Impromptu trip results in beautiful sunset photos
My buddy Tim Stanley and his wife Sue drove from Houston a couple of weeks ago, and at the last minute we decided to go to Lake Martin near Breaux Bridge, La. This small cypress-studded waterway houses a large bird rookery, and the spring often is the best time to take photos. But what began as a wildlife trip turned into an opportunity to capture stunning sunset photos.
Tim is a photographer, so he and I are kindred spirits. And our wives play along, for the most part. We men gave them one day in New Orleans, so the ladies were satisfied to allow us to play with our cameras on the last full day of the Stanley’s visit.
White egrets had set up shop in Lake Martin’s cypress trees and flooded buck brush, but they could only be seen through the thick trees. So that part of the trip was a bust.
We simply flipped our focus and searched out a likely spot to capture sunset photos. A few clouds were on the horizon, so it promised to be a beautiful scene.
I used The Photographer’s Ephemeris to determine exactly where on the horizon the sun would touch, and Tim and I set up our tripods on a peninsula extending toward a small group of moss-draped cypress trees.
While we waiting impatiently for the magic moment, we even met a new friend from China. Paco also was capturing the scene, so the three of us chatted and shared techniques. Paco even allowed me to borrow a 3-stop neutral density filter to slow my shutter speed, since I was dumb enough to leave all my ND filters in my studio. An ND filter allows the shutter speed to remain open longer, which blurs the moving water and clouds to create a smooth effect that increases the drama of any scene.
Finally the moment was right, and we began taking photos. Wispy clouds overhead raced by, and we all knew the right camera settings would increase the drama of the scene.
Back in my studio, I sent five of the images into Photoshop to combine them and to ensure the water and the clouds were smooth.
The result was this stunning sunset photo.
Prints (without watermarks) are for sale on my fine-art gallery.