Over on my Facebook page I did a little informal polling. I put up a dozen photos and asked everyone to vote with their “likes.” It was easy and organic. After a bit, I narrowed it down to the top five and opened voting again. Now, based on those votes, greeting cards are being made from the top two photos. The proceeds from the sale of these cards will support our mission trip to Brazil (and you better believe I’ll shoot a few more pictures while I’m there). Since the cards are blank inside, I thought I’d tell the story behind the two photos here.
The original dozen photos were captured in a diverse set of locations and circumstance. A couple were from the little lake down the street from my house. There was downtown graffiti, skylines, and rivers. Some of the pictures were taken with my expensive camera and nice lens, others with a phone. What I found interesting in the final results is that the winners were both taken standing about 10 feet (and 3 months) apart and were both sunsets.
The first picture was taken in late September, 2015 along the bank of the Arkansas River in my home town of Sand Springs. This is the spot I labeled “The Spot Where David Likes to Watch the Sun Set” on FourSquare. In the fall, Oklahoma is blessed with incredible works of art that stretch across the sky. When the weather is right, these displays can last for an hour. The sky changes dramatically over that time. I can take a picture every 10 minutes and each would be completely different and utterly breathtaking. The river was high and flowing fast, which is why you see the rough water reflecting the orange glow of the setting sun. The sky holds every color from black to white, with a generous helping of orange and blue. This shot has an unusual mix of colors and it’s striking.
The second picture is one of my favorites. Christmas day, 2015, I wandered down to that same spot. No matter how incredible family and festivities are, it’s always nice to steal away for a quiet moment of Christmas reflection. Getting there a little later than I meant to, I was afraid I had missed the show. I scrambled down the bank, right to the edge of the river. The water was lower and much more still than in September, so it reflects the entire sky instead of just the blazing sun. The winter reeds along the bank appear to be leaning toward the fading light, straining for every last glimmer. I love the way this photo moves…the clouds, the reeds, and even the water seem to be pulling us all toward the final light, as if we can each reach out and grasp that last glimmer, too…knowing it can sustain us through the dark night as we anticipate the breaking of the morning sun. Although cropped down to fit the card, this photo is actually a panorama, stitched together from multiple shots. The hill in the distance and the buoy in the water is the same between the two photos, but look much more distant in this one.