The Perfect Sunset

It doesn't get much better than this!
It doesn’t get much better than this!
Perfect reflections at low tide
Perfect reflections at low tide

It’s not often that I get to photograph the perfect sunset. You see nature has a way of conspiring so these things rarely happen, which is exactly why they’re so very precious. A rather unique confluence of events has to unfold at exactly the right time & exactly the right conditions -> you want some clouds which are just so, not too straight and not too thick, but with some interesting texture to make the background…you want light and color-play so the angles work out just right to where sun’s last light will curve & erupt into brilliant reds & oranges…you want some foreground action, preferably natural features (for perspective)….and believe it or not sometimes you even want haze since it gives those reds a more impressive hue. Most of all you don’t want dense fog and you don’t want purely clear skies either.

It almost never happens…

I’ve been planning the perfect sunset for months, something every photographer does of course. I sit on my lazy backside on the couch after a hard day at “work” and dream of the event, imagining myself on the beach at just the right time and just the right moment snapping shot after effortless shot. Of course getting from said couch to said place at said time rarely ever happens. So, I merely imagine the possibility and plan that tomorrow will be the day…

Good thing I have friends, locals in the know if you will, who have a gut feel for when such perfect times will emerge. And even better they have the persuasion to get me off my butt and get out there. So, when Gunta finally convinced me to get out for a sunset shoot-out I was happy to tag along. Just before 7pm Pooch and I bagged up the big camera bag, loaded in the car and headed out to the sea stacks at Coquille Point just 10 mins away for the big event.

The low sun lights up waves by the sea stacks
The low sun lights up waves by the sea stacks

Almost as soon as I arrived I knew this was the day. The suns’ colors were already running long on the beach draping a warm blanket over the our entire view. It was low tide (amazingly) which meant the sand was textured and reflective with the glorious sea stacks lit up in the foreground ready to pose for our cameras. And then the final touch…it was just a tad hazy, undoubtedly from the massive wildfires burning to the East which, sad as they are, muted the colors and gave them a deeper glow. Oh man, this was going to be good!

Last of the shimmering sun
The very last glimpse of the shimmering sun
A gull contemplates the sea
The very last shot of the day
The very last shot of the day

While Polly and Sissy chased and played on the beach, Gunta and I got “in the zone” photographing, capturing, oooohing & aaaahing at the changes in our view finders. As time passed the beach went from warm yellows to deeper oranges, highlighting each move with dramatically crashing waves amidst the stoic rocks. We walked and stopped and clicked away barely chatting over our complete absorption in the event. In the very final moments the sun shimmered deep red and sank into the ocean looking almost alive in its final goodbye, and for several minutes thereafter the sky reflected it’s passing by bursting out in a fireworks of color. What a sunset!

When I got back to the rig over 2 hours had passed and I had barely noticed it. Polly threw herself on her bed and proceeded to snore like a drunken sailor. “Is that sound coming from the dog, honey?” I plonked myself back on the couch and relived the sunset in my minds eye, thanking my lucky stars that I managed to get out and see it. ‘Twas indeed the perfect sunset and it may not happen again for a long, long time. Thank you Gunta & thank you Oregon!

P.S. Feel free to click on the pics for a larger view. Apart from some selective lightening, these pics have not been touched. All colors are original.

The last minutes of sunset

Sun peeks through the rocks
The sun peeks through the rocks

Low tide beauty
Low tide beauty

Starfish glow in late sun
Starfish glow in late sun

Reflections in sky & water
Reflections in sky & water

Textures in black and white
Textures in black and white

A bird silhouettes the waves
A bird silhouettes the waves

We weren't the only ones enjoying the view
We weren’t the only ones enjoying the view
A coupla birds on the beach
A coupla birds on the beach

Sweet reflections
Sweet reflections
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. Rainer Mueller says

    We just wrapped up a 60 day trip in our new 5th-wheel “Monte”. Before we head back to Oceanside CA (home of some great sunsets) we stopped in Monument Valley. Here’s what I captured just from the campground.

    http://bit.ly/154ugsB

    Enjoy!

  2. says

    Thanks for the Photos. Used to live in a beautiful North/South Canyon in Colorado. We did not realize when we moved there that we would no longer see sunsets or sunrises. We sometimes scheduled trips so that we made plane connections in Phoenix just so we could see the sunsets. We have added several of your locations to our bucket list trip. What camera equipment are you shooting. Am looking to buy new digital this year. I’m an old Nikon F guy and want to start taking advantage of the great digital oportunities.

    • libertatemamo says

      For the vast majority of my pics I actually use a pocket camera (Cannon S100), but for this particular shoot I got out my “big” camera which is a Nikon D7000 and 18-200VR lens. If I were to buy today I’d probably look for a full-frame camera (e.g. Nikon D700). Digital is so much fun :)
      Nina

  3. Suzanne Tate says

    EVERY one of these pics swelled my heart to bursting. Thanks for sharing! And how blessed were YOU to see them in real life.

  4. Leah says

    My wife and I have been following your very informative blog for some months now. We look forward to your stories and particularly enjoy your pictures. I worked as a professional photographer and when we “retire” in 3 years time we will be fulltiming too, travelling this wonderful country and capturing the beauty Mother Nature has to offer. We already have our rig, a 34 foot Winnebago Brave and have done some nice shake down trips (with our 4 dogs – 2 Labs and two Chihuahuas).

    Your adventures are an inspiration for us and keep us “going” on those workdays when that bright future we so crave seems far away.

    Keep those sunsets coming. Because of them, the Oregon coast has moved up our list as one of our primary destination. My wife will be sending an email to you in the near future.

    God speed and thank you again.

    Mark and Leah

  5. Patricia Darby says

    You made my day with the beauty you captured! That’s what life is all about–appreciating the beauty of life.

  6. says

    stunning pictures! Makes me want to go buy a new camera so I can get those kinds of pictures too. Oh, wait. That might not work….

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s been on and off in the campground. We had zero mosquitoes all July but then the onslaught started in August. First few weeks of Aug were terrible. Last week seemed to settle down and it seems OK right now, but I know they’ve been battling in the marsh. It’s a hotly contested item right now.
      Nina

  7. Sally says

    So, are you going to get a print of some of those? Very beautiful! I always wonder what to do with them, hate to just keep them on a PC.

  8. Liz Redfearne says

    Nina, Your pictures are absolutely beautiful and really make me feel like I’m there. I have been folowing your posts only for a couple months but really am enjoying them. I am a graphic designer and wanna-be photographer so really appreciate your tips and input. Thanks for sharing.   Liz

  9. KevinT says

    Great fun. As often as I can, I try to take a sunset pic on the last day of the year (New Year’s Eve)–wherever I am, whatever the conditions. I wish I had the oomph to follow up with a sunrise pic the next morning to start the year but rining in the new year always leaves me sleeping in a little. Each year we put the year’s pictures in an album and the last page is that year’s final sunset.

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