Spanish Moss at Sunset

I remember the first time I saw Spanish Moss on my first trip to Florida. I think I was in seventh grade, and I was amazed. It looks kind of spooky hanging from the trees.

#spanishmoss, #thesouth, #sunset, #evenightlight, #light, #sonyalpha, #luminar, #landscape, #nature, #naturephotography, #firstimpression, #florida, #naplesflorida
Spanish moss lit by the setting sun in Naples, Florida. If you grew up in the northern states, this sight will surprise you.

My delighted first impression still colors my thoughts when I observe this lacy plant hanging from tree branches. I especially like to see it in early morning or evening light when it looks like a chandelier.

Good Night, Birds

Have you heard of a “rookery island” where dozens of birds of several species flock at sunset to find sanctuary for the night? I have found it magical to observe: as one great egret and eight ibis and three cormorants and six pelicans and a couple great blue heron and even more and more soar in from every direction and land side by side on every available branch of a tiny island of mangrove trees as the sun turns a brilliant orange and the light rapidly fades across the water… and the scene is silent.

I described the scene to my uninitiated friends as a Christmas tree fully decorated with ornaments on every bough, or a crowded church were a few more families arrive late and say, “please make room for us.”

Birds of many species crowd on to the branches of this rookery island for sanctuary overnight. Naples, Florida 2020.

A Sturdy Shelter

“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. “
Book of Sirach, The Bible

Those words defined my father, and they were invoked at his funeral Mass. My father was a sturdy shelter to me and many others.

#pier, #naplespier, #friend, #faithfulfriend, #bible, #bookofsirach, #sirach, #inspiration, #shelter, #sturdyshelter, #foundation, #storm, #treasure, #sunset, #pelican, #nature, #reflection, #meditate, #history,#faithful, #support, #worth
Sunset at Naples Pier with Brown Pelican in flight, February 3, 2020 before the site was closed to stop the spread of the virus.

When I reflected on the sturdy foundation of this pier, the reference to sturdy shelter came to mind. This sturdy pier brought the first settlers to Old Naples, Florida many years ago. In this millennium, it withstands the hurricanes and tropical storms and supports hundreds of individuals who enjoy it.

In these trying times of the Coronavirus pandemic, a faithful friend is a treasure, showing his greatest value in supporting those around him. As the hectic pace of life slows to a pause, meditate on your faithful friends.

“A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.”
(Book of Sirach)

The Sunstar at Naples Pier

We arrived at Naples Pier about 10 minutes before sunset. My friend Marjorie warned me, “It’s going to go fast,” and she was right. We needed to pick a spot for a sunset photo quickly among scores of others who were on the beach for the very same reason, to witness the sunset and preserve the memories with photography.

I realized that the sun was going to slip behind the pavilions at the end of the pier, creating an opportunity to photograph the sun as a sunstar with rays. When the sun or other bright light source is clipped by a foreground object, you can create this type of image by stopping your lens down to f/16. (This assumes you know how to manually set your camera!) If not, no worries. Just enjoy this image of a beautiful end of an equally beautiful day.

#pier, #naplespier, #naplesfl, #sunset, #sunstar, #gulfcoast, #blessing, #peace, #sun,
What a blessing to share this moment of peace and wonder with dozens of other respectful visitors at Naples Pier on the Gulf coast of Florida.

Click on the image to enlarge. Need a print? Please visit my website anytime.

Sedona: Cathedral Rock

A good photograph of Cathedral Rock reflected in Oak Creek was the “money shot” for me during a recent visit to Sedona. I had to select a day with good weather, find the location, get there close to sunset, carry the tripod and convince my husband this was a good idea. I’m not sure which part was the hardest, but I got several different shots, which I am pleased to share with you.

#cathedralrock, #redrock, #sedona, #reflection, #redrockcrossing, #oakcreek
I found this location to view Cathedral Rock at Red Rock Crossing just before it closed at 5pm.

Sweet Pelican Landing

“Mind if I join you?” is the quote that comes to mind. There is something about this clumsy looking, yet actually graceful pelican landing that I find endearing. Brown pelicans are huddling in close quarters on this rookery island to spend the night.

