Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Summer Sunset

There's something about a good sunset that's inspiring.

Some like a quick snapshot of reds, yellows and golds with some blue and purples, if you're lucky. Some like the tranquilness of the sunset to pause for reflection at the end of the day.

As a photographer, I don't know a sunset I didn't like. Some are better than others, but its usually hard to screw them up with your lens. But taking a picture of a sunset is one of those few things that you should just do with your mind's eye and not with your camera eye. Just bank it in your photo memory bank and not your online photo storage.

I am writing this from my back deck's patio, on a recliner chair watching a fire pit slowly die. The breeze is tickling me and is finally a cooling one. The day's wind is all but gone as a stillness settles in over my neighborhood. Its Sunday night. The festivities are all but done, people are starting to look at the week ahead. The trees stand stall and dark against the fading sky that's now more blue than red, and soon will be purple.

The farm where I grew up would provide some good sunsets. But our view to the west horizon was blocked by a barn and grove of trees. Those evergreens provided a windbreak against the northwest wind of winter, but did also block out the sun's dip below the horizon. I was on many a tractors at night when the sun went down as we were still working. The fall's sky fades quickly as the sun is hurrying to the southern hemisphere for summer. For these summer nights, the sun takes forever to settle. Its like a child trying to calm down after a big day of amusement park rides, trips to the pool and playing baseball in the backyard.

The summer sunset is a chance to sit on the porch, reflect on the day and get ready for the new one.

This past week, I did go on a road trip for the Iowa Journal. I was in Burlington and Davenport hanging out at the old ballpark. Each night around 9, I was waiting for the sun to go down and provide me with a great closing shot for my story, the sun giving off its palate of colors in the background as my favorite game played on in the foreground.

I didn't need a beer or cigar, just the gifts of sight and sound to take in the beauty ahead of me.

Now about that week that's ahead of me.

What's your favorite sunset moment?

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