Work with what you got

Wispy cirrus clouds shaded in pink pastels mark the sky over Barnegat Bay in this wide angle HDR photograph taken just after sunset in Surf City, New Jersey.
Work with what you got — 14mm | f/8 | ISO 100 | 7 Bracketed Exposures

You’re always rolling the dice when the time comes to pick your sunset photo spot; balancing time, travel distance, cloud cover/formation and the look you’re trying to achieve. Some days the decision is clear. Others? Not so much.

This day I decided on Sunset Park in Surf City with no hesitation. I opted to head to LBI’s bayside to enjoy both the views and the warming weather. Freshly full of chicken parmesan I was as sated as I was ready. Or so I thought.

From the get-go I had an uneasy time finding a composition would inspire. This coupled with paranoia that this sky, like so many skies before it, was not going to color up had me ready to throw in the towel. But since I seem to have a thing for foreground rocks from this location, I locked in my tripod and began to wait (re: hope).

With an about face I took a look eastward; out over the houses and toward the ocean. What I watched unfold over the next 10 minutes was equal parts excitement and misery. The evening sky to the east, running against even the most sound intuition, exploded in array of pastel color that sets light chasers like me into a tizzy. And there was nothing I could do about it. Here I was locked in, laying in the bed I made. And while the sky still colored up nicely in its more traditional westward direction, it didn’t come close to drama that happened right behind by back.





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