Best Sunset Photo Ever (By Me, So Far)

I’ve been really into taking photos lately, mainly because we’ve been having awesome sunsets and lots of houseguests, which has led to many fun nights out on the deck enjoying the sunset. I have so much to learn, but I’m really motivated by the small progress I’ve made. I just took this photo and I’m so excited because it actually looks almost exactly like what I saw with my own two eyes. (Click to enlarge and appreciate the details. :))

What I love about this photo is that it shows the clouds, the sunset and the lights in the valley, but you can still barely see the tree trunks. I took another one where the pine needles were crisper, but the colors weren’t as nice. I definitely have a lot to learn!

I’ve decided that I’m not into editing photos aside from cropping and resizing. I’ve color-corrected a few photos, and I kind of feel like I’m cheating. I want to take photos that are accurate depictions of what I’m really seeing at that moment. I realize that there’s some wiggle room with editing, because even unedited photos aren’t always accurate. But sometimes I see really amazing landscape photos online, and for a minute I think, “Wow, that is unbelievably beautiful…I’ve never seen colors that vivid.” Then I think, “I’ve never seen colors that vivid because they don’t exist in nature!” That realization makes me feel kind of sad and jaded. I mean, aren’t the actual colors in nature enough…do they really require enhancement?

California Snow

All the storms back east have me thinking about snow. Where we live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, we don’t get much snow. The snow line in our area usually ranges from about 4,000 to 5,500 feet above sea level, and we’re quite a bit lower than that.

The photo above (taken almost exactly three years ago) shows the type of dusting we might get once or twice a year. It only sticks around for a few hours, or maybe overnight. December 2009 was a little different. We woke up to this:

That’s our garden fence on the left! This is not normal. Our neighbors, some of whom have lived on the street for close to 30 years, said they had never seen this much snow fall here. And it stuck around for several days. I listened to my scanner to hear about the power outages and downed trees, and chuckled when I heard that a sheriff’s patrol had lost control on the ice and hit some tree branches, breaking a rear window (nobody was hurt). Even our emergency responders don’t know how to navigate icy roads!

When I was a kid, we lived in a snowy area, and I remember the excitement of snow days. I got that feeling all over again when our road was too icy to get past for about 36 hours! There was no place we could go and nothing we could do except hang out and enjoy the beautiful, peaceful scenery. After a few days, it was back to reality. And really, a few days is about enough for me. I don’t want to deal with the snow on a regular basis. I like our mild winters. But just so you don’t think it’s paradise here, let me leave you with this thought: it was 108 degrees Fahrenheit the day we moved into our house. That memory makes me shiver.

Pretty Sunsets

One of our favorite things about our property is the location. We’re super lucky to have a nice westward view, and we get some pretty amazing sunsets. Here are a few of my favorite photos. These are all taken from our deck, except for the last one, which I’m pretty sure was taken from the roof.