Late in the afternoon on the day after my son’s birthday, we noticed that some light clouds were beginning to build a little in the west on an otherwise cloudless day, so he and I ran out the door and hurried off to nearby Jordan Lake to see if anything would materialize. He had just gotten a new camera the day before and was anxious to try it out “in the field”. We arrived just as the sun hit the horizon and we scrambled to get into position, but the best light was a little after sunset when the clouds really took on that beautiful pink color. The winds were calm so the water reflected the sky beautifully. He managed to get a few pretty good shots before the sun disappeared since I sent him off before I got my gear together. I had a bit of a tough time trying to get a good composition with the few minutes I had before we lost the color and settled on this panorama. A single shot just didn’t seem to work since I wanted to include the fallen tree as a nice lead into the scene and would therefore not include much of the color from the sky and reflection. I felt the tall tree on the right needed to be included for a bit of framing and to balance out the brighter sky on the left side. Shooting directly to where the sun had just set was unusually bright, almost white so it would have been a contrast nightmare plus the log would have been across the bottom of the image and rendered black against the bright sky. Facing in this direction, northwesterly, it seemed there were more layers leading toward the horizon that added more depth to the scene as well. Shooting towards the sunset location would have lacked this sense of distance within the frame.
This time of year confronts us with a dilemma about where along the lake we settle on to photograph. The sun is setting near 6pm…the same time the park closes and the gates close leaving us with only a few options that allow us to stay beyond the sunset when the colors really come out. We were lucky we didn’t catch one more traffic light to get there or we would have missed this beautiful light.