Blurred Sunset

There is a spot near our cottage that has a hill overlooking the lake. It’s open farmland that’s been left to lay fallow for many years. I love to stand there and look out because you can sometimes get a ‘big sky’ feeling that’s hard to find in Southern Ontario. And then, there are times when a sunset will defy a natural or expected appearance and you struggle with words, trying to describe it to someone else with any accuracy.

It’s here that I was drawn to record a spectacular sunset one evening last fall. But, I wanted to create an abstracted rather than realistic version. I think we all know the markers of a good sunset, but what if I could bend the light a little through movement and play with the subject so that it would have the feeling of an abstract painting.

That was my question as I set up in the field and absorbed the evening. Really, I didn’t think that the sky would offer as much as it did – but I was wrong. Every minute was even more impressive that the last and it was hard to keep up with the changes in light. Watching a sunset is so much different than recording one. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark ii and here I used a 100-400mm zoom lens so that I could frame areas of the sky that had complementary colours.

The challenge of adjusting the aperture and playing with the speed of the shutter to capture a specific look was amazing. It offered a chance to create a series of shots that highlighted incremental changes with a style that was extremely freeing. I have always been attracted to paintings that blend colour and perceived subjects. Here, the camera gave me the opportunity to create what I love in so many other works.

I have included the beginning and ending of the sunset at the start of the photo reel, in regular shots, to give you a sense of the colour shift that happened in this 30 minute shoot. All the other shots are moments distorted by movement.


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