Rich and I ran up to Magnolia Park on New Year’s Eve to photograph the last sunset of 2019. Then I went to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive to capture the first sunrise of 2020, but you’ll have to wait to read about that in a future post. It’s fun to photograph the sunrises and sunsets as symbolic passages of time. Judging by the sunset, 2019 wasn’t such a bad year!
As usual, I bracketed these shots at +/-1 EV exposures and combined them using HDR in Photomatix Pro. This brings both the shadows and the bright spots in the photo, meaning you can see the detail in both the sun and the reeds. I used a small aperture (F22) knowing that the lens would add the star beam effect to the setting sun.
A couple brought their lawn chairs to the park to enjoy Nature’s show. They used their binoculars to bird watch as the sun slipped below the horizon.
The best colors happen 15-30 minutes after sunset, when the sky lights up with the afterglow. I crouched down for a different angle, including some of the wildflowers in the foreground of my shot. Articulating screens sure do come in handy for angles like this!
As the sun’s light faded, the moon started to glow over the treetops. Common Gallinules laughed at us and Great Blue Herons flew in and out of the reeds, on the lookout for their New Year’s Eve dinners. It was time to head home and protect the cats from the noisy New Year’s fireworks!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Apopka?
Check out my Lake Apopka 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!