Photographing Drama and Serenity

Low lying clouds, illuminated at sunset, over the Barkers Creek Reservoir near Harcourt in Central Victoria.

I dug deep into my photo vault to find this photo. Made in Central Victoria at the Barkers Creek Reservoir near the tiny town of Harcourt. Famous for apples and wine Harcourt is just off the highway between Melbourne and the regional city of Bendigo, where my dear old mum was born. The house that she was born in is now a motel. Mares stayed there a few years back on a return trip to her home town for her older brother Bill Gearon’s 90th birthday celebrations.

As Above So Below

This photo, while it appears to be a sunset, was actually made during the afterglow sometime after the sun had set below the horizon. The secret to being able to anticipate a great afterglow can be described as follows:

  • A lack of clouds gathering along the horizon which might, otherwise, act to block the sun’s rays
  • Overhead clouds which act as a surface for the light and as huge reflectors to bounce the light back down towards the earth below
  • Including a highly reflective surface, like water, in your composition can really bring sky and earth together into a harmonious composition

I’m glad that, through careful exposure and processing, I’ve been able to hold tonality in the brightest areas of the sky. Conversely I was happy for the deepest shadows to render black, thereby allowing them to help frame the surface of the water.

Patience is Rewarded

Sunrises and sunsets are wonderful to behold. To have the opportunity to record your experience of such events is, perhaps, one of photography’s greatest gifts to the enthusiastic artist. Just remember to arrive well before sunrise and, when it comes to sunsets, hold firm: the most beautiful light may not occur until 20 minutes or more after the sun has actually set.

Choose the Light

There is a sunrise and sunset everyday of our lives. We all have the choice to be outside and to connect with nature, regardless of where we live, at these times of day. To witness, record and connect with such radiant beauty is, perhaps, one of life’s great experiences. It’s such a simple choice to make. Yet we routinely choose to do other things. Please make the decision to experience the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset at least once this week. And the more often you do it the more likely your life will change for the better. Even in life’s darkest moments we can choose the light.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru