Susan and I went back to Waldo Lake this past weekend with the travel trailer; she in need of a connection to one of her sacred places, and I in search of foliage, woods and water. (We also wanted a good shakedown cruise with the trailer before winter sets in.) It was beautiful most of the time we were there, and with evening temperatures in the low 30s, we were glad for the heat and comfort of our new little house.
Photographically, I didn’t find much: we were at 5,500 feet, and most of the trees were evergreens, although there were stretches of vividly colored scrub brush sprinkled around the lake. In addition, the wind also kept the lake fairly choppy, which was disappointing, given how calm it was when I was there in late August.
I lucked out the last day we were there, as the winds died down and the late-afternoon skies had the promise of a spectacular sunset. Ultimately, however, the infamous “Kloskowski effect” wiped most of the clouds from the skies at about 6 pm. (“Damn you, Matt!”) Not long before the sun dropped below the horizon, I thought about returning to camp, but I told myself that it was worth the exercise of composing and exposing. It was also a beautiful night, regardless of the photo op, and when I did go back to the trailer, I came away with two images that I liked, taken about 30 minutes apart.
The first one was taken at 6:30, and there were some gorgeous pinks and blues in a small group of wispy clouds that had remained on the horizon (to the left of the setting sun). With the calm lake in the foreground, I underexposed a stop, to get some deeper color, and I ended up with what you see above.
I liked what I saw on the screen of my camera, and I kept shooting, but the best shots were still those first ones, so I started packing things up a little bit before 7 pm. The clouds had dispersed and there was only a fairly generic yellow glow where the sun had gone down, but the lake was still calm, and the blues of the skies were starting to contrast quite beautifully with the greens (and colorful scrub brush) of the pines along the shore. I ended up taking this shot (below) at 7:03, overexposing slightly to pick up some of the color in the trees.
It always amazes me how much the skies can change in hue in the space of an hour (or less) at sunset, and it was good that I kept at it. I’m not sure which photo I like better, but I am glad I at least stuck to my guns: I walked out of the woods with something.