Sunset Over Lake Hamilton

While on vacation, I had the chance to sit on the balcony and watch the sunset a few times. On one particular evening I could see the sun streaking across the water under a highway bridge and I thought it might make a nice picture.

My first attempt had the sun sitting just on top of the bridge. I had a 10-stop ND filter on the lens and the camera on a tripod to get a long exposure to remove the boats and smooth out the water. I also ended up making multiple exposures incase I wanted to do an HDR merge. The long exposure really helped to define the sun’s reflection across the water. The image below is the HDR merge of four exposures with the ND filter (4s, 8s, 15s, and 30s). The clouds are a little bit smeared as well.

Sunset over Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs Arkansas in HDR
Nikon D750 + 16-35, f/4; 29mm, f/16, 4-30s, ISO100

This merge turned out well I think. The sun’s reflection across the water really shows up well and the boats don’t show up. The sun was so bright that none of my individual exposures looked good at all, so I think HDR works well in this case.

The next thing I tried was to get the sun streaking across the water with the sun behind the bridge so that you only see the reflection of the sun. I had to do this without the ND filter as the sun was not going to stay behind the bridge very long. But this worked as I really just wanted the bridge silhouetted anyway. The below picture has the sun just behind the highway bridge.

Sunset at Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs Arkansas
Nikon D750 + 16-35mm, f/4; 29mm, f/11, 4s, ISO100

You can see the boats that I was working to filter out with the long exposures and the reflection of the sun in the water is not as well defined. But the colors are nice and everything else is just a silhouette.

There was also an interesting towering cloud across the water to the North and it was catching all of the warm light from the setting sun, so I took a shot or two of this.

Sunset clouds over Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs Arkansas
Nikon D750 + 16-35mm, f/4; 35mm, f/8, 1/60s, ISO100

In hindsight, a long exposure may have been better with this photo get the orange light better defined in the water, but the cloud would have probably looked a bit blurry. On the horizon on the right side of the photo you can just see the observation tower at the National Park where I went later in the week, so more on that later.

When I got to this place, I was initially a bit disappointed at having the highway bridge right across my horizon, but I tried to get some good photos anyway. I think that the silhouette of the bridge actually doesn’t look bad with a sunset behind it. That with the boat docks, and the long reflection of the sun give the pictures a look of relaxation and fun.

Thanks for reading and leave a comment below.

5 thoughts on “Sunset Over Lake Hamilton

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