As I left a friend’s house last night, the sun was starting to set. I watched the sky as I drove and saw it turn all kinds of pinks and oranges mixed with the clear bright blue which had been its color during the day.
I decided to take a detour and not go directly home but follow the sun west towards an open field where I hoped they had already baled the hay for the summer. It can be very picturesque and I was hoping to catch it with my phone. It was only an extra ten minutes in the opposite direction from my home, so I decided to chase the sunset.
As I drove I wondered why I did not carry my “big” camera in my car – or any camera for that matter. I like my phone (an older iPhone version) but it does not have the camera capabilities of the newest iPhone 11 that two of my sons have, as well as others I know their age. Still, I’ve taken some really nice shots with it, or with the little Canon Sure Shot point and shoot that seems to be my go-to camera. I also have a Nikon DSLR 5200 which was a gift from my husband several years ago. It takes excellent photographs but I still have not mastered the manual settings. It would help me to learn how to use those settings if I used the camera more often. Keeping it in my car would make it more accessible for learning, as well.
The sunset was vibrant last night, but as I drove past the high school and town hall, towards the farm fields I was hoping to capture at the close of the day, I started to think about all the sunsets (and sunrises) I’ve photographed over the years. When we first moved to Wisconsin (21 years ago), the back of our house faced west. We had nothing but farm fields behind us. Our garden shed, lovingly built by my husband, sat on a knoll that offered views of the sky and the setting sun beyond it. Frequently, the sunset was the focus of my photography during the years we lived there.
When we moved to the other side of town, the back of our house faced east not west and I became acquainted with the beautiful sunrises that Wisconsin has to offer. I’ve noticed that they are especially beautiful in late January through March. Many a morning while the boys were getting ready for school, I snuck outside in my boots and jamies to capture a shot!
I really don’t know which I like better, sunrises or sunsets, but I suppose I like them both for some of the same reasons. I find the beauty of nature is inspiring and hopeful. It settles my soul to gaze upon something so rich and colorful regardless of whether it is at the start or the end of my day.
Photography is funny. Sometimes the opportunity just presents itself and you find yourself in the right place at the right time. Other times, like after my walk last night, one is drawn to the place where color naturally appears, like a gift ready to be given to all those who chose to notice.