Shoot any sunset
Hi there! It’s me, Dave Williams, coming at you again this #TravelTuesday at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider. I’ve just returned home from a Stateside mission and returned to a rather gloomy London Town, and I’m a little exhausted from the adventure and the jet lag so massive apologies for posting so late today! I have a little nugget of wisdom though, so I hope it’s worth it for you all. It’s a little tip which I’ve learned from many times on my journey as a travel photographer, and it’s the result of anticipation, climax, anticlimax, and reward! I had this experience again just a few days ago, so I’ll share it through that story to show you why I’m saying what I’m saying.
So, I was in Rhode Island and went to meet up with Kaylee Greer for an awesome adventure. I headed to Kaylee’s place and before we went out I was lucky enough to have my portrait shot by Sam Haddix, which I can’t wait to see! We were all discussing where to go and what to do, which ended up being the Cliff Walk near Newport, RI. The plan was to be there for sunset but you may have sensed already by the words I chose to use there that we weren’t! As is so often the case in the world of travel photography, things change. They may go wrong, they may be somehow cancelled, they may just not be achievable. In this case it was the latter.
Kaylee and I were in Newport having a little explore around the shops there. We had about 4 hours until sunset and everything was in sight. But then it started to go wrong. Right then I saw a postcard stand outside one of the souvenir stores and I was explaining to Kaylee: –
Whenever you go to a new place, one of the best sources of inspiration for shots is the local postcards
And right then I saw something awesome. I had been looking online for the local lighthouses during my entire trip, but right there on one of the postcards was an awesome looking lighthouse on a rocky outcrop, surrounded by azure blue water with waves breaking all around it. I had to shoot it myself! Out came Google Maps and I found the lighthouse, probably 1/4 mile offshore. The problem then became real. That lighthouse was an hour away. Things in the plan were starting to change. Determined to shoot the lighthouse and get back to the Cliff Walk for sunset, we pressed on!
That little lighthouse shoot took longer than anticipated, with a drone battery change required and a few other nice little scenes noticed and shot, which meant that getting back to the Cliff Walk was going to be tight if indeed it happened at all. Turns out it didn’t! But here’s the thing. The intention to shoot the Cliff Walk as the sunset shoot was now flipped out completely, which for me would once have ended up with me in somewhat of a sulk, stubbornly refusing to do anything else in my determination to get there despite knowing full well that I wouldn’t. The moral of the story is this: –
Whenever and wherever you get a sunset, shoot it right there!
A golden hour opportunity is often too good to waste. In this case we were totally in the wrong place according to the plan, but when the sun started to change the light of the entire sky we just stopped in the first ‘slightly nice’ place we saw, which turned out to be a little marina in Tiverton, RI. The change in light made what would likely have been a mediocre scene change into something else. Something worth shooting. Certainly something worth shooting rather than risking shooting nothing by driving on and arriving in the dark, or by stubbornly not shooting anything because the plan had changed! A sunset, wherever it may be, is often worth shooting for either the practice, or for getting a sky to switch out in another photo, or just for the experience of watching another day come to a beautiful close. Us photographers can so often be such a stubborn breed, so don’t let that get in the way of an opportunity!
Many thanks to Kaylee for putting up with me for the day and for sharing that sunset!
Dave (and Kaylee)