Sunset over Lighthouse Park

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Vancouver was treated to a beautiful sunset this evening. I’ve been itching to get a starbursty sunset photo for a couple of weeks, but the weather has not been optimal for this type of shot, with too much cloud and haze on the horizon to let the sun shine clearly into the lens. However, this evening looked like a possibility, so I headed across the Lions Gate Bridge to see what I could get.

I was originally planning on heading directly for Dundarave Beach, which I’ve photographed before, but never satisfactorily enough to display the results. However, as I was driving towards there, something made me change my mind and carry on a little further along Marine Drive to Suicide Bend Park, which I’ve not previously visited.

Calling this a park could mislead about its size, as it’s really just a very small area of public land between Marine Drive and the water, slotted in between a couple of West Vancouver homes that no doubt cost a large fortune.

As I drove towards it, I realised that I might not have thought this through — I had checked the angle of the sunset before setting off to make sure that Dundarave Beach would see it without the distant hills of Lighthouse Park getting in the way, and I was reasonably certain that wasn’t going to be the case by the time I’d gone a couple of kilometres further west. I wasn’t so much concerned about the image aesthetics as I was the time — I was cutting this photography trip rather fine as it was, and I was worried the sun would have dropped behind the hills.

Fortunately, I arrived just in time, and had about 6 minutes to capture the sun just before it passed out of sight. I was planning on heading down to the rocks by the water, but as I got to this point, the framing of the sunset with the trees struck me as being an interesting and different composition. I put the camera on the tripod, only about 18 inches off the ground, set my aperture to a nice narrow f/16 to get the starburst effect I wanted, and hit the shutter.

Because of the trees in the top of the frame, I couldn’t use my usual graduated ND filter, so to capture the dynamic range of this scene I did a 7-shot bracket, with the shutter speed ranging from 1/500th to 0.5 seconds.

golden hour seascape sunset west vancouver
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