Every time I see the sun in all its warm, full-bodied glory, I want to photograph it. But without a bunch of ND filters and a lot of gear preparedness, I try the shot and end up with a splatter of white in the frame. What I look for then is something to put in front of the sun, to block it and deliver a resulting silhouette at the same time. This is almost as rewarding, and is definitely more dramatic.
Yuma, where I’ve been lucky enough to spend few days each winter for the past few years, has given up some great images. Each time I visit I come away with something new. Something about the thin, warm air and quality of mid-winter light, especially at sunrise or sundown, that brings out the best photos.
These photos are all handheld, with only a CIR POL filter in place. I shoot in RAW exclusively, and tweak in Pshop. In the vertical-oriented cactus shot, you can see a good level of detail in the cactus needles. I chose to not darken the shot (levels or curves adjustment) because I like the texture the extra detail provides.