Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sunset in Search of a Foreground

Looking for something to put in front of that sunset

Sunset in Search of a Foreground

I love sunsets.

But I often feel as though I'm mostly looking at them through my windshield or rear view mirror. I always want desperately to make a picture, and find myself frantically scanning the horizon for something interesting to place in the foreground.

Last night I was leaving an assignment (a neighborhood sewage dispute in NJ) when the storm clouds started breaking up and a real live sunset began to materialize.

I could tell it wasn't going to last too long, so pulled over into a strip mall.

Seeing big sky sunrises and sunsets during drives on open highway in the West, my mind would sometimes wander and I’d wonder if the local photographers had huge galleries of beautiful sunsets behind saguaro cacti, riders on horseback, windmills, old farmhouses, saguaro cactus, grain elevators or bristlecone pines.

Maybe this is just a case of the grass always being greener. I wonder if photographers out in the country wish they could photograph sunsets with fast-food chain neon signs, water towers, razor wire fences, billboards, utility poles, or elevated train lines silhouetted in the foreground?

Inquirer Staff Photographer
About this blog

Tom Gralish is a general assignment photographer at The Inquirer, concentrating on local news and self-generated feature photos.

He has been at the paper since 1983, photographing everything from revolution in the Philippines to George W. Bush’s road to the White House to homeless people living on the street right outside his newspaper's front door. For his photo essay on Philadelphia’s homeless, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Award.

His weekly newspaper column, "Scene Through the Lens," takes a look at Philadelphia's urban landscape.

Gralish, along with Inquirer colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Vitez, spent a year visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art to capture the stories and photos of "Rocky runners" who come from all over the world to climb the steps - just as Sylvester Stallone did in the Academy Award winning film, Rocky. Their book, Rocky Stories: Tales of Love, Hope and Happiness at America’s Most Famous Steps, was published in November 2006.

Reach Tom at

Tom Gralish Inquirer Staff Photographer
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