Colorful Sky At Sunset

We were talking a walk in our community as the sun was going down and the sky had a nice colorful glow. I had a m43 camera with me so I was able to get a few shots as we were walking home. The featured image was shot @ 140mm, f/13, ISO 800.


Meeting House at Sundown, m43 OM-D @ 25mm


Tree & Sky, m43 OM-D @ 22mm


Wider View Tree & Sky, m43 OM-D @ 14mm


Fading Sunset m43 OM-D @ 17mm

Sunrise At Blackwater

While we were at Blackwater NWR, I enjoyed shooting some landscapes besides the usual wildife.  The featured image was on the morning of the second day there, by the entrance to the Wildlife Drive by pool 1. I was using a 12-24mm zoom lens @12mm. This image is a multi-image blend for the effect I wanted to capture. One exposure for the brighter sky and sunburst and others for the darker water and foreground. For the sky I was shooting @ f/22 to get a dramatic starburst on the sun. Then I opened up and shot a few bracketed shots for the darker water and ground so I could choose the areas I needed to use to blend into my final image. Then aligned them all in Photoshop and blended the series with soft masks. Depending on the lens or camera format I am using and the strength of the starburst I want determines what f/stop I use to get the final shot. It is usually f/11, f/16 or f/22.


Setting sun, 12mm @ f/11

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Is Open

We went to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge a few days ago. We were not sure if it would be open during the government shutdown but the Refuge & Wildlife Drive were open and we had a great 2 days there. The visitor center and gift shop were closed though. Lots of Snow Geese, Tundra Swans & Canada Geese, etc. We also saw quite a few Bald Eagles but not many close by. But the sunsets & clouds were amazing.


Sunset near end of the Wildlife Drive. OMD E-M1, Mk I, With 14-140mm @14mm


Blackwater River Panorama Landscapes Near Sundown

When we were going to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, we planned for the first day to include the sunset and the second day to be there for the sunrise. Usually they are very dramatic and colorful at Blackwater NWR. Normall we go to the end of the Wildlife Drive for sunsets and the beginning of the Wildlife Drive for sunrise. The sunrises are better on the Little Blackwater River. While the sunsets are better by the Blackwater River. While we were on the Wildlife Drive heading for the far end, we noticed and liked the colorful clouds on the Blackwater River so we stopped and shot a few panoramas as the sun was getting lower. Even with 12mm or 24mm lenses, it still did not give me all I wanted in my shots. So I shot a series of images handheld, to blend together to get the view I wanted. The featured image was a series of shots in a vertical format to blend together. I wanted to include more sky and reflections in the water. The image below was a series of images shot horizontally to blend together.  With 12mm or 24mm lenses it seems like you have to shoot the images with a lot more overlap on each image than with longer lenses. Also instead of using Photoshop to automatically align and blend the images, they come out better to manually align each image manually and make soft edge masks to blend together for the final image. Photoshop tends to really distort the few images on each end and distort the edges badly, especially the extreme images on each end. The clouds and reflections then look really distorted and warped.


Sunset On The Golf Course

It was supposed to be a nice sunset so we took a walk on the Golf Course in our community. These are a series of panoramas / image blends combined in Photoshop from 2 to 7 images each. I used a Canon 24 – 105mm zoom lens, handheld, at various focal lengths. I also tend to try to overlap images more for panoramas. We also were in different areas for the series as we were walking and moving towards the sunset. The featured Image was 2 images @ 105mm. Being in NJ, you will also see a few with jet contrails in the clouds. It is tough in New Jersey to get a sky sometimes without them and I had a limited time to shoot the series so I left them in.

Golf Course Sunset 7 img 35mm blend

7 Image Pano / blend @ 35mm, horizontal images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop.



3 Image Pano / blend @ 45mm, vertical images, Pano assembled vertically in PhotoShop

Golf_Course_Sunset_5img v3 pano

5 Image Pano / blend @ 32mm, horizontal images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop


3 Image Pano / blend @ 88mm, vertical images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop


2 Image Pano / blend @ 45mm, horizontal images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop


2 Image Pano / blend @ 32mm, horizontal images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop. Concentrating – Centered on the main cloud

Golf_Course_Sundown v1_24mm_43G2744

2 Image Pano / blend @ 24mm, horizontal images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop


2 Image Pano / blend @ 24mm, vertical images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop


2 Image Pano / blend @ 24mm, horizontal images, Pano assembled in PhotoShop

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Sunsets

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge has some amazing sunsets. Being somewhat close to the coast it seems like the sunsets are more colorful than usual. Sunrises are also very colorful if you can get there that early. We live about 4 hours from Blackwater so we do not get there as often as I would like. If you position yourself near the end of the Wildlife Drive at sunset, you can stay for a short while after the theoretical closing time to enjoy the sunsets. They used to drive through to make sure everyone leaves, but are usually cooperative. Quite often you see flocks of birds flying through the colorful skies which adds some interest to the colorful skies. For the featured image I was using a Canon 15mm Fisheye f/2.8 lens. I corrected some distortion in Camera Raw.

bwr v2 lndscp

The above image was shot with a Panasonic LX Pocket camera. This is along the Wildlife Drive right before the final turn in the road to the straight away to the exit, where the featured photo was taken.



Multi-Image FlyOut Panorama at Sunset – Panned during a burst of images, assembled in Photoshop. Also along the last straight away to the exit.

Blackwater Sunset_80I6603 v3Eagles BWR 07_Y9F9007

Pelican Flying Through Sunset – Captiva Island

I have not posted any blogs for a while. We were busy with downsizing studio space at work, moving the computer room, moving printers, network cables, etc. Mostly getting everything up and runnings again. Also I did not do much personal photography for a while. In November we had the opportunity to go to Sanibel & Captiva Islands in Florida. It was fun to shoot for fun again. One of my favorite places to photograph birds and sunsets. The featured image was shot with a 300mm f/4 lens with a 1.4X Teleconverter, @ f/8 1/3200 sec.

Pelican sunset v4_MG_5500

Pelicans Flying Through Sunset – 105mm with 24-105mm @ f/11

Pelicans Captiva sunset flight v2_MG_5611

Pelicans Flying Right After The Sun Set – 105mm with 24-105mm @ f/11

7 Image Panorama Sunset At Blackwater NWR

This is a 7 image capture of a sunset at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Handheld series with 7 overlapping images shot with a 400mm lens with a 1.4X teleconverter. I was photographing birds flying through the colorful sunset, going to roost or settle down for the evening, but the sunset was so colorful, I tried a quick series to capture a enough images for a panorama. Then a tried a couple of vertical panorama setups. Ending with just some detail sections.


Two image vertical panorama, 400mm with 1.4X Teleconverter



Two image vertical panorama, 400mm with 1.4X Teleconverter



Sunset @ 400mm


Dusk @ 400mm w/1.4X Teleconverter


Sunset @ 400mm w/1.4X Teleconverter


Two Lonely Trees landscape

I like the colorful skies at the Blackwater NWR in Cambridge Maryland at the end of the day. This is one from a few years ago. Just happened to find it while I was looking for something else. Many times you see flocks of birds flying through the colorful skies, but this one with just a couple trees in the center of the image with the colorful sky and water looked appealing and peaceful. Usually I do not like to center my main subject in more of the middle of the frame, but it did not look like it worked offset to either side. So I liked it that way. It is also a nice background for a page in one of my ebooks with text placed around the frame. Many times I shoot images for backgrounds with blank areas for text or for other images to be placed around to tell a story as a page in my ebooks. Quite often I shoot a series working my main image with different intentional open spaces. You never know when you might need them. I guess I started doing this in my commercial work over the many years giving clients other choices along with what they requested. It is amazing how many times it paid off. Also it helps you to see differently and try other ways of seeing what you are looking at. You might be surprised at what you come up with. I also throw in a series of horizontal or vertical handheld panoramas just to get practice for when I really need one.

Ding Darling NWR Sunset

A series of sunsets at J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in December 2013. Here in New Jersey we have had a LOT of snow, so it nice to reflect back on the warm weather of our trip to Florida.


Early Sunset @ 6:09
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS Lens @ 90mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO 400


Sunset @ 6:26
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS Lens @ 32mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO 400


Sunset @ 6:26
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS Lens @ 47mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO 400

_80I1724 v2

Sundown @ 6:40
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS Lens @ 50mm, f/8, 1/125 sec, -0.67 exposure compensation, ISO 400


Clouds at Sundown@ 6:41
Canon EOS 1D MkIV, Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS Lens @ 24mm, f/8, 1/320 sec, -0.67 exposure compensation, ISO 400

%d bloggers like this: