I’m finally home, after 10 days in CA. Yesterday, about an hour before sunset, I kept finding myself staring at the sky more than the road. I was keeping an eye on the height of the clouds, and the position of the sun, so I could best predict what kind of sunset it would be. The way things were set up, I knew it was either going to be a killer sunset, or a dud. All I needed was an opening on the horizon, which was behind the mountain.
I eventually trusted my gut and pulled off the 5 to find something like a beat up farmhouse to use in my foreground. I was pretty much in the middle of nowhere and a foreground of empty farmland would have wasted the sunset that was about to unfold. As I got off the freeway, I liked the way the mountains looked int he distance. I thought I might be able to drive for 20-30 minutes to get close enough for them to have an impact in the image.
Lucky for me, on my way toward the mountains, some water along a crossroad caught my eye. I immediately stopped in the middle of the road and turned around. The water turned out to be a rice paddy, which was perfect for reflections.
About 10 minutes after I set up my camera, I started to see some color show up. Thats when I knew I had the conditions I needed. As time went on, the color stretched across the whole valley. It was great because I could easily see what colors were going to end up over the rice paddy, which is the direction I was shooting with my Nikon. The deep pinks in the east slowly inched over the rice paddy and I got exactly what I expected. I wish all sunsets could be this predictable.
The photo above is an unedited iPhone shot. The pano at the top of the post has been edited in Snapseed and then touched up slightly in photoshop to brighten it a bit more and add a little contrast. It really looks great large, though I don’t know if you can view it larger on my blog anymore.