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The time I spend out in nature has so many surprises it’s impossible to begin going through them. The biggest benefits which I have come to realize most profoundly are those of peace, calmness and understanding of what is important in ones life. It seems to be something that must take place with a life form other than human.  Over years of placing myself in nature it no longer surprises me when all of a sudden I feel alive when moments before I just felt present. The image I have chosen for Decembers free wallpaper is one of those times with a slight twist.

I had spent a few hours in one of my favorite places during the beautiful Autumn season. I had hiked some new areas, up and down the rolling flint hills and had a marvelous time. I never seem to want to leave areas like this and hour before and after sunset seem to go by like the flash of a firefly. I was slowly making my way back to where I had parked which took me across the earthen damn of Chase County State Lake. The sun had set some 30 minutes or so previously but still there were possibilities of a post sunset shot if something would happen in the darkening sky. I have learned many things over the years when it comes to understanding the light,  the most astonishing being the ability for beautiful light to happen in this 1 hour window after sunset.

I would like to say I purposely placed myself at the lakes eastern edge so a clear view of the sunset over the water could be had. Subconsciously I’m quite sure this happened but for the most part I no longer try to anticipate the circumstances. Oh I do my share of hoping and use the knowledge I have to place myself in specific areas but I have learned over the years to accept what Mother Nature gives me and be grateful. To many time I have tried to make something happen when in reality I have absolutely no control over what happens. I prefer to go off of instinct or just a gut reaction to my surroundings and if things work out great if not then I must accept that as the way things were supposed to be.

I slowly crossed the ridge of the damn stopping every few feet just to look at the diminishing light. Studying the soft glow on the waters surface and asking myself, could I make a picture here? As I continued the slightest coloration began to appear. This seems somewhat common in the hour after sunset. There will be a moment, sometimes only seconds other times lasting minutes that colors will change and increase in intensity. When there are clouds present one should be prepared. It could be dull, subdued colors or an amazing show of color and light. Mother Nature really seems to like to keep us guessing.

I made a few exposures when I noticed the slightest increase in the skies coloration. Hoping to capture something that may not be particularly noticeable to the naked eye. Nothing seemed overly spectacular partly due to the fact that it was getting rather dark. I enjoyed what I had seen and been able to place on my SanDisk memory card.

In the following days I began to go through some of these images of the previous week. This image didn’t necessarily stand out as anything other than a dark sunset shot over the water. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later I decided to give it more attention and see what I actually had.

This image was shot with a Nikon D800 so I knew I would be able to pull nearly everything out of the darker shadow areas with good clarity if needed. I began making initial adjustments in Lightroom, one being exactly the opposite of what I normally do. I adjusted the clarity of this image down rather far which reduces contrast but mostly structure giving it a soft filtered type of look. Along with exposure adjustment the result is a sublime, peaceful scene at least to me. Honestly I don’t recall the scene looking like this as I stood there that evening. Now after crafting this into an image that seems to spark an air of ephemeral beauty  I have to say I’m glad I took time to hang around and enjoy the last of the days light. I hope you enjoy it.

A print of this image may be purchased here: Sublime Lake Evening, Chase County State Lake

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Sublime Lake Evening, Chase County State Lake

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