Turning your back on sunsets.

Large thunderhead photographed over outback NSW by Ian Mckenzie of Excitations Photo Adventures and tours, Australia.

The sunsets in the west so point your camera east.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? However, there are many occasions when the main event photographically is in fact, not where you would expect. Sunsets are at best, unpredictable. How many times have you as a photographer set up to take a fantastic sunset photo? Only to be disappointed to see it fade into a dull anti-climax. I know it has happened to me countless times. Usually doesn’t matter much, but sometimes it hurts. Everything else is in place, only the primary element of your masterpiece forgets to show.

Soft whisky streak of pink cloud in the eastern sky as sunsets. Photo by Ian Mckenzie, photo educator with Excitations photo adventures and tours, Australia.

While waiting for some sunset magic, and becoming more despondent by the second,  I glanced over my shoulder to spot this bit of natures art. Purchase this Summer Sunset art print here.

Be aware, alert and awake.

I call them the three A’s of photography. We all know the only thing that matters in a photograph is the subject matter depicted within the frame. The acronym for that is the unfortunate WTF, so I’m not sure we’ll be using that. I digress though. Photographers should be aware of there surroundings at all times. Being aware of your surroundings keeps you safe. Being alert to developing situations, gives you a competitive edge creatively. Especially when photographing subjects such as weather, nature and humans protesting, to name a few examples. Finally remaining awake to the full potential of your current situation. Too often we as photographers allow our creative mind to doze off while we’re photographing.

Sunset on a bank of clouds caught by the last rays of sunlight at sunset. Photo by Ian Mckenzie, Excitations Photo Adventures and tours, Australia.

While waiting for sunset over a billabong, clouds in the east burst into life with the last rays of the sun. The planned picture turned to dust. Image available as Royalty Free Stock.

What has any of this have to do with turning your back on sunsets?

Well, you know when we focus our mind on the job at hand. A lot of other stuff fades from consciousness.  Our brain files it into a folder to be accessed later. Probably even labels the folder “may be useful later”. In reality, for photographers, that folder is always useful. We should check it regularly while shooting. A part of that checking process is to look over your should while shooting sunsets. The reward is often spectacular. At other times a sky full of pastel hues is your reward. I guess the point I’m trying to make here, is when photographing sunsets or sunrises for that matter. It pays to look around from time to time, just to make sure you’re not missing the once in a lifetime image.

Improve your photography by merely being more aware of your surroundings, alert to the potential for your current situation to provide great photo opportunities and not allowing you creative eye to take a nap while you’re on a mission.

Large thunderhead photographed over outback NSW by Ian Mckenzie of Excitations Photo Adventures and tours, Australia.

Unlike the other two photographs on this page, this brilliant thunderhead, due east of our camera position was always going to be the shot. Royalty Free Stock license available.