Lake Canandaigua Sunset

Lake Canandaigua Sunset

Earlier this year I realized that my fall schedule was going to conflict with my favorite time of the year to photograph in the Southeast. So, when Delta announced a sale I somewhat impulsively decided to take a trip to somewhere reasonably cheap that was on my bucket list of beautiful places to visit. Happily, some locations in upstate New York were on sale and I had the Finger Lakes region on my list. I booked the tickets, found a super cheap rental car, some not so cheap hotel rooms and began to plan my trip.

I scheduled my flight out of Atlanta as late in the day as possible so I could get most of a full work day in and still have a shot at photographing a sunset in New York. I was hoping for an early arrival and a quick rental car experience. God was smiling on me and I received both. Within thirty minutes of landing I was in my rental car with my car pointed south and west. I began to look for a place to capture a sunset should the elements oblige me with something worth shooting.

I found myself on the New York Thruway hoping I could find the right exit in order to wind up on the northern end of one of the Finger Lakes by sunset. I pulled into Canandaigua about twenty minutes before sunset and began to hunt for a decent location. I found a small city park with only the lake for a foreground but I did have an unobstructed view to the western sky. I knew that would be as good as it would get so I broke out my tripod and camera to see what would transpire.

As many sunsets and sunrises as I have observed, I’m still pretty lousy at predicting when there will be vibrant color in the sky. I knew the conditions were promising this evening but I wasn’t sure anything would materialize. As you can see from the image above I certainly can’t predict very well. As I waited perched on some rocks in the lake near a walking path the colors got better and better. People walking by were oohing and aahing about the developing colors. Several went on an on about the guy down in the water with the fancy equipment. I ignored it all and captured as many quality frames as possible.

Finally, the whole sky exploded with color. The reasonably calm lake reflected the colors with intensity as well. In this image a flock of geese decided to fly through my frame. I wish that I had been shooting at a slightly faster shutter speed but the depth of field I had chosen mandated a shutter speed of 1/15 of a second. That slow of a shutter unfortunately rendered blurry birds and wings. Nevertheless, the scene is still beautiful. And, as it turned out, this was the best sunset of the entire trip.

After all the color drained from the sky, I packed up my gear for a two-hour drive south. But, I had memories of an awesome sunset to carry me into the cold dark night. There’s much more to come from my short upstate New York adventure. Enjoy.


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