Everyone loves a sunset, especially one of those breathtaking, ‘OMG those are colors I have never seen’, kind of sunsets. I'm sure all of us, professional, amateur or learner photographers have captured a million such sunsets, and I'm sure we have all photographed them in the same manic, run-around, wild eyed, the "lights about to disappear" manner. After your nine-millionth sunset you will hopefully have control of the wild-eyed demon that emerges at sundown and will start to think critically about what you are doing.
Take this picture for example, its not even a sunset, rather a sunrise and something that most people not blessed with the crazy urge to rise before the sun often miss out on. Given a bit of cloudy weather to pick up the rays of the rising sun and the colors that they produce you can capture some stunning images, once you have tamed the wild - eyed panic beast.
And so to get to the point, an old University professor used to regard sunrises and sunsets with marginal interest and with almost gleeful disdain referred to them as "wallpaper". Beautiful colors yes but nothing of much interest. It took me quite a few years of frantic running around at sunset and sunrise to realise what he was on about.
You need something of interest, even if its subtle, to bring the organza of colors into perspective, to give them root in the place and scene you are photographing. In short you still need a subject matter even if you are photographing colors never seen by another human eye before.
So when you are next in the heat of the moment, take some time to slow down, pull yourself towards yourself and look for a subject matter to give some sense, place or scale to those amazing colors.
Where: Little Samavhundla pan, Hwange National Park.
How: Sunrise, HDR composite of 3 different exposures, calmness and attention to subject matter!
Tech specs: Nikon D610 with Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 @ 80mm ISO 800 F8 1st exposure 1/80th sec, 2nd exposure 1/20th sec, third exposure 1/250th sec.
Would you like to learn more about photographic techniques and how to take great pictures? Join Chris on a Photographic Safari Workshop in some on Southern Africa's most stunning wild areas.