Last night’s sunset was a certified banger. A powered up sky show raining down pastel hues upon the green land in every direction. The pinks and purples filtering down from the 360 degree sky dome looked the work of angels. A moment in time to take your breath away and leaves your heart to skip a beat. Without question one of the best sunsets of 2020. A stunner, full stop.
Of course I was home cooking. Instead of getting bent and pouty, the sky faeries shared with me a boon. My front yard purple coneflowers were straight glamor posing in heaven’s pastel glow. The ethereal infusion amplifying the already magnificent colors of these flowering beauties. Excited and inspired, I dashed inside, opened my camera bag, and swapped my 14mm lens for my 35mm. With aperture set wide open at f/1.4, I squatted close to my subject and went to town making frames of my echinacea friends.
This had me amped. Ignoring the missed landscape potential, I popped off shots left and right. My muse looked a wonder under this light and she knew it. So I set about making frames with the intense glow of sunset backlighting the whole scene. It was sublime. One of those flow moments where time sits still—fostering maximum internal focus and presence.
A brief word on the not so intentional making of this photograph. There is another happy accident worth mentioning here: It does not take a keen observer to note this picture is out of focus. Low on light I had a sluggish shutter speed set at 1/13 of a second. As a general rule it’s a safe bet to keep your shutter speed denominator north of your focal length. In this case, sitting over 1/35 or so would be the play. That said, I am of a mind the lack of focus plays right into the strength of the scene. With light cast from a usually unseen parallel universe bleeding into our world if only for a moment. It adds something of a fishbowl effect and it is the perfect accoutrement to the tableau. It conveys the mood in a far truer way than I could have intentioned. Too often we do not see the world as it is. Sometimes sharp focus leaves us blind.
The lesson—missing out on a thing does not mean we lose a thing. Instead it gifts opportunity to see a thing in a different, more diffuse and loving light. We work with what we’ve got, and that is where we create the real magic to capture our forever.
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