During my recent trip to Extremadura, I took walks in the evening right around the 9:30ish sunset almost every day. For most of these walks, my eyes were glued to the absolutely stunning skies. Coming from the north of Spain, visiting relatively flat, relatively treeless, relatively small housing in Extremadura reminds me of the first time I was in the Nevada desert: So much sky!
We traveled on the new moon and stayed 14 days until the full moon, so I got to watch as the moon appeared every night, first in the west with the setting sun as a little sliver, and later full in the east, competing with the setting sun for glory like a boxer in the opposite corner of the ring.
Without further ado, let’s go for a walk under Extremadura skies. Vote for your favorite in the comments.
1) Sunset wheat.
2) Sunset through a tree.
3) Tree of fire!!
4) Sunset over a pig pen. Can you see the pig?
5) Adios, Señor Sol! This is what a sunset looks like in a cloudless sky. I watched the sun touch the horizon and disappear behind it while seated at table with beer and family. Nice.
6) Moon sliver wide. I was disappointed that it took me so long to notice it. But it was fun to play the “Cool! Look at the moon!”, “Where?” game with people.
7) Moon sliver cropped.
8) Another cloudless sunset.
9) A beautiful failure. This was a handheld attempt at photographing the moon sliver. Because there was so little light, the camera had to hold the shutter open for a full 2.5 seconds, and no one can hold a camera perfectly still for that long. So I had to search for something to steady the camera on.
10) Fencepost tripod.
11) Fencepost tripod, cropped.
12) Sunset through the trees, with electrical pole.
13) Layered Sunset. This photo and the next one were the only two I took one day when I carried my tripod just outside the town to catch some sunset action.
14) Attempted HDR. I was really undereducated when I went out to attempt my first High Dynamic Range photograph. I wasn’t aware that it requires at least 5 or 6 different shots. I took two. Photoshop’s HDR tool failed miserably, but when I tried the Photomerge tool (what I use for stitching panoramas), it figured out to split the two shots right at the horizon, successfully capturing the textured sky and rocky grass landscape below. Nice.
15) Nice clouds with horizontal lighting.
16) Farm work at sunset.
17) Farm work sunset, cropped. This might be my favorite.
18) Dad helps sons with kite. They had been flying this kite, which would have made an awesome shot, but they were finishing and packing up the kite when I got to them. Darn.
19) Juan and Belén walking out to find Marga and me on our walk.
20) I love the circular shape of this tree.
21) Red cirrus. Just when I thought the photogenic sunset was over for the evening, I glanced up and these cirrus clouds were glowing red.
22) Red shroud. A close-up of the moon from the previous photograph, in case you didn’t notice it.
23) Pond at dusk.
24) Red brush strokes. iPhone held steady on the roof of a car.
25) The same farm from above on the last day. Lovely.
There are two more photographs of sunset skies, but they are too special and deserve their own post. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite.