Often when I set out on a photographic journey, I have a vision of what I expect to accomplish in my head. Other times I am completely surprised by what I find. Photography is a process. Every step in the process must be perfect to achieve the perfect result. I can have a great idea in my head, but if I forget to check the simplest thing, my great idea is ruined. That does not mean it is a waste of time however, not if I learn from it. Photography is also a learning process.
Nathaniel Greene Park in southwest Springfield is one of my favorite places to go. It has great walking trails, a wonderful botanical garden, magnificent trees, a peaceful Japanese stroll garden, and a beautiful lake. I discovered recently that the lake holds the potential for a magnificent reflected sunset.
One evening last week, on a whim, I set out for the lake with my camera and set up near a willow tree. The sky was perfect, and the colors amazing. I took a series of shots, packed my camera in the bag, folded up the tripod and started back to the car. On the way, I decided to stop at a rose garden for some pictures. This is when I discovered I had failed to check the autofocus selector on my lens. I hadn’t noticed the lack of focus in my amazing sunset photo because I was looking directly into the light. The sun was just touching I line of trees in the distance and it was quite bright. Disappointed, I returned the next evening to try again, only to be disappointed by the lack of color.
This evening, I returned.There had been puffy white clouds in the sky. Clouds are a necessary ingredient in amazing sunset colors. This evenings colors did not disappoint. I had taken several different series of shots. I was thrilled with the starburst affect on a couple series, but after merging them into an HDR file in Photomatrix, I discovered brightness of the sun itself was difficult to tone map. I merged and tone mapped a different series of images after the sun had dropped below the tree line. Wow!! I got the photo I was hoping for last week.