Happy New Year. Here’s hoping for a safer and saner 2021. Since the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is on a holiday break, I decided that for my Thursday post I would share some golden hour images captured over the years in our winter hideaway in Arizona. Though it looks like I misaimed the camera for picking up the sunset in the opening panoramic photo, I was most interested in capturing the skies over the White Tank Mountains. This location is my favorite sunset location as it’s at the southern edge of the range and the sun doesn’t disappear behind the nearest mountains from this location.
Arizona has some of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen. There is documented proof of why Arizona is known for colorful sunsets. You can read the details here. I don’t always take a tripod for my sunset shots, but they can be useful especially after the sun sets and exposure times can get too long to hand-hold the camera.
If I move a little further north on the road near my favorite sunset spot, I can catch the sun as it slips behind a couple of mountain peaks in the distance. Adding a foreground element like that tree in silhouette provides a bit of mystery to the image. “Clipping” the sun can also create those interesting sun rays in the shadow area near the clip. I’ve found that selecting a smaller lens opening and choosing a wide-angle setting on the zoom lens are best for creating the rays, in this case, my lens opening was set to f/14.
Another example of sun rays was created by clipping the sun between two saguaro cactus arms. That f/14 lens opening again created a pleasing sunray effect.
When I rekindled my interest in photography about a decade ago, I happened upon some good advice in my reading to get current with the new digital photographic medium. That advice is especially useful at sunset. Look behind you often while shooting the sunset in front of you. Near our home is a golf course that we walk by on our nightly walks. Though the sunset was typically beautiful, that evening the view of the skies to the east reflected off the water hazard and created one of my favorite golden hour views.
For my final image, I include an image captured on December 21, 2020. I was actually awaiting the sunset as I wanted to capture the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn which would only become visible sometime after sunset. While waiting, I went looking for a good spot to view the western skies. Of course, looking behind me again came to my advantage when I looked to the east and saw a Santa hat that someone had stuck upon a saguaro. In the background is Estrella Mountain.
I leave you with the usual reminder that most browsers will allow you to select an image to get a closer view.