Last Saturday evening Brian and I were hanging out in our living room after dinner when we noticed that the sky was getting dramatic outside our window. The photo above is a fairly conventional sunset view, pretty representative of what we saw with our naked eyes. But that’s not the first photo I made in the course of the few minutes of celestial drama.
My camera was sitting on its tripod near the window, with a 100mm lens mounted. As I prepared to take it outside and start shooting the sky I happened to glance through the viewfinder and saw something like this second photo. The image was completely out of focus because the last thing I’d photographed was a macro of some flower, but I rather liked the large soft blobs of color I saw. I spent a few moments refining the image, determining that to capture the soft feel I initially saw I’d need to keep the lens wide open at f/2.8.
I was shooting through the silhouetted strappy leaves of one of our houseplants, so I moved the camera slightly, experimenting with how the sun appeared.
I almost always photograph both horizontal and vertical versions of anything I’m shooting in the natural world so I turned the camera sideways and made a couple more variations.
I haven’t photographed pure blurs like this since using that concept as a class project way back in the mid-1970s when I was a photo student. It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. I wouldn’t want to be limited to out-of-focus photos, but it’s fun to play with the idea occasionally.
A few minutes later in the evening the colors of the sky had changed and I headed outside again for another variation on the sunset theme. This one was made with my Sony A6300 and a 16-70mm lens set toward the wide end to capture more of the glowing clouds. It’s uncommon for me to have both cameras in the living room, rather than the studio, but Saturday evening was one of those days and it saved me the time of running to the studio to get the right lens for the scene.