Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where Ever You Are ...

... You just gotta stop, and take a picture! So, you had better be ready, huh?

You know, I find it rather strange, that a good portion of my collection of nearly 16,000 (!!!) sunset pictures, I can remember taking. Well, OK, not all of them. But, I got around to posting these shots from last July (a year ago) to my Picasa web albums, and I can remember where I was, and what the circumstances were, when I shot them.

In the shot below do you recognize the reflections? Can you identify what they are off of?

On this day in July, I was on my way home at the end of the day. And, of course, I was racing the sun. It was obvious that there was going to be a nice sunset, and I wanted to get to a place outside, or at least mostly outside, of town where I could place myself behind some mountains or cactus. But, the setting sun waits for no man, and I couldn't get out of town fast enough. I was headed South on Val Vista Drive, when I came to this somewhat open area. So, I just pulled over and started shooting. OK, now can you figure out what the reflections are off of? No, that's not water. They are off of the roof of my car! It turns out that I rather liked the results, even though they were quite unexpected and unplanned. Sometimes, you just accidentally learn something new!

So, after clicking a few shots, I headed on down the road. But, I hadn't gone far when I had to pull over again. I really liked the pastel colors of the clouds. This time, I at least moved clear of the car.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sometimes the Water is Nice

We had some beautiful clouds throughout the day. And, as they usually do, I was afraid that they would completely disappear before sundown. But, alas! Some of them were kind enough to stick around. So, tonight I rode my trusty bicycle up to the community lake, hoping to get some good reflections. The first thing that you are probably thinking is "Where is the cactus?" That's a fair question. And the second is probably "What are lakes doing in the middle of the Arizona desert?" That's an even better question.

As for the cactus, well, sometimes I just like to broaden my horizons (no pun intended). And, after all, who doesn't like reflections off of water? As for what the lakes are doing in the desert, well, who doesn't like reflections off of water? This community lake is by the playground area and near the community center. This puts it near the streets. And streets bring street lights. When I am shooting around cactus, I try to avoid getting any man-made objects in the pictures. If I can't completely avoid them, I at least try to hide them behind the cactus or a handy bush. But, hey, when you are at the lake by the street, your gonna have street lights! You can see them in all of the following shots. It's just almost impossible to keep away from them. So I do my best with them, and try to make them fit in as best as I can.

Any way, when I first arrived at the lake tonight, the sun was still behind a cloud. But, I could see that there was a clear area beneath the cloud that the sun should come bursting through. This first shot give you and idea what the cloud was like that the sun was hiding behind.

As I was waiting for the sun to make it's appearance, I rode my bike around the lake a few times, trying to pick my positions for my shots. I decided on the location below for the shots of when the sun first dropped below the clouds. I tried to include the reflection of the sun itself, as well as reflections of trees, light poles, etc.

Whenever there is a tree nearby, I like to use some of its branches to add a little interest to the foreground, as in this next shot.

A little later, I moved around to another location, where the pool of water is larger and more still. The still water provides smoother reflections.

And, tonight we had a small crescent moon. Click on this next shot to see it a little larger. I tried to capture the moon and its reflection along with the colors of the sky.

Then I hopped on my bike and made my way back home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wow! Where does the time go?

I ended my last post by saying that I had just thrown my back out of whack. Well, I'm glad to say that I am up and about. I'm just taking it rather easy, as my back is still kind of edgy. Add to that the fact that I've been really busy at my work. Add to that the fact that we haven't had a very rainy season this summer. Not much rain, not many clouds. So, I've only been out shooting sunsets a couple of times in the last couple of weeks.

So, I thought that this time I'd talk about a couple of photos from last July (yes, a year ago!). I have posted these pictures in my Picasa web albums, so you can see these and more, there.

The first shot is one that I took when I stepped out my back door just to check the sky and see if I was going to need to go shoot the sunset. As I looked at the sky, I was really stunned at the sun's rays through the hole in the cloud. So, I ran back in the house to get my camera, and was very happy to see that the hole had not vanished when I got back to the yard. I try to not take pictures of roof tops and light poles, but sometimes you gotta take the picture where you stand. Any way, I love the sun's rays around and through the cloud.

It was looking like some good things might happen in the coming sunset, so I hit the road in search of of the setting sun. Here are a few more pictures from later that same day.