Autumnal Sunset in the Pohangina Valley

One of the things I truly like about photography is the friendships you develop along the way. This weekend I was feeling like we hadn't been out photographing much and with the pressures and other priorities of life that happens. So I messaged a few friends and asked who was keen to make an afternoon / evening of it. In the end six of us went out in the afternoon to see what we could find up the Pohangina Valley.

Things took longer than I had hoped and by the time we made it out to the valley, the sun was already sinking towards the horizon. So began the normal process of scouting for a good location. Nothing was really standing out to anyone in the two cars as we drove. Then just about 15 minutes before the sun dipped below the hills in the distance we found this beautiful view.

The scramble out of the car, the hasty grabbing of camera bags and tripods accompanied by the chater of people as they searched for a shot. Then I heard one of our group mention about the shadows, that was all I needed, the inspiration from one word. I had been thinking about the colour of the leaves of the poplars but I knew that was not really enough. But those shadows, and the lines they created leading you through the scene, that was the meat and bones of the image.

When shooting into the sun, it is always hard. The glare and brightness are hard to deal with but I had heard of a technique where you shoot the same bracketed series of images twice, the first as normal but the second time through you do something a little weird. With this bracketed set of images you cover the disc of the sun with a finger coming in from the top of the frame. By obscuring the sun you can remove the sun flare from the final image, effectively removing another barrier or artifact from the camera in the image. After all you don't see lens flares when you look at the scene with your normal eyes, so they can detract from some images. It was the first time I have really tried this and it works fine.

Not long after this image was captured, the sun sank below the horizon and the display was over. What a great way to spend an afternoon, good friends and a great image.