I have recently been trying my hand at sunset photography. Many photographers will tell you that this is THE time to be taking all of your photos. Personally, I disagree. I think you can take photos all day long and make great images. It forces you to learn how to use the light as it changes throughout the day and to find subjects that you may miss otherwise. But, I will agree that sunset photography is quite magical. Many of my favorite photographers have a knack for capturing beautiful landscapes filled with gorgeous golden light and skies filled with a rainbow of colors. I have to admit, I’m a bit envious of their ability to capture such stunning scenery–they are sunset magicians!
One of the biggest challenges in regards to this type of photography (at least for me) is finding the perfect location. Again, I know plenty of photogs that can pull over on the side of a gravel road and capture a scene that I would’t have ever thought of and end up with images that blow me away, but I don’t seem to have the eye for that quiet yet because I find myself spending (read: wasting) a lot of time driving around, looking for the perfect location, only to realize I’m running out of that perfect light I want to capture. One of these days I will learn to scout locations earlier in the day instead of half an hour prior to prime time.
On this particular night, I happened to be out gravel traveling and spotted a windmill. Then I spotted the tree next to it. It took all of two seconds to fall in love with the spot and know that I’d be sitting on that road until the sun went down. I spent the half hour before sunset walking around, looking for the angles and compositions I wanted and then sat in my car and waited until the light was just right. As I waited, I noticed I had some company. From the back of the field came a herd of heifers. At first I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t really want them in my shot. This was supposed to be about the sun setting behind the tree and the windmill and here I was about to get photobombed by a bunch of cows. Let me tell you what though–I was wrong. SO. WRONG. Those cows turned out to be the best surprise of the night. While I love my shots of the tree and the windmill and the tree, a couple of my favorites from this night feature–you guessed it–the cows.
This is one of my first experiences photographing at sunset and in low-light conditions and I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself and the results. I have some work to do and plenty to learn if I want to reach “sunset magician” level, but I’m definitely on my way!