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Norfolk Pine Sunset

A day during which the sky is obscured by clouds, air pollution–or in this case, volcanic fumes–can still sometimes end with a spectacular sunset.  It’s almost as if the powers-that-be are saying “Hey, sorry about the crappy sky we gave you today…here, let us make it up to you NOW.”

I was driving more aimlessly than usual, having given up hope of good photo ops for the remainder of the day, and pondering my dinner options, when the sun began to glow a deep pink and orange.  Seeing how close it was to the horizon, I knew I had literally less than a minute to grab a shot.  Unfortunately, between my camera lens and the sun was an airport.  A rather small airport, as airports go, but the runway ran parallel to the road I was on, and I knew by the time I drove past it the sun would be below the horizon.

I like a foreground in my sunrise and sunset shots, but I thought I was going to have to go without this day, when I realized that with a tight enough crop the rather scraggly line of Norfolk pines behind the terminal building could serve as a foreground element.  Alas, some of the pines, like the next one to the right of these three, were almost devoid of needles and looked half-dead.  Perhaps the jet engine fumes were to blame?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the airport builders had thoughtfully placed a tall, ugly chain link fence topped with several strands of barbed wire between the road and the runway.  It was starting to feel like a conspiracy.  A great sunset and no way to shoot it…

I pulled the car over to the side of the road anyway, sprang out with the camera which had a 200 mm lens attached (no time to go longer now!), jumped on the hood of the car to get the barbed wire out of the shot, and was able to fire off a couple of frames before the sun touched the hill.  I got some strange looks from some passing motorists, but I got the shot.

I had to crop more of the image than I normally would like, but I’m happy with this composition.  The moral of the story?  Sometimes even the most underwhelming of shooting days can have a happy ending.

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6 Comments

  1. Well salvaged. Well worth the effort, but is the car OK?

    • Thanks for asking, Dave! 😉

      Yes, the car–which was a local beater, filthy, and far from showroom quality to begin with–suffered no permanent injury. Fortunately, the same can be said for the photographer.

      RPRT Photo

  2. I love stories with happy endings (and the final photo was definitely worth the effort).

    • Hi Mike,

      Being open to opportunities as they present themselves is a vital trait for photographers, as I know you know. As is the willingness to overcome (or shoot over) obstacles. 😉

      RPRT Photo

      PS Been meaning to tell you, I LOVE the heron shots you posted a few days ago. What a beauty! 🙂

  3. Remarkable photo – quite a different sunset image which makes it appealing. Loved the description leading up to the photo. I can’t believe the airport did all that to you!

    The best photo would have been someone else catching the sunset and you!!

    • Thanks Lyle. 🙂

      It’s actually one of my favorite airports, and in one of my favorite places. It only has two gates, which makes it pretty simple to navigate. My biggest gripe with it (besides the barbed wire, which I overcame) is that just one person–employee or traveller–smoking a cigarette outside fills the entire terminal with smoke. Yuck! 😛

      RPRT Photo


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