Just in TIme

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Sunset Reflections — Jordan Lake, NC © jj raia

If only this sky appeared at some point during the recent trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, I would have been content. But as mentioned last week, nothing even came close. Even though I tried to coax my son to go out to photograph the previous evening for a sunset that looked promising, there was no way he wanted to leave the house then. So we missed the opportunity to use the sky in a photo other than the one below taken from in front of our house. But on this day, the very next, he got out of his Covid pj’s and got dressed to go out after dinner.

Although we were still at the house the night before, I happened to glimpse the pink sky out the front door and grabbed the camera (after switching to the 70-300mm lens), and managed just one shot before the light began to fade without any time to set up the tripod. Luckily I remembered to switch the image stabilization back on just before I tripped the shutter, and found the frames to be sharp. If I hadn’t remembered, I know the leaves on the trees would have been blurry because I have accepted the fact that I have lost the ability to hand hold shots without some sort of stabilization. Even with the IS on, I boosted the ISO to 400 because there was a polarizer in front of the lens as there usually is. But the slight additional noise was easily cancelled with a simple slider adjustment in Lightroom. The image was taken solely to record the sky and show my son what we had missed by not going down to the lake that evening. Maybe that made him more agreeable to go the following night.

Sunset Sky — Wake County © jj raia

So after dinner the following evening, he decided he would be willing go to the lake with our cameras by coming downstairs fully dressed and ready to go!! We managed to get there just as the sky was beginning to light up, and we knew we were in for a treat because several additional cars pulled over to witness something special. Other than the usual polarizer on the lens, I added the 2-stop hard edged split ND filter to keep the reflections from recording very dark. Lucky for us, the winds we completely calm to create the perfect reflections in the water, because many times, even the slightest breeze will create ripples that eliminate the mirror like effect. It was just a matter of getting there and have just enough time to get our gear set up before we lost the beautiful light.

It really is a gift to witness such a glorious sight, one of the best sunsets we’ve seen in a very long time, and were lucky to get there just in time.


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