Photography rule #648: be adaptable.
Photography rule #648a: be fast—with your adaptability and your feet.
In photography as it is with life, it’s always good to have a plan. Not just for the structure, but more for the mindset it creates. A mindset that has us thinking about our craft long before and long after we’re out in the field executing. Through the iteration our work becomes better and more our own. And our hairs grow grayer, too!
Last night’s plan was all about heading south to Great Bay Boulevard to make the most of an ideal late afternoon cloud setup coupled with a perfectly timed low tide. Things were looking up!
My buddy and I arrived on scene about an hour before sundown and everything looked great. After scouting a composition the minutes passed and the sky grew more bleak. Figures. Low level clouds made their way in, draping the southwestern horizon. Things went from good to bad in the span of 20 minutes, and this sunset, like many before before it, had bust written all over it.
6:50 p.m. About five minutes past sunset. Nothing but blues and grays. No color in sight.
Then Jon calls over, “check out over there.” I look to the northwest over my right shoulder to spot Jon’s finger pointing off along the horizon. A lone jet of pink streaking across the western horizon off toward the north. Perplexed I kinda stood there for a minute or two more amazed than anything else.
6:55 p.m. Ten minutes past sundown. The pink is growing.
Things are escalating quickly. The northwestern sky is lighting up pink and it’s spreading quickly. Too bad it’s spreading nowhere near my shot. All the color stayed to the northwest, a real oddity for sunset light.
At this moment I knew I had to move. And fast. Decisively I scooped my tripod, camera fixed to its head, and began a 200m sprint toward the bayside beach. Running like a soldier with a rifle, I had my setup cradled and moved as quick as my 32 year old wheels would allow. I can still pick ’em up and lay ’em down.
Knowing I had no more than five minutes of color left (max!) I arrived to the bay beach. I looked left. I looked right. I Spotted some neat driftwood and knew that was my foreground. It’s not like I had time to explore other options. Above is the shot I exposed. Who the hell needs a plan anyway?