: I take all these pictures, but I don\’t print many and can\’t be sitting flipping through my online collection while I\’m working, so… digital frame.
But getting a frame has forced me to spend a few evenings combing through my gallery searching for photos that not only meet the ‘frame-worthy\’ requirement, but also meet the ‘appropriate-for-the-office\’ requirement. (To date, I\’ve compiled 241 pictures.) And an offshoot of al that gallery combing has been that I\’ve discovered a whole assorted collection of steadily improving sunset pictures.
No really. And coming home from a run last night around eight in the evening, looking out towards the western horizon, it was hard not to be inspired to continue my running a little further, but this time with the dog and the camera in the nearby bit of greenspace (also known as the highway and powerline corridor) about a kilometer from our house.
A few points on the subject:
1) Wear a belt. A dog leash ties neatly to your belt, not only freeing both hands for the complex adjustments required to grab good sunset shots in the ever-changing light conditions, but also prevents your dog from chasing the small variety of nearby waterfowl.
2) Your eyes can still get damaged from looking into the setting sun, but your camera sensor is pretty safe. Don\’t be afraid to take pictures with the sun as your subject, low-balling you metering and under-exposing a few steps of course, but when looking through your viewfinder don\’t linger or look directly at that gorgeous ball of colour.
3) It\’s not the sunset that is interesting. What is more interesting is the awesome colours that fill the sky as the sun dips closer to the horizon. A few clouds — but not too many — help the diffractions of light that give you those brilliant pinks, oranges, purples, and reds and offer some contrast and some texture to the horizon.
4) That said, even the colours are not that interesting. What is even more interesting is shadows. Personally, I enjoy silhouettes which are really just nicely focused shadows falling on your sensor. Crisp black outlines imply so much and leave the image open to an interpretation by the viewer. This is desirable.
5) Some dogs — mine included — get restless at dusk. It\’s almost as if the transition from day to night messes with their little brains. Thankfully (for them) you don\’t have a lot of time from when you notice a sunset to when the sun dips out of sight, so your while you act fast to grab as many shots as you can, the dog doesn\’t need to wait too long for your photo expedition to finish.
My results were not my best work, but it made a nice little collection — and a nice little walk, too.