Trying to be in the right place at the right time to get the best of the available light has to be one of the most frustrating, but most rewarding challenges for a landscape photographer, and this shot was one of those times when everything came together!
I’d been watching the weather through the day, as the forecast suggested it might start to clear in the evening, and about an hour before sunset there were some small clear patches on the western horizon, so I jumped in the car and headed out to see what I could get. It’s been a while since I’ve been to one of my favourite locations, Juniper Point in Lighthouse Park, and as that has a good view of the setting sun at this time of year, I figured I’d take the opportunity to revisit it and see what I could get.
As I arrived at the park and started walking to Juniper Point, things didn’t look very good — indeed, it was so dark and overcast I was almost reaching for my flashlight to see the path clearly under the shadow of the trees! The breaks in the cloud that had seemed so prevalent when I’d left home appeared to have completely disappeared. I reached the point, with the Juniper tree hanging right on the edge of the rock, pretty sure that I’d had a nice walk but wasn’t going to be getting much use out of the camera! I set it up, just in case, and then sat down to watch the clouds.
As sunset drew nearer and nearer, it seemed less and less likely I’d get anything. But just when I was giving up all hope, a small rift in the clouds started to form near the horizon. By now it was so close to sunset I couldn’t tell if the sun had passed the gap in the clouds or not. I crossed my fingers, and suddenly a shaft of golden light started to glow through the gap in the clouds, growing brighter and more colourful every second!
I leapt up and raced over to the camera, hurrying to frame and focus the shot, as I knew that the light wouldn’t last very long. And indeed, it must have been only a couple of minutes later when the light started to fade and lose colour, and in five minutes it was back to a grey, cold, overcast evening. If I hadn’t been in the right place and the right time, I wouldn’t have had chance to get anything.golden hour seascape sunset west vancouver