If you pay attention, there’s a great light show going on somewhere nearby at virtually any time of the day or night.

Realizing this fact and coming to appreciate light of all types is, on my view, one of the keys to improving skill as a photographer.

Sometimes it’s easy to capture the amazing light that’s all around all the time. At other times, not so much.

I see this sight most weekends (I leave too early in the morning to see it during the week), and I’ve tried to capture it multiple times, but I can’t seem to get it just right.

First, I’m usually on my way to go do something when I notice this light. It’s right outside my front door, and all I have to do is open the blinds and look out, but I usually don’t open the blinds until after 8 or 9 am, if at all. And so I only ever see it when I’m headed out somewhere, and I don’t take the time adjust settings manually or even play with exposure compensation or exposure locking, if I even bother to pull out the camera at all.

Second, I have yet to find a spot where everything lines up just right. (It doesn’t help that this apartment complex is 50+ years old, and a bit out of square… and the big black fountain in the center of the courtyard doesn’t help much either.)

Third, it would help if I had taken the time to check the focus… I thought I had it, but I didn’t really.

So there are two lessons I need to learn from this (at least): 1) Take Your Time, James! Check your settings, adjust your focus, and don’t be in such a hurry! and 2) move around more! If it looks good from here, it probably looks pretty good from over there too!

Actually, I’m usually pretty good about the second, but only when I attend to the first.

D7000. Nikkor 24mm f/2.8. ISO100, 1/30 (AP Mode), f/5.6, -1EV, very minor adjustments in Aperture.

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