Venus, the Goddess of Love
Sometimes called the evening star, Venus is one of the brightest things in the sky. In fact, only the sun and the moon are appear brighter. Since the orbit of Venus is smaller than the earth, it always appears near the sun. As it approaches the points in its orbit where it appears furthest away from the sun, it is the first "star" that appears in the night sky, or the last to disappear before sunrise, depending on witch side of the sun it is on.
Currently Venus is the up in the evening for an hour or two after the sun sets. It will soon reach its greatest elongation, and start moving closer and closer to the sun. In June Venus will pass directly between the earth and the sun, an event next occurring in 2117.
For the photo I used a half second exposure at f/4.0 and ISO 400. The view is to the WSW over the Strait of Juan de Fuca at about 6:45pm on the 15th of January this year.