Category Archives: Sunsets

November Brings Beautiful Sunsets to the North

Temperatures begin to plummet and all that is living becomes brown and lifeless to the north in November. There begins to be less motivation to go out and enjoy the great outdoors in the cold without much to see at this time of year in Minnesota, however, there is one sight worth dressing up for the cold to see and that is sunrises and sunsets. We’ve had some spectacular days of both of these as November comes to a close. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to photograph many of these due to extra time at work but I’ve at least been able to spare a moment or two watching silently as the incredible colors begin to move across the sky. These photos may seem touched up but they are anything but. They are straight out of the camera so are as the camera interpreted them at that time. Sunsets and sunrises are just that colorful and vibrant at times in the fall months of the year.

Sunset reflecting in the ice.

 

At this time of year, with the sun so low in the sky, the show doesn’t end with this yellow source of light going below the horizon. In fact often it is just beginning! I did a post about this a year ago if you want to see how our fall sunsets progress. For sunrises the progression is reversed with the amazing rainbow of colors splashing across the sky ending with the sun rising above the horizon. In November it can begin about 45 minutes before the sunrise or end about 45 minutes after it sets in the afternoon. Yes, here it is still afternoon when the sun sets around 4:30 pm. One of the reasons for these colorful sky paintings has to do with having at least some clouds much of the time which reflect some of the suns light as it fades into night along with the low position of the sun in the sky. This happens quite quickly when we’re fortunate to have the right conditions so once the show begins it doesn’t last long.

Another stunning November sunset

Watching the Sun Set

It was an unseasonably warm evening on Halloween weekend and I just had to get out and taken in the suns warmth while enjoying the setting sun. There were some wispy clouds floating across the sky setting up for one of those spectacular sunsets that challenges the beauty of the northern lights. But you just never know what kind of sunset you’ll get so your goal of photographing the beautiful, fleeting colors could end up failing as it often does.

The day coming to a close as the sun nears the horizon

Late in the afternoon I headed out to explore a place I haven’t spent much time at but appeared to hold great promise of beautiful photos. Meandering through a grassy field, swamps, and forest and many distractions to take pictures of (such as the snake in my previous post),I eventually arrived at my destination and settled in. There was still some time before the sun would set so I surveyed my surroundings looking for different possible perspectives to include in my pictures. Closer to sunset a warm golden glow began blanketing the landscape bringing a glorious end to my day.

A beautiful golden glow close to sunset

Enjoying the brilliant golden sky reflecting back at me, the moment I have been waiting for had arrived. The sun was near the horizon and I was in a great position to take it all in with clouds in perfect position to make it a spectacular show. Hold on to see if the anticipation was warranted. Even if it became a bust at this point it was still a gift to be able to take in this beautiful afternoon surrounded by nature.

The sun has almost set for the day

And there we have it – Sunset! Right on time according to my watch. This is were people decide to leave and head home. Often this means they miss the most colorful part of a sunset. As the sun passes below the horizon is when I really begin to pay attention to the clouds and watch for sunlight bouncing off of them.

And there we have sunset - Applause! Beautiful!

Soon after there are some reds in the bottom clouds. What a beautiful contrast to all the dark blues surrounding them. Ohh I think this is going to be just what I was hoping for. A quick check to make sure the camera battery has enough power and my memory card has plenty of space for whatever photos I want to take. All things are good as I wouldn’t want to miss a piece of this because of a dying battery or full memory card. On with the show!

And now the color show is about to start

Tonight there is no disappointment in the sky while incredible colors splash above as if being painted right in front of me. This is where the choice becomes extremely difficult. Photograph this or just sit back and enjoy the moment. If you decide to photograph it you’re guaranteed to miss parts of oranges, red, and yellows dancing on clouds floating by but there will be pictures to look back on for as long as you want. To put everything down and take in the sights you’ll be able to watch it all unfold but only with your memory. You can guess my decision.

Wow, now that is spectacular the way the sun is bouncing off of the clouds

Incredible! How else can you describe this sunset? Who else is out here to see this tonight? Are the animals around me pausing for a few minutes to marvel at this beauty? Is this a celestial gift just for me? What have I done to deserve such an amazing moment?

A colorful sunset panoramic

As the sun continues to move further below the horizon and clouds continue to glide across the darkening sky the colors continue to change and begin to recede to the eventual darkness soon to follow. I still continue to photograph even though it is difficult as I’m almost paralyzed from this beautiful night watching the sun set in full glory. Humbled by these huge forces working together in indescribable ways. If only it could last a little longer.

The amazing color combinations beginning to deminish

A few more photos and it’s time to leave in order to pick my way through this unfamiliar forest while there is still a glimpse of light. I always walk away from a sunset like this very humble and full of energy from what I just witnessed. It can be a big spiritual moment reminding me of how fortunate I am and what I’ve been given. Also a bit of sadness enters from the realization that many other people didn’t even realize how amazing this sunset was and so didn’t, or couldn’t, take a few minutes out of their day to see it. Yep, it was the right decision to come here for this moment.

Now it's time for the final applause

From beginning to end I photographed this sunset over a two hour span which may have been the best two hours of that day. Just before arriving at my destination I was photographing the snake and had the opportunity to continue doing so but decided it was time to move on as the sun was getting lower in the sky. Those can be challenging decisions to make but I couldn’t create more images of the snake and catch the sunset. I’m satisfied with how it all turned out. Some fun photos of the snake and images of this wonderful sunset.

 

An Evening on The Mississippi

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Over the 4th of July holiday we had the opportunity to do some fishing on the Mississippi River. The fish were biting slow so I had some time to play with the camera and try a lot of different settings and angles. The water was very cooperative as you can see and the clouds mixed with the setting sun gave this spectacular view. To be honest, I had a difficult time selecting this picture as there were others to choose from. If you’re a member of this site, you may be able to take a look at those soon.

Why Are Sunsets So Popular?

Many of the most popular photographs include a sunset. Do an internet search for sunsets and there are many choices of sunset pictures to choose from. We have many choices for viewing sunsets. Many businesses are centered around these from sunset cruises to the best places to see a setting sun. Often on a trip to a national park I search for the best day and place to photograph a sunset. While taking this video of all the people joined together to celebrate the sunset got me wondering ‘why?’. In an effort to find out I did a search for why are sunsets so popular. Guess what I found. Yep, a lot of links for sunset photographs, how to take sunset photographs, places to view a sunset, and sunset excursions. Not much information on why we enjoy doing all of these things. So I’ll give you my thoughts and opinions on the subject.

Sun Setting From an Airplane

First of all I believe sunsets are important just because of the spectacular colors they present. These colors are not found anywhere else in nature together at one time. As the sun sets these colors constantly evolve from one color to another over a period of minutes. This whole explosion of colors occur over only a few minutes each day. This is likely another reason we take time to view a great sunset. They only occur over a few minute period of time on the days where the sun is shining. And better yet the best pictures include the right mix of clouds on the horizon and sun peaking through those clouds. Days when this occurs are even rarer.

Sunset Cruises

Another reason sunsets are so enjoyed is the psychological meaning behind the setting sun. This signifies the end of a day. A time to spend a few moments to reflect on the accomplishments of that day. What you did or didn’t do. What you witnessed and the memories that were made that day. This is a transition from the animals of the daytime retreating to their shelters for a safe evening of sleep and the creatures of the night beginning to prowl. If you ever have the opportunity to go out into the quiet wilderness just before sunset it is amazing all of the activity that is going on around you as the animals prepare for the night. Yes, this is also a metaphor for people as well. The daytime events and the night creatures we become. This end of the day also allows for reflections on the promise of tomorrow as the sun rises once again.

Crowd Gathered to Watch an Amazing Setting Sun

While a sun rise is not nearly as celebrated it can provide just as spectacular of scenery to be captured in a photograph or your memory. I like to witness the rising sun even more than a sunset because it signifies the beginning of the day and the promise of all that you are capable of doing in that day. Why do you enjoy the setting sun?

 

The Schooner Passing Through the Sun

 

*All of these photos are the way they were photographed. There has not been any digital enhancements done to improve these photos. If you can believe it these photos were taken with 3 different cameras – an HD video camera, a digital photo camera, and a cell phone camera. Can you tell me which cameras took which photos? I can’t tell unless I look at the meta data.