Category: sunsets


On the way home from shooting at Five Rivers the other night, I just missed a storm that rolled through the area.

I got a call that it was pouring at home, so I hopped in the car and started heading home before it got to me out in the wild.  I could see by the wet roads and dripping trees that I had just missed it.  Not to far from home, I came across the scene above.  By the time I could get stopped in a place with a good view and get the camera ready, it was almost gone.

There was a double rainbow and a deep, dark sky.  The storm was moving over or just past downtown Albany.  I had missed it, but none of that mattered.  All that mattered was that I got to see this gorgeous scene.  It made a great day even better.

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Actually, it’s a jet trail, or maybe four. That’s what I saw standing on my back deck watching the sunset.  I got home just in time to see it, and I couldn’t be happier.  When I first walked out there, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  There were some clouds above the tree line, but there were four jet trails in the sky.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.

I was down at Wolff’s Biergarten for the SMBTV Happy Hour and decided to rush home to try and catch it.  As I was heading out 90 towards the house, the sky was amazing.  I wish I had had the camera and a good place to stop so I could have shot it.  It was amazing.  This is what it looked like when I first got home.  See ya soon!

I have been a photographer for about 8 or 9 years now.  I am a self-proclaimed amateur, but sometimes I get some really good shots.  I missed out on the film era.  Well, I missed out as a serious shooter that is.  I have had cameras for years, but before I got into digital, I had only used little 35mm point and shoot cameras.  Sure, I remember the 110 and the Polaroid, but I never shot seriously back then.

Over the last few years, I have gotten pretty serious in my shooting.  I even started a Meetup group in the area to help others with their passion for photography.  I wont claim to be a great photographer, but I think I do OK.  But sometimes, I run into areas that I am just not good at.  Tonight was a good example.

The weather had been wonky all day.  It was very windy, rainy and gloomy.  Around 5pm it even spit some icy precipitation.  I assume it was sleet.  After the storm, the sun came out and the weather got a little better.  It was still only in the 40s, but it wasn’t as windy as it had been earlier in the day.  The sun was setting and it was a beauty, so I decided to go out on the back deck and grab a few pics.  They came out pretty well, even though there’s only a small area between the trees to see the sunset.

I came back in and got right to editing the pics I had taken.  I even posted one on Facebook.  A friend commented on one of the pics and asked if I had seen the moon.  No, I hadn’t.  I went to the window and looked out, only to see a beautiful moon.  I grabbed the camera and the tripod and back outside I went.  This is where the trouble started.

I got the camera set up on the tripod with the 70-300mm lens on it and set it on manual focus.  I set my f-stops and shutter speed and looks through the viewfinder.  A little blurry.  A little adjustment on the lens and it was nice and clear.  I took a bunch of shots and came inside to process.  Crap.  They are all blurry.  What the…

It wasn’t crisp.  It was not sharp.  What did I do?  So, I looked up some info on the net and bounced it off some people I really respect over at Movie Photo Forums.  I took the advice and tried it again.  The results this time were a little better but still not quite what I had hoped for.  Here is what I got.  Please keep in mind that this is a 100% crop.

Here is the same shot with a little bit of Photoshop tweaking.

I like this one a little better, but it still isn’t good enough.  I guess I need a much more powerful lens and a lot more practice.  Do you have tips for shooting the moon?  Settings you would like to share?  I would love to know what works for you.

See ya soon!

As I have mentioned before, I am always looking to improve my photography.  You can’t always get out and shoot everyday, but you have to try to do it as much as possible to keep yourself sharp.  I have received a ton of positive support about my photography from friends and family.  I always respond to those who think they aren’t as good or don’t have the skills that I do, that practice makes perfect.  There are tons of  photographers that make me feel like a beginner.  But, I don’t get intimidated by them.  I keep trying and perfecting my photography to work towards the level they are at.  I make sure that I do my best to learn how they did what they did and see if I can duplicate it. 

Today’s blog is about how I keep myself sharp when I can’t get out to shoot.  I usually try to find something around the house to shoot using my studio lights.  If the weather isn’t too bad, I like to step out on the back deck and shoot the sunset or the yard itself.  We get some pretty beautiful colors in the afternoon when the sunsets behind the house.  Sunsets are timeless.  Everyone loves them, and I am no exception.  This is one I took that is probably my favorite so far.  We have trees behind us, so it blocks a little of the sunset, but we usually still get a good show.

After the leaves fall, I get into a ‘photographic slump’ and it is more important than ever for me to keep myself actively shooting.  This blog partly to do just that.  It will mentally stimulate me.  It will also keep me thinking about photography constantly.  Most importantly, it will force me to take more pictures so I have content for these blogs.  It’s a win-win situation.  The next picture is of the backyard on a cool fall day.  I love the dramatic sky in it.

Another contributing factor to keeping yourself sharp in the downtime is reading blogs, magazines and forums.  My favorite forum is Movie Photo Forums.  The people there have helped me dramatically in the growth of my photography.  They are constantly giving positive encouragement and challenges to make me a better photographer.  Plus, the family feel there makes it a lot of fun.  A while back, one of the member go into shooting panorama shots and I was intrigued.  I had never tried that.  Something new.  The lightbulb flickered.  So, I tried it out.  I now love to shoot panoramas, and every time I get the chance I do it.  Here is one I took out the that back door. 

If you are into photography, please keep working towards your goals.  I can’t say that enough.  If you struggle – Read, ask questions, and practice.  You can do it.  Never stop trying. 

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In case you have asked that question, I took my header picture  at my cousin’s wedding back home in Virginia.  You see, I grew up in Virginia on the Eastern Shore.  Many of you may know it as the DelMarVa Peninsula.  Others may know areas near where I grew up such as Assateague Island or Chincoteague, home of Misty.

My cousin Bo married his wife Melanie at Camp Silver Beach, along the Chesapeake Bay.  The grounds were beautiful.  I do a lot of shooting, but wedding photography is not something I want to do.  I am afraid of screwing up or not capturing the right moments of someone’s special day.  That’s another topic for another blog.

So, me being me, I of course brought my camera with me to get some photos. It turns out that the photographer that was shooting the wedding had sort of a connection to the bride.  Melanie had been the photographer’s flower girl many years ago and the photographer was doing the shoot as a wedding gift to Bo and Melanie.  Very cool!  So, I introduced myself to Deb, and told her that if I get in the way of her shooting, just yell at me and tell me to get out of the way.  She obliged by saying that I was more than welcome to shoot along with her and even offered me use of her low light lens, as my speedlight had broken.

As we were shooting the bridal party pics on the beach, this amazing sky formed right behind us.  It was perfect.  After the bridal party shots, I grabbed a series of shots across the horizon and stitched together the panorama that is now my header.  I was so happy that I was able to be part of this shoot, without the pressure of ruining the wedding should the pics not be good.  I ended up getting a ton of shots over the two days there.  Here are some of the shots;

The Bridal Party

The Bridal Party

The Men

The Men

The Kiss

The Kiss

You can see the rest of these pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelthenry/sets/72157622565027980/

All photos ©Michael T. Henry and may not be used without permission.