Photographers see the world through different eyes. Some are born with this gift, while others cultivate and develop their skillful eye over a period of time. It takes a particular mentality to look at the world and see things that might be otherwise overlooked but would be appreciated if noticed. Michelangelo must have seen the Sistine Chapel and imagined so much more than others would have. To them it was a ceiling and nothing more, but in his eyes it was a thing of beauty. Colors begging to be brought to life, and so they were. When the composer Johann Sebastian Bach heard notes of music, it was not as you or I would hear, but instead each note was a piece of a greater whole and complete concertos were born. It was as if the chapel and the concerto were always there, just waiting for the right person to breathe life into them, and so it is that art happens.
Recipe for beauty
For the photographer, instead of paintbrushes or musical instruments, cameras, lights and lenses are the tools of the trade. So what makes a perfect picture, you ask? Let’s start with…
• a touch of imagination
• a smidgen of luck
• a dash of dramatic skyline cutouts contrasting the sky at dusk
• a few carefully placed splotches of pink and purple above it all
• a thin, wispy cloud or two
• a sprinkling of stardust
Mix all of these together, and just add water. Using a tripod for stability, set your camera for a large depth of field using ambient light only, and slow the shutter as needed to record the scene in all its beauty. With patience, a persistent and dedicated photographer captures, not just a picture, but a symphony in the sky.
As seen in the accompanying photo, and in the slideshow below, Cincinnati at sunset presents a wealth of opportunity for dramatic photography. The reflection of the city in the waters of the Ohio River adds a unique illusion of color to the sunset above. But here’s a tip for the photographer planning to take pictures on the river at this time of year. Be prepared to wait several days to actually see the sun at sunset, and always wear a very warm coat (you know Cincinnati weather…).