TSBTS #1 - John on a dam at sunset

Here's the first post in a series where I'm going to cover the back story on some of the photographs I've snapped.  I'm calling it "The Story Behind The Shot" or TSBTS.  I barely qualify as an amateur photographer, but I do enjoy it, and there's some interesting stories behind some of the shots I've taken.

This shot started with the lens that I had rented for the weekend. I needed a wide angle lens to use for photographing some real estate, so I rented a Canon EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 from prophotorental.com for the weekend.  (By the way, their service was wonderful, definitely recommend them).  With the wide angle lens, I was also hoping to catch some long exposure star trails overnight, but unfortunately, it was a full moon all weekend, so there was no possibility that I could get anything good with that much light pollution.  Driving home from work on Friday night, where I knew the lens was waiting for me on the doorstep, there were some beautiful colors in the sky right around dusk.  Seeing these colors was what triggered the idea to take some sunset shots the next day Saturday out in Marsh Creek State Park.  Fast forward 24 hours.  I took my two best buds, John and Gunner, out into the park.  There's a earth dam in the south west corner of the man made lake that would provide some big views of the lake and the sky that would be great right at sunset.  It was about a 3 mile hike away, and with John in tow in the backpack carrier, I needed to leave extra time to get there and setup.

Once we were in place for the shot, I took a couple practice shots with my favorite subjects.  I knew I wanted to ultimately get a good shot of at least John, and if possible, include Gunner.  These guys can't sit still.  As a result, I needed to keep a high shutter rate so the subjects wouldn't be blurred as they would inevitably be moving around.  Additionally, I wanted a fairly deep field of focus so the full landscape would appear in focus, that means stopping down (increasing the F-stop number) and thus reducing the amount of light getting to the sensor.  This left me at 6400 ISO.

Right as the sun was about to go down behind the trees, I got John all setup, and grabbed what I'm calling a near-perfect shot.  The dam road provides a nice line to the sunset, and John is right in front smiling.  The weather could have cooperated better, I wasn't impressed with the light cloud cover that prevented those bold colors that I saw the night before.

Here's some outtakes: