A Photographer’s Guilty Pleasures: Sunsets and Flowers

Not too long ago I wrote a post about how I took a photography class where we were encouraged to move out of our creative comfort zones and photograph something other than sunsets and flowers, but goshdarnit if I don’t love photographing both of those subjects when I travel. At home during the day-to-day routine I might glance out the window at the sunset and enjoy the view, or arrange a lovely bouquet of flowers on our dining room table, but I won’t usually bother to grab my camera. On travel though, the extra leisure time inspires me to go ahead and make an image. So, cheesy guilty pleasure or not, here are a few beloved images from our travels.

This first image is one of my most favorite sunset photos ever – I love the dramatic sky! I took the image from the ship’s deck on our cruise to Alaska.

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Tortola had some of the most amazing sunsets we’ve ever seen, and it helped that in addition to all of the stunning views we had from local restaurants, we were treated to mesmerizing displays of color every night from our villa.

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This next one is an iPhone shot from a restaurant called Over the Edge in Grand Cayman.

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In fact, a lot of my sunset photos end up being iPhone images because it’s the camera I usually have with me! The top two are from Florida and West Virginia, and the bottom two are from right here at home in Virginia.

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Getting a sunset photo during the late summer in Iceland means waiting it out a little longer for the sun to go down – the image below of the sun slipping behind a glacier at Jökulsárlón was taken at almost 9pm. On the longest day of summer, the sun doesn’t even set until Midnight!

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This one from Hawaii always makes me laugh. A stranger on the beach sweetly offered to take our photo and I handed him my SLR even though I knew the image wouldn’t turn out since I didn’t have my flash with me. I still really like this photo anyway!

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This last one isn’t a sunset – it’s actually the first sliver of a sunrise as seen from the plane before landing in Iceland! I’m almost never up and at ’em to see a sunrise, but I will make it a point to do so someday.

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As for flowers, sometimes they’re part of the story I’m trying to tell about the places I visit like these market flowers in Italy, for instance.

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And in Alaska, Chris and I took a road trip from Seward to Anchorage where we saw these arctic lupines that filled huge fields everywhere. The allure of a road trip for me is always the convenience of pulling over every time I see something I’d like to photograph – even if it’s just some flowers!

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These two photos are from the garden at my parents’ house in Colorado. The garden makes a perfect spot for bees and hummingbirds to call home, and a good place for me to poke around with my camera.

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When we were in Grand Cayman in April, surprisingly not a lot was in bloom at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park (I think the popular orchid exhibit is in March), but I did spot this water lily.

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Hawaii, as expected, had gorgeous hibiscus flowers and leis both times we visited Oahu.

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And I always find such brightly colored tropical blossoms in St. John.

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Last but not at all least, I had to try a little harder to find some flowers while we were in Iceland. There weren’t many, but I did find a few!

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So there you have it. Perhaps they’re cliche subjects to have in front of my camera, but I love them and will shamelessly continue to include sunsets and flowers as part of my travel photography. If photographing them is wrong, then I don’t want to be right! Then again, there’s always my obsession with photographing doors, but perhaps that’s for another post on another day.

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