HDR sunset photo with beaming crepuscular rays.

Ray of Hope

HDR sunset photo with beaming crepuscular rays.
Ray of Hope — 14mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 7 Bracketed Exposures

Much needed rain falls and here I sit content at my computer hammering out a post for a photograph I made last night. It was only yesterday happenstance and convenience brought me to Harvey Cedars Sunset Park after an art show at Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences. You see it was only two days ago I learned I had a photo in an art show, and it was only yesterday I learned said art show’s opening was set to take place only hours later. Considering my recovery attendance was hardly mandatory, but in my own head it would be welcome. Feeling well enough and eager to get out of the house I made my way.

The evening went on well enough. Finely dressed LBIF patrons donning pastel polos, flowing linens while strapped in sandals with casually done up hair and designer sunglasses milled about the main gallery. Seasoned veterans of art and culture made purposeful gazes and meaningful nods while doling out learned platitudes toward many of the pieces on display. Trapped in my own ignorance I was just there for the food—and was wearing a polo of my own. Before me a fine spread of items I can’t pronounce, ingredients I don’t understand, and elaborate skewers contorted into the most circuitous of shapes. I supposed that’s one way to cut down on the speed with which one eats? This offered quite a juxtaposition to the Coors Light bottles posted on the table’s right flank. Perhaps a purposeful dichotomy? Or is safer to assume one cannot get through an art show without a touch of irony?

After the show’s juror said some kind words toward a few of the real standout pieces, things really got serious as the evening made a welcomed pivot to a Pokémon GO gym takedown. My first such battle. With our Team Valor ranks full we made our stand and usurped power from the gym perviously held by Team Mystic. I didn’t know what the hell was going on as I fervently tapped the screen but we won, and maybe I’ve at least made it sound cool? OK, no? Moving on…

With the digital madness behind us I made my next pivot of the evening to the cloud structure and crepuscular rays fanning out across the marsh behind the Foundation. Clearly it was time to go for the camera. For the next 20 minutes or so I put the 35mm to work at LBIF. Golden hour was peaking but my muse turned toward sunset—my inescapable mistress. Knowing Harvey Cedars Sunset Park was but a few miles south I declared my intentions to my friends, my clan, my Team Valor, and made my egress and turned toward the park. Sunset was now the name of the game.

As I walked out to the jetty rock I set up shop with tripod and camera. The park was well attended—as it should be on a stellar summer evening—and many folks were set about the benches to take in the day’s last goodbye with friends and loved ones. Almost immediately I was joined by a mother-daughter combo making photos on their iPhones. They noted my gear and ostensible seriousness which always makes me a touch self-conscious as I feel it ups expectations of my photo output. Admittedly this is most likely self-conscious me overthinking an otherwise benign situation. Not long after I was joined by my Team Valor patriots and we went about our time spending the next half hour taking in a glorious Saturday evening in August. With my health in flux these past few months the calming scene and beaming sunset rays filled me with a wellspring of hope for the future.

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