Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wide angle skies

Wide angle skies

Once you invest in a super wide angle lens - 10-20mm in my case - you have the opportunity to see the world around you with different eyes. When I go through the city with my 70-300mm lens, I look into the distance and try to pick out interesting motifs. At 10mm, you capture the whole street and the sky to boot!
Back in college when I would walk across campus hand-in-hand with my girlfriend, my eyes often drifted up to the skies. To this day, when I see a beautiful sky, I think back to those days. Sunday evening I saw these small cumulus clouds forming around 9 p.m., grabbed my camera, a flash and two lenses and headed toward the quickly setting sun (sunset on that day in Stuttgart: 9:30). From the hill above our house I took the picture above at 9:11.
Then I walked toward the west, hoping to get the tower of the Gaisburg church in a nice silhouette with the clouds as I had once. Down in the industrial area near our house I was dwarfed by trucks and warehouses, though, which provided ugly foregrounds. But if I crop out the 12 trucks directly in front of me, the sky is pretty decent. What I first mistook for lightning turned out to be the truckers taking pictures of the sky with their point-and-shoots. This was not the time for me to teach a lesson on a camera's manual mode, nor was this the perfect pedagogical setting.

Around 9:40 I took a few shots and then watched as the orange color slowly left the sky. I figured I had seen the best of that evening's sunset already because it was becoming dark, so I headed back through the warehouses, getting some wide-angle shots of wood pallets and sides of buildings that I might be able to use as backgrounds in Photoshop someday. Someday when I figure out how to do that!
Then I saw that as the sky began to darken, the bright orange bottoms of the clouds turned dark red. I headed to the bridge over highway B10 and saw a wondrous sky just seven minutes later!

On the bridge over the Neckar River I used a much slower shutter speed than I had for the previous pictures, so it appears brightest of all. I wanted the river to have a smooth surface, which you can only get with a slow shutter speed. In any case, at 9:50 the sun was perfectly placed behind the bridge.

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