The whims of the weather…

Yesterday morning I missed what might have been the most spectacular weather that has passed through our region in many years. I was pretty PO’ed because I had set the alarm to get up early, looked out of my bedroom window and went back to bed.

Going to work only made things seem worse because I saw lots of photos of my missed opportunity. Most of the shots were blurry, grainy and poorly composed but it was easy to see how grand the skies were. Really bad weather doesn’t leave without any traces. With that in mind I was hoping that Monday evening might bring some more interesting but less spectacular clouds.

Things weren’t looking too good after nine p.m. The horizon was thick with clouds. That usually makes for a dull sunset. With the sun behind the clouds on the horizon, the sun goes down. Things get darker and duller, then it’s night time.

Ever the optimist, I headed north of town. After driving for fifteen minutes, I could see the horizon breaking. I stopped for a few photos with the sun close to the horizon then continued my driving. Having taken photos in this area over the years, I have an idea of where the better spots, hills, trees and crops are. I also know where the trees are too thick and to avoid those areas when the sun is low or miss the chance of an open horizon to photograph.

There was a place a short distance from where I was that has a couple of small hills that create a nice diagonal line for sunsets so I headed over there. The sun had just set when I arrived.

I grabbed the camera, already on the tripod, raced to the edge of the canola field and took pictures for a few minutes. It was one of those times when nature says “look at me”.  Anybody driving by would have stopped to see how the skies were unfolding, spreading apart and allowing the post sunrise light to hit the clouds. It looked almost biblical from where I stood.

That’s sometimes how it goes. Nature kinda grabs you by hand and makes things easy. It doesn’t get any better than this I thought. Ten minutes later, I was proven wrong!

Happy shooting,


Technical stuff. This is an HDR. There is no way a single exposure could capture the dynamic range of the scene. I’m experimenting now with exposing five frames instead of my usual three and liking the results. The difference is minor. Shadows have less noise. Highlights hold more detail and the tones are easier to work with. Probably because I have more image information to work with.

NO FILTERS were used here. You know how I feel about most special effects filters, especially the Singh-Ray filters. They have limited use and for the most part impart a rather unnatural at least to my eye, look. Filters don’t enable you to shoot in any kind of light. That’s a big mistake to think like that. If you observe the light, you’ll get far superior results to slapping on a filter and shooting anytime you like.

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~ by Dan Jurak on July 19, 2011.

2 Responses to “The whims of the weather…”

  1. Your results were definitely worth the effort. Call me crazy but the cloud shapes make me think of two arms hugging the setting sun. The way the clouds are arranged also echo the folds of the hill. Bonus!

  2. That’s a nice one, there! Good catch.

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