Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #138: Natural Light

This week’s challenge allows us amateur photographers without all that fancy indoor lighting setup to shine.  Literally!  Living in a place surrounded by bodies of water lends itself to taking pictures of sunlight glinting off the water.  I have always liked the sparkles generated by the Sun on moving water.  It almost makes the water seem magical.


This is San Francisco Bay in July of 2018, from the deck of our cruise ship on the way to Hawaii.


Almost to Hawaii.  This container ship almost looks like a ghost, traveling on the steely-looking water.  Reflecting the gray sky, the water too looks gray.  I have a confession to make-it was only a few years ago that I finally figured out that the color of the water reflects the color of the sky.  And I have lived all my life in the Seattle area!

On that cruise to Hawaii, we did see some pretty dramatic skies and sunsets.  We went to one of the ship’s restaurants that was at the stern of the ship.  It looked like there was a lid on the world, and the sun was just peeking through the gap between the clouds and the water, before the clouds took over.


When we left Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii, we left just at twilight.  The naturalist aboard told us that the clouds we were seeing were not all clouds, but “steam” generated by the erupting volcano on the opposite side of the island.  They called it “Vog”, or Volcano Fog.

Then, once we got to the other side of the island, the erupting volcano created its own natural light.

Indoors, it’s windows that let in the natural light.  I am always pleased when there’s enough natural light that I can take pictures without flash.  When we went to Hillsdale College for their 175th anniversary, and dedication of the new chapel, I got some very nice shots of the simple, but elegant, ceiling and windows.  The soft light was just perfect.

Living in the West, we get some pretty dramatic skies.  This is the Rockies in Colorado.

Mountains and Clouds

In 2010, we drove cross-country to Michigan.  In Iowa, we literally outran a thunderstorm.  This is the most ominous sky I think I have ever seen, and it’s remarkable how defined the edge of that storm was.  We just tried to stay in the sunshine.

Outrunning thunderstorm in Iowa

Here in the Puget Sound area, we get a fair amount of rain (and no, it does not rain all the time).  That, of course, means clouds, and sometimes we can see the rain falling on someone else!

Taken from the deck of a Washington State Ferry going west on Puget Sound, you can see that the people on the Kitsap Peninsula are getting rained-on.  By the time we arrived, the sun was already coming out.

When we went to California recently, we just had to go visit the Santa Monica Pier.  We arrived just before sunset.

Just this afternoon, in the natural light in the back yard, I was able to capture some of our favorite backyard visitors.

That’s our Pine Siskin.

And one of our male Juncos.  We have a huge flock of those Juncos, and they are getting pretty rambunctious, chasing each other all around the yard.

Oh, yes, I also love to take pictures from an airplane, by the natural light of the sun, with the clouds below instead of above!

Sunset above the clouds

And our closest body of water, Silver Lake, looks pretty at just before sundown in the winter natural light.

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