Like many places in the USA this summer, central Ohio has been very hot and dry. At last count, we’ve had 4 100+ degree days for a total of 43 days with temperatures over 90 degrees, WHEW! We’ve been lucky in my area and have gotten some rain from a few late afternoon pop-up thunderstorms that passed over us. Unfortunately there haven’t been very many nice sunsets with clouds turned red, orange, and pink by the setting sun, but this past Saturday we were blessed with just such a sunset so I thought I’d share it with you.
This scene is of a farm in southern Union County Ohio surrounded by many acres of soybeans just a few minutes after sunset. While driving in the area one day I spotted it and made a mental note that it might be a good location for a sunset shoot! I got there about 30 minutes before sunset and as I looked at the scene I could tell that the sun would set right behind the farm houses from my vantage point. The sky had nice puffy clouds that were already beginning to show beautiful pinks, oranges, yellows and reds. The sky is what I wanted to emphasize in my image, but I had to decide how much of the rest of the landscape I wanted to include. I could show the whole dynamic range of the scene using graduated neutral density filters or HDR processing techniques, but with acres and acres of soybeans in front of me, showing a lot of detail in the soybean field would really distract from the beautiful sky. I finally decided to show just a little detail in the soybean field and the farm buildings. To accomplish this I used a combination of several graduated neutral density filters for a total of 6 stops of filtration to maximize the sky’s colors and give the soybean field and farm buildings just enough exposure to show some detail and the warm glow of the sunset.
For about 30-45 minutes after sunset, the sky changes every minute and you just never know what you might see so don’t pack up your gear and leave too soon, the show might not be over! The second image below was taken about 30 minutes after sunset, and in it you can see some unusual faint orange-red beams of sunlight against a darkening sky. Not more than a minute or two after I took this image all the color was gone. I really enjoyed nature’s show and was glad I made the effort to go out and experience it. It was a very peaceful and beautiful end to the day.
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