Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Capturing storm clouds over the city with the Fuji X-T1, 18-135mm and 10-24mm zooms.

Sunset in New York last night occurred at 8:21PM.  About a half hour prior to that voluminous storm clouds passed overhead and were lit in high contrast by the low, setting sun. This was followed by a clearing sky, all of which made for some dramatic patterns of light and color in the sky.

Below is a sequence of photos I took over a 45 minute period as the storm clouds passed overhead, and then moved off to the east leaving the setting sun to peek out beneath the cloud cover long enough to add some color to the clouds. I usually say you have about a 30 minute period to capture a sunset -- 15 minutes before, and 15 minutes after the actual sunset. This series of images shows the changes that can occur in that half hour period.

The camera was a Fuji X-T1 with both the 18-135mm and 10-24mm zooms. I wanted to emphasize the sky with the city small beneath it so all of the shots were taken in a wide angle range. This enabled me to include the upper part of the sky. Once again, the new 4.0 firmware update proved itself by being able to focus on the clouds, something the X-T1 was unable to do prior to the update.

Rather than using a cable release, I decided to control the camera wirelessly with the Fuji Remote App on my smart phone. I find the Fuji remote software to be the best I have used for remote control from a smart phone or tablet. It is very easy to change the focus spot, and the software provides control over the most important features of the camera.

This is when the clouds first rolled over the city a half hour before sunset time.  Looked like it might rain, but it didn't. and the stormy part of the clouds moved off quickly to the east. There wasn't much color at this point and the clouds stood out in high contrast so I decided to capture the scene in black and white. 

Shortly after taking the top photo, the sky in the west began to show some clearing. In this shot I wanted to capture the tower of the Empire State Building dividing the sky into stormy and clearing. 

This photo of lower Manhattan and the Financial District of Jersey City was taken right around the time of sunset and the red rays of the setting sun lit up some of the clouds to the south of the city.

Ten minutes after the sunset the upper clouds lost their color and turned the typical twilight blue. Some reddish sunset color remained on the horizon in contrast to the blue so you can see the rain coming from the distant clouds. 

About 15 minutes after sunset only a fading twilight remained to light the sky above the clouds resulting in a brief contrast to set off the shape of the darkening clouds. 

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