Almost every year when my family gets together at Milford Lake, Kansas, I like to go out at least one evening and take a picture of the sunset. Views like this aren’t something I see in my normal daily life in Oklahoma, so it’s fun to be able to try different kids of shots compared to my normal repertoire of bugs, insects, and scenes from Theta Pond on the OSU campus. While most of my family was up at the campfire I stole away for a few minutes to run down to the beach, set up my camera, and see if I could get something maybe a tad different from the similar compositions I had created in previous years. Not that there’s anything wrong with repeating a photo year after year, and I have certainly done just that more than a few times in the past decade or so, but it’s also fun to try something new. Novel, perhaps, or at least novel to me if not to other nature and landscape photographers.
What I eventually came up with was the idea of using my D750, 50mm lens, and 10-stop ND filter to smooth out the water (of course) but also to create a sense of wistful peacefulness in the foreground. Instead of focusing on the treeline with the setting sun in the background, I instead found a chunk of rock sticking up from the water right near the shore and got that nice and sharp even though it meant the background would be a bit blurry. (One of the consequences of a relatively inexpensive lens like the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is that you sacrifice a small aperture; f/16 is as low as this lens will go, which means super deep focus is kind of out of the question. C’est la vie.) I set my ISO to 100, my shutter speed to 30 seconds, and got this image which is quite unlike most of the other pictures I can recall taking. It looks like the rock is shrouded in a fog or mist, but it’s really just small waves lapping against it as a hushed breeze barely breathed across the surface of the waters.
This was a fun picture to take and one that I hope to revisit in the future, possibly with the light behind me instead of in front of me, but that goes to show that if nothing else this at least gives me some new ideas to try which is always a good thing when it comes to photography :)