Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘sunset

The golden hour

with 60 comments

Nature photographers use the term “the golden hour” to refer to the first hour after sunrise and the last before sunset, in both of which the low sun casts a warm light. It was in the latter of those golden hours on November 16th that I rounded a curve on Rain Creek Parkway and noticed a great egret (Ardea alba) in the creek that flows through the golf course there. I pulled over, put on a long lens, and got off just a couple of shots before the egret took flight. Not having time to focus properly, I took four more pictures in quick succession. The one shown here was the best of the lot because it kept the center of the bird in focus from its tail to its head.

And how about the light in that golden hour? The phrase reminds me now of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Children’s Hour”:

Between the dark and the daylight,
      When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
      That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
      The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
      And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
      Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
      And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
      Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
      To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
      A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
      They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
      O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
      They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
      Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
      In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
      Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
      Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
      And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
      In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
      Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
      And moulder in dust away!

(Alice, Allegra, and Edith were the actual names of Longfellow’s daughters.)

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 8, 2020 at 4:33 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

with 27 comments

Four years ago today we were heading down California’s Highway 1 in waning daylight when I saw a sign for the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery near San Simeon and drove in to check it out.

In chronological order, you’re seeing three of the pictures I took there. You may be surprised, as I am when I look back at these photographs now, that the first one came about 17 minutes before the second one, and the third followed the second by about 16 minutes. In other words, we got two differently colored sunsets a little over half an hour apart. Hail, metadata, as good an elucidator as a sunset! (Let that last line live on as an idiosyncratic quotation for you today.)

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 3, 2020 at 4:35 AM

New Zealand: our best sunset

with 16 comments

I believe the best sunset on our 2017 New Zealand trip was the one we watched in Napier on March 4th.
The first view is one of the few pictures I’ve ever shown here that includes the moon.

The fiery follow-up came just a minute and a half later, so I assume I aimed in a different direction.

©2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 4, 2020 at 4:38 AM

Sibonga sunsets

with 18 comments

As you heard a few posts back, on December 23rd last year I wanted to see what the sunset along Sibonga’s waterfront might look like. What put the idea in my head was that on December 15th we’d been at the town square not far from the shore and I’d taken a few sunset pictures on my iPhone, including this one:

Late in the afternoon on the 23rd we walked out to the tip of the pier that juts into the Cebu Strait. Here’s one of the first pictures I took of the developing sunset:

Twelve minutes later, the view east toward Bohol had turned a pleasant rosy blue:

And six minutes after that we saw a more orange view looking west, back toward the town:

Notice how shades of gray distinguish “layers” of hills.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 22, 2020 at 4:40 AM

Sunset from the Quest Hotel

with 19 comments

From our room in Cebu City‘s Quest Hotel on December 18th we saw this good sunset.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 1, 2020 at 4:48 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

Sunset at the Temple of Leah

with 56 comments

As daylight dwindled on December 14th we found ourselves driving up into the hills on the north side of Cebu City to visit the Temple of Leah. We arrived just in time for me to catch a last bit of sunset color at the top of high cumulus clouds.

By looking in a different direction a minute later I managed to record some pastel blue and pink in the sky.

One minute after that, with sunset colors almost gone, I photographed an outdoor lamp sculpture.

I’m reminded now of another globe lamp I photographed near sundown five months earlier.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , ,

The Philippines

with 46 comments

On December 7th Eve and I flew from Austin to Seattle, then changed planes for Taipei, and finally changed once more to get to Cebu City, whose metropolitan area has the second largest population in the Philippines. While much of our 19-day trip went for family matters on the island of Cebu, including a wedding, I’d brought along a reduced version of my usual photo kit and hoped to get in some nature photography.

One Philippine province Eve (and therefore I) had never visited was Palawan, and so on the morning of December 12th we flew to the island of Busuanga in the very northern part of Palawan. That afternoon we joined a tour of the main town, Coron. The last place the tour took us was the base of Mount Tapyas, whose heights we reached by climbing 724* steps (and by enduring sore leg muscles when we had to climb more steps the next day). I see on the internet that Mount Tapyas is known for its sunsets, and it didn’t let us down.

In the first photograph the sun was still so bright that I underexposed by 3, 4, and even 5 f/stops to keep from blowing out the highlights in the solar disk. By the time of the second picture, which came 13 minutes later, I got away with an underexposure of only 1.33 f/stops, though you’ll notice some flaring on the hills beneath the sun. Just chalk it up to my usual flair as a photographer.

—  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —

* When our tour guide told us that there are 724 steps my immediate reaction was to think that 7 and 24 happen to be the lengths of the legs of a right triangle with a hypotenuse of 25 (you can do the arithmetic to verify that 7 squared plus 24 squared equals 25 squared).

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 3, 2020 at 4:29 AM

Again a bird and Niagara Falls without the falls

with 27 comments

On July 25th we stayed on the American side of Niagara Falls late enough to get a colorful sky while walking back to our car. And so ends the series of pictures from our visit to Niagara Falls.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 16, 2019 at 4:43 AM

Two gulls at Niagara Falls on July 25th

with 30 comments

I took the first picture from the Canadian side in the morning and the second from the American side near sundown, each time with the lens zoomed to its maximum focal length of 400mm. Both birds spoke to me. Take that figuratively and you’re all right; believe it literally and you’re gullible.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 8, 2019 at 4:44 PM

Going for sunset over a third Great Lake

with 29 comments

On July 27 we found ourselves seated for supper at a sidewalk table belonging to the Red Fern vegan restaurant in Rochester, New York. Near the end of the meal I told our waitress about the dramatic sunset we’d seen over Lake Erie the night before and asked her if she knew a place where we might catch a good sunset over Lake Ontario. She said that she did indeed, and that Google Maps shows it as Ontario Lake View in Webster, New York. Sure enough, my phone’s Google Maps pulled it up, and thither we repaired after our meal to wait out the sunset—in the company, as it turned out, of quite a few other people who also knew about the spot. The first thing that grabbed my photographic attention was the way the near-sunset light lit up the trees at the edge of Mill Creek where it becomes a long a pond as it reaches Lake Ontario.

After I finished taking pictures of those warmly illuminated trees I walked a short distance to focus on Lake Ontario. I couldn’t help noticing a small, mostly bare tree that the water had inundated, and I photographed it some three dozen times in various compositions while the sun sank lower and lower. At one point a duck that swam by added a welcome touch:

As for the sunset, well, it never got super dramatic the way it had the previous evening at Lake Erie.
That was still all right, and I came away content with the pictures I did manage to get.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 15, 2019 at 4:35 AM

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: