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“Cotton Candy” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (shutter speed: ¼, ISO: 100)

Cotton Candy Sunset

Finding pink when zooming into the horizon

I recently bought my wife a 500mm f/8 manual telephoto lens, for her birthday. She is big on photographing the moon with her Pixel phone — but computational photography can only get you so far. She has been enjoying her moonshots with the telephoto.

“But then, why just the moon?” I asked myself.

And so, I took the telephoto lens and pointed it at a sunset.

The camera’s vantage. Shot this with my iPhone 12 mini.

In the picture above I show where the telephoto lens is pointed at. It is a lovely picture of an orange sunset. I specifically focused on the cropped region that I show below.

Cropped section of the photo above. I focused on the horizons on the right and left of the tree, with the telephoto lens.

When I shot the views of the orange horizon (to the left and right of the tree) I found an unexpected color. Instead of more orange, I found pink.

On your Right

The opening photograph of this story — “Cotton Candy” — is what I captured from the right side of the horizon. I never expected pink.

I shot the remaining photos of those clouds in quick succession while only lowering the shutter speed from ¼ in “Cotton Candy”, to ¹⁄₁₆ in “Dark Pink” below. I maintained ISO at 100.

The ever-darkening shades of pink were beautiful.

“Pink Streams” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (Shutter Speed: ⅕, ISO: 100)
“Dirty Pink” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (shutter speed: ⅛, ISO: 100)
“Dark Pink” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (Shutter speed: ¹⁄₁₆ ISO: 100)

On your Left

By the time I panned the camera to the left, the sun was setting quickly. I reset the shutter speed to capture the last bits of fading light and caught a clear, sharp view of a pole of some sort — almost like a sentry standing its post, guarding the hilltop — against some wispy, pink clouds.

“Pole against the Pink” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (Shutter Speed: ⅛, ISO: 100)
“Pink Silhouettes” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (Shutter Speed: ¹⁄₁₅, ISO: 100, 6:19:04pm)
“The Pole Wins” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (Shutter Speed: ¹⁄₁₅, ISO: 100, 6:19:39pm)

This telephoto lens taught me something about color: there is more to colors in nature than meets the eye.

Also, computational photography from our iPhones and Pixels hold no candle to the power of a well-built, manual, telephoto lens. 🔭



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