A strange phenomena called "rain" happened today in San Diego, and it left a sight to behold. I almost missed this scene entirely, and were it not for a quick trip to the kitchen, I would have never glanced out our large windows and seen the majestic beauty of the sky. Sprinting for my camera and quickly switching to my ultra-wide lens, I ran back and snapped as many shots as I could before the clouds shifted just moments later, and the saturated pinks and oranges of the setting sun disappeared into ordinary gray clouds once more. For a few minutes today, my world was bathed in a shimmering and surreal shower of gold and red light, a scene usually reserved for a painter's imagination. But it was real, and it was beautiful.
Sunsets have a bad reputation in the photography world. Just about anyone can pick up a camera and take a half-decent sunset shot that's sure to impress both friends and family. Serious photographers, however, stay away from them like the plague. Nevertheless, sunsets have a special place in my heart. And if done correctly, it's still possible to photograph them in stunning and unique ways.
Photographed on a Pentax K-x body with a 16mm Zenitar lens.
For only having roughly a half hour on top of Hidden Peak in Snowbird, Utah, I managed to capture quite a few memorable shots. I've found myself slowly acquiring the skill to work under pressure, and in this setting, I often create my best work. The weather up at the top was somewhat cloudy, granting me some great opportunities to capture the gentle dance between the clouds and the rocky peaks across the way. The only quaff in this visually-pleasing weather occurred when it started to lightly snow. While my old camera had great weather sealing, the model I downgraded to (for a variety of reasons) lacks any sealing whatsoever. Fortunately, it survived.
The photograph above is a shot that, in all honesty, shouldn't have worked. It was captured with a long zoom, facing downwards on the mountain. The framing isn't special whatsoever, and in terms of a nature photograph, the composition itself isn't what one usually sees. But where this shot shines is the lighting. Though it's often hard to capture the light that one sees in person with a simple camera, stopping down the exposure in post-processing really brought out the beauty that I witnessed in person.
In other news, I have yet to get the rolls of film I took during this trip developed. I've been trying since I got back, but the local Wal-Mart (which is the only place nearby that offers negative-only C-41 developing at a decent price) is having difficulties with their processing equipment. I've spoken to a few people in the department, and apparently they're waiting on a part to arrive. Till then, it's just a waiting game. Luckily, my Epson V500 scanner was delivered today, and the (unrelated) negatives I've scanned in so far have turned out fantastic. I highly recommend it.
If you've been following my recent posts, you know the drill by now. The image above (best viewed at a larger size) was post-processed using Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter X. The actual image is from a trip to Washington D.C. in April of this year. On the flight back from D.C. to San Diego, as we flew into the sunset, a friend of mine told me to take a picture of the clouds out of the window. I usually disregard shots taken out of airplane windows as mere snapshots, but this particular shot caught my eye. I've had the original shot in my Flickr photostream for awhile now, but I decided to re-process it with an abstract vision in mind. The "painted" version obviously has more vibrant color than the plain copy, but in reality, the actual colors out the window were closer to this new version than my old edit. It's also worth noting that I took this photo with an old Pentax lens I got on eBay for ~$30. At the time, I couldn't afford the Pentax-FA f1.4 50mm I have now, so I took the poor man's route. I've since sold it back online, but there's just something special about shooting with an old lens. I'm seriously considering buying an old m42 mount 50mm Industar lens to somewhat make up for the FED-2 I sold awhile back.