Sunset over Jost Van Dyke

Within my photographic adventuring, I photograph a lot of sunsets. They are the time of the day where the world is typically most vibrant, and I particularly love how their intensity grows rather than retracts as it does during sunrise.

Its a time of day that I try to stay keenly aware of, as they are something that take form with changing conditions and when the atmosphere aligns just right, they cast our landscapes in profoundly beautiful lighting conditions. The sunsets in the British Virgin Islands like this scene below rarely disappoint. They are a landscape that is particularly perfect for sunset conditions, as the remote islands and vast oceans add a lot of character to the stunning scenery. Jost Van Dyke, the little island off in the distance within this scene, was nested perfectly within this scene as a vibrant sunset cast its painterly warmth upon the island setting on this Caribbean evening.

A vibrant sunset over Jost Van Dyke seen from Cane Garden Bay on Tortola. (Michael J. Clarke)
A vibrant sunset over Jost Van Dyke seen from Cane Garden Bay on Tortola. (Michael J. Clarke)

Sunset Lines

They say that straight lines are hard to find in nature, and as a general concept it is certainly true. However, one of my favorite linear formations is the resoundingly beautiful straight line of the horizon. No matter where we stand, the horizon represents a perfect separation between the ground we walk upon and the endless sky that we look up and glance towards. This division is profound, and came together in a beautiful fashion during this sunset that I photographed from New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA.

Sunset at New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA. (Michael J. Clarke)
Sunset at New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA. (Michael J. Clarke)

Downtown in the Cold

When I work making pictures of the Boston skyline, there are often two different thoughts I bring into visualizing and executing the work. One is to photograph the recognizable scenes that people know and relate two, and the second is to tackle uniqueness and making a picture that provokes consideration and thought.

To bring some unique artistry into my skyline photography, something I often do is isolate sections of the city while glowing with pristine light. This print of the downtown skyline seen from south of the city does that well, and is a view of the city that many people don’t often think of or recognize.

A cold weather view of the downtown Boston skyline. (Michael J. Clarke)
A cold weather view of the downtown Boston skyline. (Michael J. Clarke)

These are the skyscrapers of Downtown Boston and the Financial District on a cold and clear winter night. While Boston is often not recognized for its size in comparison with New York, the city does have quite a bit of vertical strength that can be seen and shown from the right views. In addition to being a different spot than most people view the skyline from, the crisp winter air and last bits of evening sunset that illuminate this frame provide a magical glow to the towers as they rest above the brownstones of the South End.

Sometimes within the realm of cityscape artwork its the unique and lesser known spots that can provoke the most thought and wonder when displaying an urban environment as a piece of artwork, and its for that reason that I work on all different view of the urban landscape throughout many different times of the year as well as weather conditions.

Seascapes and Simplicity

Straight lines can be a challenge to find in nature at times as most things in the outdoor world tend to curve naturally and flow with their own character. However, they exist in abundance and are often-times just a matter of perception. When found and displayed, lines are some of the most powerful features of simplistic landscape photography, and lead our minds towards imaginative wonder and perpetual visual interest in the scene.

The flat line of the horizon is perhaps the most perfect linear form that we recognize in the natural world. It’s easy to see how at one time it influenced people to believe that the world was flat, and even in modern times it leads us to wonder what is just beyond that edge… just beyond what we can make out with out own eyes.

Sunset at New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA. (Michael J. Clarke)
Sunset at New Silver Beach in North Falmouth, MA. (Michael J. Clarke)

This perfectly empty sunset seascape at Cape Cod’s New Silver beach was a chance to display the awesome character of the horizon, and it’s forceful separation between the water below and the sky above. I mixed in the element of time to give the picture an even more etherial feel, and to allow the mixing swirl of the water and clouds to blend in the same motions and patterns as we see their eternal motion. This picture and print was simple throughout the entire process, and its simplicity is what makes the scene so powerful.

 

Sunset Season in Boston

One of the most magical times in both cityscape and landscape photography is the golden window of moments at the end of day when the sun tucks below the horizon and basks our turf with magical colors and hues that strike our imaginations with wonder and awe.

Boston is a city that is particularly well suited for different angles of the setting sun, and its one of the elements of the local area that keeps me from ever tiring while photographing its changing conditions. While they are neat throughout the year, the short window of time in the winter months where the shifted angle of the sun combines with the shortest days of the year creates the month-long display of color from certain angles that I refer to as Sunset Season.

A glowing autumn sunset over Boston's Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)
A glowing autumn sunset over Boston’s Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)

It is more than just strong color that makes this time of year the best for sunset work – the early sunset times mean that people are still working inside the buildings and skyscrapers, and that means that the lights stay on as daytime turns to darkness, and for a photographer like me, that is a much welcomed change when compared to the rest of the year.

Layers of offices inside Boston's Hancock Tower. (Michael J. Clarke)
Layers of offices inside Boston’s Hancock Tower. (Michael J. Clarke)

These past few weeks have already brought some dazzling displays of evening light as the making of city artwork heads towards 2016. There will be a few more weeks where the short days mix with the glorious light from these angles, and I will surely be ready as the visual fireworks cast their light over the city.

A late-autumn sunset over Boston's Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)
A late-autumn sunset over Boston’s Back Bay. (Michael J. Clarke)