#rookeryisland, #rookerybay, #naples, #florida, #sunset, #safety, #landing, #pelican, #mangrove, #estuary, #nature, #nikon
In the golden light of sunset, pelicans, ibis, cormorants and herons make room for one another on this popular rookery island.

It is a privilege to watch all of these graceful birds flock to the island in Rookery Bay (near Naples, Florida) at sunset. This close up is a cropped image, captured with a 200mm Nikon lens. We are not as close as we appear, and we stay silent to avoid disturbing this natural daily migration.

The sunset Eco-cruise is provided by the Southwest Conservancy. Buy your own ticket online at conservancy.org.

Sunset on Jenny Lake

Grand Teton National Park is such a strong magnet for landscape photographers, that many of the popular lookout points are quite crowded for sunrise and sunset. Tripods legs are interlaced, and I consider myself lucky if the people around me are cooperative and friendly.  If an inexperienced photographer starts to set up in front of another photographer who has established his spot, look out! There will be fireworks.

Our workshop group of nine had this spot on the edge of Jenny Lake to ourselves. Check!  When we first arrived on the lake shore to see a bright blue sky and backlit mountains, I wasn’t sure how much I liked the location. We had carefully climbed down a rocky hillside, carefully making our own path over boulders and downed trees. I moved to the right and left, looking for foreground elements to create an interesting composition.

As we waited for the sun to sink lower and lower, the show began. Our group became very still when the orange light show reached its peak, and every photographer tried to perfect a long exposure.

#nikon, #howto, #grandtetons, #grandtetonnationalpark, #jennylake, #sunset, #lake, #reflection, #sky, #vibrant, #log, #nationalparks, #jacksonhole
Here is my final image of the evening resulting from a 2.5 second exposure at ISO 100 and f/16, an aperture that kept the foreground and the distant mountains and sky in clear focus.

As I packed up my gear, I could hear others murmur, “Did you see that reflection on the water?”

How could you miss it?

Learning from Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams made an iconic photograph of the Snake River Valley looking toward the Grand Tetons from this very spot in Jackson Hole in 1942. So, with my Sony mirrorless digital camera and the latest software, I followed the master’s lead and made this vibrant color image at sunset in late September 2018.

#sunset, #grandtetons, #snakeriver, #hdr, #lightroom, #clearnight, #jacksonhole, #rrstripod, #sonymirrorless
Four exposures merged in Adobe Lightroom created this vivid color image of the Snake River Valley and Grand Teton Range at sunset, from Ansel Adams’ lookout.

The view was even better in Adams’ day, because the Snake River made a serpentine curve leading the eye to the mountains. Today trees obscure part of the river from this lookout. It was still exciting to walk in Ansel Adams’ footsteps 76 years later.

A Blanket of Color

#sunset, #clouds, #light, #grandtetons, #grandtetonnationalpark, #nationalparks, #light, #color, #landscape
The setting sun turned the blanket of clouds vivid shades of orange and pink in Grand Teton National Park, September 23, 2018.

While the sun’s brilliant orb slipped behind the Grand Tetons, the clouds reflected the orange glow of sunset. That evening the clouds took on a rippled texture as well as a misty, ethereal quality.  We could feel the temperature fall. The light show was brief. Soon it would be dark.

It’s All About the Sky

A truly great sunset photo requires a good foreground. You know, the parking lot or the neighbor’s house won’t do. Many of us head for the mountains or the sea to watch the sunset and capture the fleeting natural beauty in a photograph.

But the second ingredient in a great sunset photos is the sky. The texture and the reflections of the golden light in the clouds separates the good sunsets from the great ones.

Both the foreground and the amazing clouds came together along the banks of the Snake River on this magical evening in Grand Teton National Park. Mount Moran and the Grand Teton mountain range, although backlit, made a pretty majestic foreground. For scale, notice the tiny boats on the left side.

What can I say about the clouds? As wispy as cotton candy and as vivid as a flame?

#sky, #grandteton, #nationalpark, #mountmoran, #sunset, #clouds, #backlit, #aurorahdr, #sony, #gtnp, #landscape
Mount Moran is backlit by the sunset in Grand Teton National Park. This image is all about the sky.