Last week I headed down to Southern California to relax, surf and photograph for a week. The weather was all over the place. I had a hard time catching a window of really good light until, finally, I was rewarded with a 5 minute window one evening in La Jolla.
"Sunset at the Cove"
A few hours before sunset I was wandering around on the coast scouting a possible location for a good shot. The skies were completely overcast and I wasn't holding my breath for any sort of dramatic lighting. About 30 minutes before sunset the clouds started to break up with the sun popping out in small increments. I scrambled to get my gear out and headed for a location I looked at earlier. When I arrived I knew my opportunity for a good photograph was very limited — the sun was almost about to dip below the horizon.
The lighting was very dramatic and it required me use a 3 stop and a 1 stop Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filter to account for the full dynamic range of the scene. I also switched to my wide angle lens and used a vertical format so I could capture the beautiful purple flowers in the foreground. Lastly I stopped my lens down to f 22 to create the star burst effect on the sun. After taking 10 photographs the light was gone and that was it.
With patience and a little luck I was able to come away with an image that I am very happy with.