Landscape Photography: Chasing Sunlight
One of my favorite ways to spend a free afternoon is wandering an area taking photos. It's a luxury to not have an agenda sometimes. Maybe I'll focus on practicing a technique or composition, and I always manage to get lost. Last fall I had a free Sunday and decided to chase the the sun right up until sunset. I would drive toward the sun and get out of the jeep and walk around a bit, testing the light and the angles, and then drive a bit more, repeat, trying to find the western most spot with good light and some interesting composition. I finally found myself at the cemetery, where the light was low and peeking through the trees, and the ground and roots were covered in moss. I was able to create the perfect star points and light leaks. Super low shutter speed (25) and super narrow aperture (F11) was the perfect combo.
That beautiful sun leak is right in the camera! I used to add those artificially, which is pretty easy to do turns out, so even when they occur naturally, they look a little fake. But this one was caught right in camera. In combination with the pointed star sun, I was pretty happy with this shot.
This shot was an attempt at combining a couple of techniques - star points and motion blur. Super low shutter speed (25) and super narrow aperture (F11) is what gets the job done. Thanks to my friend Derek for handing me the formula when we were shooting in Greenlake last summer - because it could have taken me years of trial and error to figure out the settings (or maybe I'd have gotten smart and googled it).
I didn't realize it at the time, but this would also make a great setting for creating painterly images. I took one of Kathleen Clemons' classes on CreativeLive a year ago, but recently watched another one focused more on flowers and textures, and I really love how she sees the natural world. Her images look so much like precise paintings, it's inspiring to try and create a fine art slant with a camera. She even grows flowers herself, which I cannot do, so she knows what she's doing.