Archives for posts with tag: sunsets

Sometimes words aren’t necessary. This sky speaks for itself.

One of the best things about modern mobile phones is that since the phone is always with us, so is its camera. No more groping in the glove compartment for the digital camera we vowed to always carry, but didn’t. Easy access to a decent camera, means easy access to the constant show put on for us by whatever piece of sky we happen to pass beneath. 

Here are a few moments I’ve captured while out​ in the car:

At first glance I thought this was a single beautiful rainbow’s end. By the time I stopped, grabbed my phone, and got out it became clear that it was double, and possibly becoming triple.The lowering sun made the colors and the winter wheat as well look almost neon. It doesn’t always take absolute sunset to bring vivid color to a late evening sky.

This firey sunset looks more like the skyview of another planet than a mere earthly skyshow. Arresting and irresistible​, it’s one of my favorite inland sunset images I’ve ever encountered.

Here we have one of those cloud formations that looks like an animal. A shark, no less. Beautiful. And a bit scary, once it registers that it looks like it’s on fire…and has wings! The stuff of nightmares, or dreamy dreams, depending on the disposition of the person who looks up to see it.

The almost sunset sky angled light on this contrail for a hint of color. A pale pink javelin, to the imaginationally gifted, instead of an everyday occurance above our heads. 

Sometimes a phone’s camera isn’t quite up to capturing what the discerning eye catches sight of. At first glance this wide view appears to be simply the moon against a cloud scattered blue sky. However, if you enlarge it a bit, you’re rewarded with a vision of Pac Man riding an almost dolphin shaped cloud.

Our sky is filled with wonders. If we’re lucky we can catch random moments to revisit at the tap of an app.

I came across some old pictures that to anyone else are just that. Old fading pictures. For me they’re memories that are as bright as the blue sky, green pine needles, and colors of sunrise on the days they were taken. They’re all from the yard of our farm where I grew up.

image

This is autumn looking across the road toward a large wooded area, with a creek hidden from view running through it. I remark on that because such densely forested tracts are becoming rare, as more and more trees go down so houses with large yards can go up or agriculture continues to grow. The field struck by such bright sunlight belonged to a relative for a long time. Often neighboring farms were held by extended family members for several generations, but as the last farming inclined members died their farms were sold to big operators, until all family connections to neighboring lands are lost. This road has long since been paved, but I can so vividly remember creeping along in the hot sun as a little kid, squatting occasionally to study individual rocks among the jagged layer of gravel. Even growing up on a gravel road can be cool, if you know how to make it that way. My mom did. She made it both educational and fun, by teaching me to be a fossil hunter practically in my own yard. That gravel was quarried from who knows where, with ancient layers of literally buried treasure. Of course gold would have been nice, if we want to get really literal about buried treasure, but I was thrilled to spot something unusual and pounce on a special rock. There were sometimes partial foliage images to be found. I remember at least one perfect indentation of a tiny sea shell. It looked like a minuscule Japanese scallop had been pushed into cement, then pulled out to leave it’s shape behind for a child who would later come to find real Japanese scallop shells lying along Shell Beach on Sanibel Island. Maybe that’s where my love of the shore, all shores really, originated.

image

And here’s a sunset through the branches of the tree from the previous picture. That tree always weirded me out, because it almost cost us our house. My mom was starting to cook dinner when my daddy brought the tree home and we went outside to supervise the planting. By the time we came back in, a fortunately small grease fire had started. It was probably scarier than it was house threatening, but I never forgot it and it made me forever wary of pine trees. It was pretty, though, and perfect for that spot.

image

A furrowed field blanketed in snow is a familiar sight on a farm.  I always loved the unique way it looked…corduroy ground, burrowed under a frosty veil, waiting for spring.

image

This snow scene features my favorite pecan tree. There was a low branch on the other side, where I liked to sit and dream away a summer twilight. The old house in the distance was a lingering dinosaur, in that it had no running water. The well in the back yard was my only experience of seeing water being physically drawn from the ground. It was a lengthy process involving a metal container lowered and then slowly (the last resident was an elderly woman) emerging from its shaft, with water streaming from holes in the metal that had some purpose I didn’t understand. Even as a little kid, just knowing about that well made me extremely grateful for the shiny metal faucets in our house. That old house up the road was weathered and gray. I’m afraid the only time it ever looked beautiful was as a silhouette in this picture.

image

In contrast to frigid winter is this warm, molten gold sunrise sky. This time the silhouette is part of the barn roof. Like the old house and many trees, the barn is long gone. Most of the old ones are. They had such character and a rustic beauty all their own, but, as old fashioned agricultural practices faded away, most owners tore them down to get them out of the way. Occasionally, a lone antique barn can be spotted still, sitting in glaring isolation, awaiting the day when perhaps with regret they will join so many others as mere memories of days past. This image lives in my memory as what I saw, rain or shine, fall or winter or spring, sunrise or blue sky as the view as I got on the school bus. A constant in a child’s life. A rite of passage on the way to growing up.

Sometimes a random sunset will stop me in my tracks to make me pull out my phone and take some pictures. I waited until I’d finished loading groceries into my trunk, hoping I could catch the peak colors. I got lucky. Turning your back on a sunset can leave you with  dark gray clouds devoid of colors.
image

image

I was looking through some old photographs, and was reminded of how much I used to enjoy shooting with black and white. Old school. It took me longer than most to make the switch to digital. I loved the weight of my Pentax K-1000 in my hands, the giant macro zoom sticking way out and wanting to dip down from its own weight. Depending on the light meter to give me what I wanted. Bracketing shots. Now, I just use my smartphone. Point, squinting around and through glare. Hoping what I can’t really see that well on the screen comes through as the still image I want. Sigh.

I thought I’d post a few of the old ones.

image

Sometimes glare is good. When it’s the lowering sun’s version of a moonglade on a rippling lake.

image

I love the way waterfalls  photograph in black and white. The water takes on a lacier look than in color. Maybe it’s the contrast.

image

From a natural canyonlike structure surrounding a waterfall, to concrete canyons surrounded by water. Manhattan and its emerald centerpiece, Central Park, in shades of black and white and gray.

image

Our lost icons. Shades of past and present, in memory and remembrance.

image

Something I’ve enjoyed since I went digital is to take a picture and crop it into different microscenes. This I don’t think works as well with black and white. Not old images at least. And scanning lessens it still. It is interesting even so the way the crops look so different once they’re separated out of the original.

Old school black and white photography will fade out of existence entirely. It’s probably ninety percent there already. Pity. It’s just not the same to decolorize super sharp digital pics with filters and call it black and white. Seems to me that while they still may be cool and beautiful they lack the minute flaws that give the old style stuff such character. Flaws can be good. Through the right lens.