red-skies-at-night by Jon Armstrong.

Red Skies At Night

On Saturday night, I set up near Ensign Peak and shot a ton of sunset shots. For once, I arrived in plenty of time to fine a good location and get ready. The cloud cover was good, but there was a lot of haze in the valley and out west. This image was one of the better ones from this session. I bracketed these and then pulled all of the bracketed shots into Photoshop as a 32-bit image. After Photoshop did its thing, I saved and went back to Lightroom to finish editing.

After looking the images over, it’s clear I’m still finding the best way to shoot sunsets. All of the images I wanted to share need some work. Most of the shots were intentionally under-exposed as that was the only way to darken the blacks through the haze. I still didn’t end up with great shots that I’m 100% happy with. I may be a bit harsh on myself, but I want to better myself as a photographer and it can be a struggle at times to find the sweet spot of good weather, good location and dead on camera work. I still got to see a great sunset and learn. Those are good things the universe brought to me over the weekend.

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I’ve spent the past couple of weekends with the girls and I had a weekend to myself, so I took a walk downtown on Saturday morning to shoot and grab a decadent waffle. The weather was fantastic and I got some good images. It was nice to be alone with myself. Is it weird that sometimes I don’t want to be around people except my kids? I don’t think I’m being hermit-like, but there are days when I don’t speak out loud to another person. I can’t decide if it’s a result of living alone or my personal situation or a combination of both. Or just a need I have right now as I explore.

As with all of these considerations, I’m trying to be present and aware. It sounds super new agey and power crystals and whatnot, but I think there is something to sitting with a situation, a thought or notion and turning it over quietly and examining all the facets/aspects. I’ve never been very good at doing this slowly or deliberately. I’ve always moved quickly through these kinds of personal growth periods. As I look back at my history, I don’t think I’ve moved that quickly at all through personal trials. It always takes however long it takes to heal. When I think about the past, I think I’m learning to accept that I can’t heal any faster than I can heal. Maybe that’s one lesson I’ll take from the gallbladder situation. You do all you can to heal, but sometimes the universe has other things in store or your body is different and it’s going to heal differently.

Usually I have good perception and insight about people I come into contact with. That has served me well, especially professionally these past few years. In my personal life, I think I lost my way in terms of applying insight to me. Maybe it’s a function of age, that it just takes this long to realize maybe the things one thinks of oneself aren’t necessarily true or right or accurate. That’s part of all of this, I think. So I’m looking for ways through this weirdness. Trying to remain calm and grounded. Practicing calm reflection is extraordinarily difficult for me given how my mind works. The events of these past months haven’t helped. I’ve had false starts, avenues to explore, options to consider and none have seemed to come together just so. As I get closer to a turning point, there have been setbacks. Normally, I wouldn’t give one or even two craps about these turning points. But as part of the deliberation and consideration, I’m trying to look at them as transformational elements.

With all my insight and perception directed not outward, but inward, I’m starting to see just how lost I was. Not lost in a “bad” or “good” way. Just not in touch, not fully aware. That realization is rough. Not because I’m a bad person or because I’m doing it wrong but because what the Clarity of 2012 has wrought is that I’ve got work to do. I think that’s part of the sludge I have felt recently; I have felt at times like I’m not me, I’m not who I thought I was and/or I’m not really experiencing this awfulness. I’m watching someone playing me experience all of this.

That’s probably why I’m having and utterly enjoying these hours of solitude. I don’t want to escape or be distracted. Maybe just admitting that here, out loud and in public is progress.

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Affirmation: I will slow everything down. The world can wait.