Photo of the Week

Last week, I posted some drone photos of the Niobrara Valley Preserve from the air.  The sun popped out of the clouds just as it was nearing the horizon and provided some great light for those images.  As I was packing the drone away, I kept an eye on the sky, and it looked like there might be some nice post-sunset color on the way, so I scrambled up the hill to my favorite sunset spot at the Preserve.  For the most part, I get pretty easily bored by sunset photos, so it takes a pretty spectacular night to get my camera out of the bag.  That night qualified as spectacular.

Image #1. This was one of the first shots I took that night.  Tokina 12-28mm lens (at 12mm) ISO320, Aperture 16, Shutter 1/100.

Over about a 15 minute period, I worked back and forth across the top of a ridge overlooking the Niobrara River, trying various angles and perspectives.  The color and texture of the clouds was fantastic, but I knew the color would fade quickly.  After I got back and sorted through the images, I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites.  Nearly two weeks later, I still couldn’t decide on just one (or even two) shots to share with you.  Instead, I chose a selection of four images from various angles and with different lenses. If you have a strong favorite, feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section.  At this point, I like all of them for different reasons.  I also like about 10 more, but I had to cut something…

I’m presenting these photos in the order they were taken.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that the color tone changed incrementally over the 15 minute period.  You might also notice that each successive photo was taken with a longer focal length.  Part of that was me playing with different ideas, but the color was also receding into a smaller and smaller portion of the sky, so I was matching that with focal length changes.

Image #2. Tokina 12-28mm lens (at 25mm). ISO 320, Aperture 7, Shutter 1/125.
Image #3. Tokina 12-28mm lens (at 28mm). ISO 320, Aperture 8, Shutter 1/80.
Image #4. Nikon 28-300mm lens (at 170mm). ISO 320, Aperture 7, Shutter 1/60.

It’s pretty hard not to take attractive photos at a place like the Niobrara Valley Preserve, especially when the sky does its part to add to the scenery.  One of the hardest parts of working up there is keeping my camera in its bag long enough to get some other work done!

11 thoughts on “Photo of the Week

  1. Judy Deaton July 6, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Very beautiful photos.

  2. Suzanne Tuttle July 6, 2018 / 1:06 pm

    My favorite is the 1st image best because I like the composition and that there was still enough light to make the green shades in the foreground visible. Very close behind is the 3rd image – the colors of the sky and clouds are so beautiful. Very enjoyable post.

  3. Linda Ferring July 6, 2018 / 2:15 pm

    I like the second photo a lot. I don’t know why, but it i miss the tree when it is gone. Love your blog.

  4. Orvin Bontrager July 6, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    #2 I like the tree.

  5. Stanley Sturgeon July 6, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    Fabulous pictures – love number 2, with the nearby tree and the beautiful, wide view of the sunset.

  6. Marian Whitcomb July 6, 2018 / 8:13 pm

    Number one…rule of thirds and balance of light and dark.

  7. Ray July 6, 2018 / 10:16 pm

    Two and three!

  8. Patrick July 7, 2018 / 8:12 pm

    2. Form of dark tree against textured sky is great.

  9. Reid Barclay July 8, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    Hi,
    Some nice photos there Chris. I agree with you when you say it’s hard to get enthused about many sunset photos. They all tend to look the same. It can be hard to get anything in the foreground without washing out the gorgeous colour in the sky.
    If I had to make any suggestions or comments about these would be regarding the horizon line in the middle of the frame. It tends to create an image that is static, especially if the is nothing much in the bottom half to balance what is in the top half. Remember the rule of thirds here. In the 4th pic, there doesn’t seem to be much going on, no real subject or something to draw your eyes into or around in the picture?
    Just my thoughts? Hope they help!
    Thanks for the great work that you do!
    Reid Barclay
    Calgary, Alberta

  10. patti July 10, 2018 / 9:42 pm

    Your pictures are absolutely stunning! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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