With our Florida rainy season in full swing, the clouds of our afternoon thunderstorms provide great opportunities for sunset pictures. One afternoon recently I came home, saw the clouds on the horizon, grabbed the camera, and drove out to some grassy fields where I knew I’d have a clear view of the horizon for sunset.
When I saw the sunlight illuminating the grasses and making their flowery tops shimmer, I first grabbed my wide-angle lens. But the detail of the grasses quickly got lost with the wide-angle shot. So I put on my intermediate telephoto and made this image. It’s an HDR composite of three images to capture the full tonal range. I really liked how the HDR emphasized the rays of light shining down on the grasses. It was gorgeous.
Common Nighthawks love the open grassy areas, and sometimes I come across one sitting by himself out on the open. I’d love to see his babies! From what I’ve read, the nighthawks nest right out in the open, because they blend in so well that there is no need to make a more sheltered nest. Wouldn’t it be fun to go out there later this summer and see Junior posing with Dad? :)
The clouds were awesome that night – dark from the thunderstorms, but not too thick. Again I used HDR to merge multiple exposures for the following two shots. When I showed the tree one to Rich, I got a “wow!” (That’s high praise indeed from my patient but not-camera-obsessed hubby!)
Sometimes the best colors are actually after the sun sets. On this night, the sun disappeared beneath the horizon, and the colors continued to glow. I noticed a bird sitting on a fencepost, and I got out and got really low to isolate him against the setting sun. It’s hard to figure out how to dress up birds on fenceposts, but I kinda liked this result! :)
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake County Backroads?
Check out my Lake County Backroads page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!