A long look at the lights

A long look at the lights

Shooting a long exposure of the Loop 360 Bridge in Austin, with the passing cars blurring out and just leaving light trails.  That's a good way to spend an evening!

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Sunset over Lake Austin

Ok, I keep writing about sunrise, but sunset is pretty nice too, huh?

I have a thing for sunrise, since it usually results in me getting shots without a bunch of distracting elements in them...like wayward humans.  I hate when someone walks into my shot.  I know it's digital and I can redo it easily, but have some consideration dude before you go blundering in front of someone with a camera.  /end rant\

Anyways...after that little commercial break, how about a stunning sunset photo from my favorite spot in Austin?  You want one?  Ok, here you go:

I do love me some sunset, just like everyone else.  I especially love it when it looks like this.  When the skies are flat and boring, well...I lose interest, unless I am somewhere really kick ass, like wandering some street in a foreign city.  Then I am ok with bad light, because at least I am experiencing something new.  But to be clear, I always prefer awesome light.

This was taken from the Loop 360 overlook here in Austin, just a few minutes drive from my house.  I love it when you only have to travel a couple of miles, and you get a great view AND a stunning sunset at the same time.  Now that's a great combo!

Pennybacker sunrise

Two of my favorite things: sunrise light and the Pennybacker Bridge!

This is the Pennybacker Bridge in Austin, which is commonly known as the Loop 360 Bridge, since that is the name of the road that crosses it.  The other name of the road is Capitol of Texas Highway, which reminds me that if you ever come to Austin, be aware that we have at least two names for every major road.  I don't know why that is, but I'm pretty sure it involves alcohol.  :-)

Anyways...I am sure you have seen at least 20 million photos from this spot, because everyone takes them from here when they come to town, and locals like myself just love the place.  It's like going to London - everyone knows you are going to take a photo of Big Ben.  You sorta have to.  It's the famous thing to shoot.

So yep, this isn't new in any sort of way, and I am ok with that.  I just love standing up here with the sun shining on me and a slight wind blowing, watching all the cars pass this way and that.  It feels like you are on top of the world.  Everyone below is scurrying to and fro, and you can just relax up here, take some photos, and breathe.  It's pretty awesome.

And that tree!  I don't know how it keeps hanging on, but it does.  Hang in there baby!

A Fall sunset in Austin

Fall is my favorite season.  What's yours?

I love the Fall season.  While we don't get what you would consider the typical Fall season here in Austin, we do get some nice weather and a little bit of color, if you know where to look.  Many of our trees here are Live Oaks, which don't really do the Fall thing, or Cedar, which is evergreen and essentially a nuisance (it causes lots of allergy problems for people).  But like I said, we have pockets of color that occur.

This photo is a good example of what I am talking about.  You can see there is so much green on the hillside, but there are little pops of color here and there.  I was drawn into the scene thanks to that one tree, which was a beautiful orange color, and which was being hit with the last bit of sunshine, before the sun dipped too low and disappeared.  I just happened to be there at the right time.

I shot this HDR photo on the evening before our Thanksgiving holiday back in November.  We were together as a family, hanging out and enjoy the time together.  The family was kind enough to let me squeeze in a quick jaunt down to the lake for some shots, and some of them came with me.  It was awesome, and we got lucky with a beautiful sky and a nice calm lake with no boat traffic.  Nothing screws up a reflected landscape like a passing boat!

Shooting landscapes is something that I think everyone enjoys, and I am no exception.  It's just fabulous to gaze at a beautiful landscape, and then to capture it with the camera.  I love doing that, though I don't often have the opportunity to.  My travels mostly take me to cities, so when I do get a chance to shoot a landscape I am pretty thrilled!

There's just something about sunset

Are you a sunrise or sunset person?

That's one of those eternal questions: early bird, or night owl?  It seems we all have a tendency in one direction or the other.  I can stay up pretty late (like if I am working on photos) but generally don't do so.  I tend to be more of a morning person.

I also find the same habits are present when I am traveling.  As much as I enjoy staying out and experiencing a place, I don't do much night photography so I am usually done after blue hour.  But I LOVE to get up early in a foreign city and shoot sunrise.

I find the mornings are quieter and more peaceful, and of course the risk of errant humans getting in the way is minimal.  And I still find plenty of dramatic light at sunrise.

Anyways, I guess that makes this sound like it's a sunrise image, but it's actually a sunset image over Lake Austin, just off the lookout at the 360 Bridge.  As the title states, there is just something about sunset.  You just have to get out there and shoot them.  They have a different feel than sunrise.  But either way, it's great to be standing in a place like this, watching the light change and the land go dark, and taking photographs of it all.  It's pretty kick ass, actually!

Watching the sunset

Everyone seems to enjoy watching the sun set.  I’m no exception, however I like to watch it through the viewfinder on my Nikon.  That way, I get to see it and preserve it.  Works out pretty good in my opinion, because I don’t have to just remember it.  I can see it anytime I want. :-)

A pink sunset in Austin

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. 

- Rabindranath Tagore

The swallowing darkness

Here’s another pic from the incredible shoot I had one evening a few weeks back, up above the Loop 360 Bridge here in Austin.  I have already posted a few pics from this wonderful evening of shooting, and hopefully you are still enjoying them because I have many more still to get to!

This is certainly one of the best spots to shoot in Austin, and when you get an incredible display in the sky like this one it’s definitely the best!  The thing I like about this shot is that large dark cloud in the center.  It looks to me like it is chasing away the light and swallowing it whole.  Ah nature, you’re awesome!

Rounding the bend

It is hard to beat shooting at sunset, right after the sun has dipped below the horizon.  The light is just right, the colors are spectacular, and everything has a soft glow.  It's a fabulous time of day to shoot.

I actually shot this about 3 years ago from the lookout over the Loop 360 Bridge in Austin.  I had processed it several different ways, but never liked it so it just sat in my library.  I ran across it, tried a few things and here it is.  That's why I recommend that you never delete old photos - unless of course they are blurry or something.  Your vision matures and your processing improves, and someday you might decide you can do something with a photo you previously overlooked!

Technicals: Nikon D40x, single exposure, f/22, 18mm

Software: Color Efex Pro, Aperture