Alternative sunset images

Yesterday evening I happened to look out from the window of my home office. The sky was almost aflame in a spectacular sunset. I quickly grabbed a camera, jumped in the car and headed off to the harbour, hoping to catch it in all of its glory. Arriving about 4 minutes later I discovered that I was too late. Although disappointed, experience has taught me to always look to the north and east as some alternative sunset images are sometimes possible.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 29mm, efov 77mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-720
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 29mm, efov 77mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-720

Well past its prime, the sunset image that I was able to capture fell far short of the spectacular one I had in my mind when I drove off to the harbour.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/13, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/13, ISO-1600

Since the angle of the light was so low by looking towards the northwest I was able to notice some interesting details in the heavy cloud cover revealed by the side lighting.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and I wished I had grabbed at least a monopod before jumping in the car. I had to hand-hold my Nikon 1 J5 at reasonably slow shutter speeds to capture some of the images in this article. I apologise in advance that the images are not as sharp as I would have liked. Hopefully they still demonstrate how looking in other directions, other than westward, can yield some alternative sunset images.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 39mm, efov 104mm, f/5.6, 1/80, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 39mm, efov 104mm, f/5.6, 1/80, ISO-1600

As luck would have it some people were fishing from the end of the pier which yielded some silhouette images. The dock views are northward looking.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 20mm, efov 54mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 20mm, efov 54mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO-1600

As the light continued to change it revealed different textures in the clouds.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 44mm, efov 119mm, f/5.6, 1/30, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 44mm, efov 119mm, f/5.6, 1/30, ISO-1600

I noticed a large flock of Canada Geese approaching on the surface of the water. By dashing off the dock and to a higher vantage point on the shore, I was able to incorporate them into an image. Fortunately they were moving slowly enough that my shutter speed of 1/30th didn’t cause any serious issues. The view in the image above is to the northwest.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 15mm, efov 41mm, f/5.6, 1/8, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 15mm, efov 41mm, f/5.6, 1/8, ISO-1600

As the sun falls away, looking behind us to the east can often reveal interesting lighting. The image above and the one that follows, both taken hand-held at 1/8th of a second are not nearly as sharp as I would have liked. I included them to demonstrate some of the images possible. The photograph above and the one that follows are both northeastern views.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 14mm, efov 36m, f/5.6, 1/8, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 14mm, efov 36m, f/5.6, 1/8, ISO-1600

When near the water during sunsets it can be beneficial to change our shooting position by getting closer to the water as seen in the following image.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 10mm, efov 27mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO-1600

A lower vantage point allows for more reflections and can help create a bit more colour in images taken at this time of day. I added a bit of saturation to the image above in post to help bring out the magenta hue in the sky and on the surface of the water. It also helped retain a bit of leaf colouration. The image above is an eastward view.

If I would have remembered to bring a monopod or tripod with me as I dashed out of the house I likely would have ended up with a few keepers yesterday evening. *sigh*… yet another lesson from the past that needed reinforcement.

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3 thoughts on “Alternative sunset images”

  1. Hi Tom,

    There appear to be some vertical lines in some of the images, particularly the third one. Do you know what is causing this?

    Thanks,

    Bill

    1. Hi Bill,
      As far as I can tell they were shadows and highlights caused by breaks in the cloud cover and the unusual angle of the sun. I think this caused some reflections on the surface of the lake. I noticed the strange ‘striping’ on the water which is one of the reasons I took the images.
      Tom

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