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Photographing a Sunset? STOP!

We’ve seen one. Change your paradigm. Too often, we approach making a sunset the same way. I’m no exception.

Rather than focusing on the sun, think about what else is happening. We become so enticed by the sun we miss why we are making the sunset. Change your mindset to focus on the golden hour, what is happening to the light – the hue, the luminance, and saturation. How can you share the feeling of the moment with your viewer? Keeping this thought in mind, your sunsets will change as did mine.

Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve made over 21 hundred images of sunrises and sunsets. Until now, it was or at least I thought it was all about the sun. But the sun is only one of the many elements, although we feature it repeatedly. I’ve been working on putting together a collection of twelve images made during the golden hours.

Working through my selection process, I discovered the best ones include much more than the sun and many times did not include the sun. The theme is not about the sun but what is happening around it.

It’s time to think about all the elements that the golden hour brings. Yes, the sun is the catalyst that combines everything. But what is everything? Is it that morning splendor with that crispness? Maybe it’s the calmness and stillness of the water late in the evening, or maybe a storm clears away giving deep oranges and pink clouds. Perhaps it’s the wispy clouds edged with pink and reddish hues?

I’m currently reading John Muir’s essay, “Yellowstone National Park.”  Although he’s writing about the park, I think this says it all.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees… As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail. Like a generous host, she offers her brimming cups in endless variety, served in a grand hall, the sky its ceiling, the mountains its walls, decorated with glorious paintings and enlivened with bands of music ever playing.”

Take a moment away from the sun and check out what made you want to make the photograph. Simply, ask yourself what you want to show your viewers. Many times, more than not it’s not just the sun.

Enjoy my Golden Hour collection.

P.S. Want more like this? I send these articles out to friends, photographers, and art lovers who want to improve their skills, and explore their creativity or simply enjoy my thoughts and stories and I would love to include you.

Tell me where to send it and I’ll send you a copy of Seven Moments an eBook, as well as articles, sneak peeks of my new work, and very occasional info about resources to help you with this creative craft we love.