This summer I made time to just go for a walk. I went down Rome Point, nice and close to home, and brought my DSLR with me. I didn't know what I would find, what I would shoot, only that it was a beautiful day and golden hour was approaching.
I came to the beach and walked south, then further south, and soon I was almost at Plum Beach. The rocky shore of Rome Point became slightly sandier, and I found a small pond and marsh covered in dune grass and bright purple thistles in bloom!
When I was a kid I always confused thistles and clovers. They're both little fireworks of purple wildflower, but now I can easily tell the difference. Some of these thistles were up to my waist in height, and as the sun sank lower I saw my shot approaching!
I love shooting into the sun. The warm backlight of golden hour gives an aesthetic like no other! Technically it can be difficult to get a proper exposure. Depending on the strength of the lighting, sometimes Matrix Metering and Aperture Priority with a slight bump down in my Exposure Compensation does the trick. Other times I have to Spot Meter in Manual, or keep my Aperture Priority with up to -1 Exposure Compensation. The goal is to expose for the subject and get just a little bit of tone in those highlights, but sometimes you just have to let the highlights go and some of the sky will blow out. I like a brighter look and feel anyway.
I didn't walk away when I was done photographing the thistles. I had also brought my tripod, and setup in the dusk light for some abstracts. The pond I was standing at had a tidal inlet where the bay water flowed in and out. I could stand on one bank and face the bay, and still see some dune grass on the opposite bank. Compared to all my previous abstracts, this meant I had something green to photograph! I started playing and the pop of color was terrific! Now I was done for the day.