“Cordell Hull Sunset” by Robin Conover
Canon EOS 6D, 24-70 mm, 2.8 L-series lens,
Gitzo tripod, ISO 100, ƒ22 at 1/10 sec.
My first camping trip of this year began with cloudy skies and a constant, cool rain. But my favorite weather apps indicated there was a possibility of clearing skies by the end of the day. So I tried to remain optimistic as I sat in the camper with rain chattering on the roof.
I’ve found that no matter how well you plan, the weather will always be unpredictable and ultimately emerge as a determining factor in camping trips and photo ops alike. Waiting for the weather to break or the light to be just right, I’m often reminded of a favorite elementary school expression — “You get what you get, and you don’t pitch a fit.” In fact, it’s a rhyme that my young friend, Cole Harman — whom you can see fishing on the left side of the lake above — learned from his parents and teachers.
With that in mind, I decided to enjoy the day and hope for some sort of sunset shot. Defeated Creek was a new campground for me, so I wasn’t sure exactly where the sun would set.
Apps came to the rescue. I opened SkyView to get an idea of when and where the sun would meet the horizon. The app indicated it would be right across the lake from my camper, so I decided to stay put and not seek another vantage point. I then checked the radar on the Weather Channel app and saw the storm front was just past our area and that some breaks in the cloud cover might coincide with sunset.
I have to say that technology, especially apps and smartphones, definitely makes it easier to use weather variables to my advantage as a photographer. Knowing the clouds may break soon seems to make waiting for perfect light go by faster.
As the clouds thinned on this particular evening, the air was clear of spring pollen, and the light began to filter across the lake. I set up with an area of rocks and wet shoreline in the foreground and waited for the moment the clouds lifted.
I had about 15 minutes of light that danced off the low cloud cover and the lake’s surface. The effect of a golden fog of light was certainly the most beautiful scene of the day.