Tag Archives: Sunrise/Sunset

Timing is Everything

Sunset From The Patio

Monte commented on my last post about having been inside having dinner when a nice sunset was happening.  As it turned out, Friday’s sunset here was also pretty nice, but I missed it for the same reason.  I’ve often told non-photographers that many of the best landscape photos are taken when people are either eating or sleeping.  Of course, Kathy’s version of that saying is that a sunset is best observed through a glass.  Albeit not a glass in the form of a camera lens. 😉

I had my camera all ready to go on Saturday night but it turned out to be a colorless mass of gray clouds.  But I left everything out in the office to I would be ready last night.  When the first hint of pink started in the sky I went inside, grabbed my gear and headed to the patio.  But in the course of that 1-2 minute window the pink faded as fast as it started.  I did manage to salvage a bit of the last remaining hints of color as it faded.  First photo and last photo were about 12 minutes apart.

Sunset From The Patio

Transmission towers aren’t as nice a subject as palm trees, but they aren’t drift fences, either. 🙂

Sunset From The Patio

Celebrating Our 2-Year “Retirement-versary!”

Sunset from Morton Overlook, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I realized this morning that today is the date of our retirement 2 years ago…time flies when you’re having fun!  It’s amazing to realize that it has been two years. We’ve been very glad that we over-reached a bit on our travel through the first 21 or so months, since we’ve been making up for it the last few months.

The photo is from 2006, recently processed in Lightroom using more “modern” tools.

A Matter of Perspective

Sunrise along the waterfront in Belhaven, North Carolina

One of the more recent additions to Lightroom is the “Transform” function, in particular the perspective correction tool.  I find myself making use of this tool a lot, as it “corrects” photos where I’m forced to shoot from an angle – side to side and up to down – and making them look normal.  I don’t generally use it to “cheat” but rather I like to use it when I don’t have a choice about where to stand.

Sunrise along the waterfront in Belhaven, North Carolina

I’ve been going back through some old unprocessed photos and came across a group of sunrise photos from 2010 in Belhaven, North Carolina.  One of the distinguishing features of the harbor in Belhaven is a break wall that separates the harbor from the larger Pungo River.  The break wall is a well-recognized landmark of this area, but the problem I always have with it is that it doesn’t run perpendicular to the places I photograph from.  As a result, there is always a perspective mismatch between the horizon line and the line of the breakwall.  They never looked right when I processed them, so I’ve always been hesitant to use them for anything.  Until now.

Sunrise along the waterfront in Belhaven, North Carolina

Looking at this photos, I wondered if the perspective correction in Lightroom could be used to “fix” the position of the breakwall so it looked “right” in my photos.  Lo and behold, it does!  There is a little bit of falloff in focus in the areas that are actually father away, but it’s hardly noticeable.  And yes, I could have done this a long time ago in Photoshop.  But that misses my point.  And of course, someone who lives there and is used to the view would likely recognize the change immediately.  But for most folks, they wouldn’t notice the difference.

I’ve attached a couple of photos as examples, including one “before & after composite.  I think it turns a photo that never looked quite right into one that looks pretty good for all but the pickiest few among us.  And chances are they don’t read this blog! 🙂

before-after

Cheaper Than Moving to Arizona

Sunset on the beach, Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Here in the southeast US, winter takes two forms.  The first is “the leaves are gone and it’s cold,” and the second is “OH !@#$%.” This coming weekend appears to be “OH !@#$%” and it isn’t even officially winter yet!  The forecast is calling for 8-12″ of snow and low temperatures in the 20s.  We’ll see, but it looks like the confidence is pretty high.  Yikes.

One of the things that Kathy & I have been talking about for this winter is what temperature to set the thermostat at.  Now that we’re home every day we don’t want to leave it set at 65 degrees like we did when we worked.  But we don’t want to keep it set too high, as we’d like to keep from blowing the gas bill out of the proverbial water.  So ‘what to do’ has been the question.

Perhaps not coincidentally, I have found myself somewhat more sensitive to the cold this year (yes, I know that it hasn’t gotten cold yet!).  While my philosophy has always been to make sure I am wearing adequate clothing before turning up the heat, I’ve been finding it necessary to resist turning it too high this year.

At one point I told Kathy – jokingly – that maybe we should think about moving to Arizona.  But at some point yesterday we decided that even if the gas bill doubled – which it won’t – it would still be cheaper than moving to Arizona!  Although I will admit to looking at cruises leaving this weekend to see if we could escape to the Caribbean!  But we opted to tough it out here at home, and turn up the thermostat if we need to.

Blurry Pictures

Sunset on the beach, Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

A technique that I love to use at the beach is motion blur.  This can take the form of long shutter speeds on a tripod, or panning the camera along the scene or with a moving wave.  It can convey a feeling of motion, simplify a busy scene or just look “pretty.”  It doesn’t work just anywhere, and I’ve become pretty good about knowing when to use it.

Sunset on the beach, Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I hadn’t tried using motion blur much this trip until I was reminded of it in a recent Instagram post by William Neill.  Bill originally inspired me to try using motion blur years ago, and his work continues to inspire me.

Sunset on the beach, Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Last night while we waited to see if the moonrise would be visible, I tried using a slow shutter speed on the water, the sky and even some sea oats blowing in the wind.  A few of them came out OK, so I thought I would share.

Sunset on the beach, Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the beach, Palmetto Dunes Oceanside Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Living The So-Called Dream

Sunrise over Swans Cove Pool, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Assateague Island, Virginia

There was a recent post on The Online Photographer titled “How to be a Professional Photographer” where Mike Johnston commented about how difficult it was to make a living as a professional photographer.  There were a number of comments both in support of his post as well as lamenting the difficulty of the profession.  There were also a few humorous comments.

The joke that I’ve always loved about being a professional photographer goes something like this: An amateur photographer is someone who has a good job so they can buy nice gear and travel to exotic places to take photographs.  A professional photographer is someone whose spouse has a good job so they can buy nice gear and travel to exotic places to take photographs.  Somehow that’s never worked for me – I couldn’t get the spousal support I needed to pursue my passion.  I’m kidding, of course!

Kirk Tuck chimed into the conversation with a thoughtful comment and a post on his own blog.  Most of Kirk’s post was his usual well-reasoned commentary.  He is a professional photographer with a lot to be proud of.  He has seemingly mastered the business side of the business while staying current with technology and changes in the marketplace.  His is a voice to pay attention to when it comes to operating a photography studio as a business.  The statement that got a little under my skin, however – probably because it is a bit of a sore subject for me – was when he said that “retirement is only for people who didn’t like their careers.”

Of course the publishing world is full of people writing about how everyone should be pursuing their passion/finding their North Star/determining the color of their parachute, etc., and that if they aren’t living their dream they need to (after buying the author’s particular book, of course) set off on their own path of self-discovery and do their own wonderful passion-inducing thing.  Wouldn’t that be lovely?  In my opinion, very few folks are fortunate enough to even figure out what they are passionate about, let alone have all the skills and (to a certain extent) good luck required to actually make a living from their work.  And that assumes they figure out what they are passionate about early enough in their life to actually do something about it!

The rest of us get jobs.  Even if it is banking or insurance or hospitality or something that isn’t terribly glamorous, hopefully our jobs provide enough of whatever kind of satisfaction we are looking for, pay enough to cover the rent and save with a little left over to spend on something fun.  If we’re really fortunate we are able to keep our jobs long enough to call it a career while saving and investing responsibly so that at some point we can walk away from work and do something – anything – else.  Not that our work sucks or that our careers have been a failure, it’s just that instead of “pursuing our passion” we found a good enough job that we were able to do long enough to finally be able to walk away.  That’s not failure, it’s a different kind of success!

Retirement is a subject I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and preparing for.  I’ve had a great career and am proud of what I’ve accomplished over 40 years in banking.  Even though I haven’t been “pursuing my passion” by someone’s arbitrary standards, I’m very happy with the direction things have taken and am looking forward to being able to explore the world with the person I love without the constraints and distractions of work.  And that is something I’m very passionate about!

Last day at work – for both me and Kathy – is May 25! 🙂