Saturday, December 29, 2007

Round Robin: History of a Sunset

Time for the last Round Robin Photo Challenge of the year. Appropriately, the topic is "Going, Going, Gone," as suggested by Nancy of Nancyluvspics.

As recently as this morning (Friday morning, that is), I didn't know what I was going to do with this theme - and I'd also left my camera on my desk at home. Some ideas I kicked around were to photograph the countdown clock on the Doctor Who website (counting time remaining until the Christmas episode aired), or the Christmas leftovers as they got used up, or a sinkful of dishes as I washed them, or Christmas debris as I cleaned it up. But the countdown clock wasn't all that interesting, we still have lots of heavy mashed potatoes (along with a little rutabaga and a yam), and I'm only now soaking those dishes. Besides, John probably would not want you all to see bits of the Museum of the Weird at its very messiest.

So what the heck: I went with something very obvious, a photographic subject that I gravitate toward all too often: sunsets. What makes this entry different is that I spent half an hour taking 90 shots of one sunset, from just pre-sunset when the sun is still visible until a few moments before full dusk, as sunset's colors were fading. I could have stayed until full dark, but I have a cold and my hands were getting chilly.

The time coding on the photos here is what the camera tagged for each shot. It seems fairly accurate. Since I'm trying to show the progression of light and color as the sun drops below the horizon, I didn't edit these for tone, brightness or saturation. All I've done is rotate a few that were slightly tilted, reduce the size and sharpen lightly. As it happens, it wasn't a very good sunset. Photo editing trickery would not have helped substantially, because there just wasn't all that much color to work with.

5:21 PM. A bit of the sun is still above the horizon. Above that is a
vaguely pink corona that I don't think was visible to the human eye.

5:29 PM: the rounded blob of yellow sun has become a yellow band.

5:31 PM: things are getting a little pinker, mixed with gray.

5:35 PM: no longer yellow, more a sort of pale orange.

5:37 PM: very little color shows behind the mounds of dirt
now desecrating my sunset spot. Construction is on its way.


5:41 PM. There's still color off to the left, though.

5:46 PM: there's more blue and gray now in the clouds of sunset color.

5:52 PM: even now there's some yellow off to the left where the sun was.

5:52 PM: color fades to gray, and I decide to head home.

A few additional points on the above:
  1. Since starting work at Famous Vehicle Dealer, I've generally been leaving work at sunset or later, a function of both the time of year and my need to work a little late sometimes. I therefore haven't had much chance lately to do the Safeway sunset thing. Tonight I deliberately rushed to get to Safeway before the sun was down, and was surprised to see that the sun was setting further south than in other sunsets I've done there. I guess I haven't photographed many December sunsets at Safeway Plaza.
  2. I first noticed the mounds of dirt or gravel perhaps a month ago, in the formerly empty lot across from the Subway in Safeway Plaza. I anticipate that there will soon be houses or condos or something to ruin the view. I tried to photograph a bulldozer the the sunset behind it, but everything but the sky was too dark to really be seen.
  3. I think the lack of spectacularity here is due to the angle of the December sun, the relatively cold, dry air, and the paucity of clouds to reflect the colors. Ah, well.
  4. As I drove to work this morning, I noticed for the first time that sunrise wasn't quite done with its morning show. If I'd had the camera with me, I could have photographed my day at both ends.
Now go see what the other Robins have come up with. And remember, you're also welcome to join in yourself! Please see the Round Robin blog for details.

Karen

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12 comments:

Sandra said...

Beautiful capture of a sunset, and I'm sure it was more spectacular in person.

Janet said...

Those sunset shots are just beautiful!!!

Carly said...

Hey Karen :)

Great sunset photos, they just keep getting better and better. :)

-Carly

Suzanne R said...

You and I share a similar love in photographing sunsets. Your treatment of the subject here with your detail and analysis is one that I envy. Beautiful work!

lisa's chaos said...

Wow, I felt like I was sitting beside you watching with you. So calm and peaceful.

MyMaracas said...

I love the changing light here as the day fades away. I've never tried photographing a sunset. Something new for my to-do list.

Vicki

Gattina said...

It must have taken you a while to do this beautiful pictures !

Nekked Lizard Lady said...

I like the pictures, too. In our area of the world, the sun, as it travels farther and farther south, casts different shadows and colors the clouds more vibrantly, I think. While I hate the short days, there are some wonderful sunsets that get produced from those long, long rays.

Nancy said...

Ah yes, the sun...perfect subject for such a challenge. You done good!

Nancy

Steven said...

Very nice. I like the whole concept immensely :-) Have a great 2008!

Chrissea said...

I loved watching it progress!
Very nice.
Was wondering about those mounds of dirt myself.... they almost look like pyramids.
Cool!

barrettmanor said...

Great shots as usual. Your camera sensor seems to be pretty good at picking up the colors in low-light situations.