The Immaculate Sunset

Happy February everyone! In beautiful Powell River the days are starting to get longer, the weather continues to get milder, and buds are starting to pop up in my wife’s garden and on several of her plants. Spring looks like it’s just around the corner and I cannot wait!

The cloudy weather as of late has kept me indoors, forcing me to shoot anything but the outdoors, which can be more than trying for an avid nature photographer! But, I was blessed the other day with some immaculate weather, big metallic blue skies, gorgeous fluffy (and wispy) clouds, and best of all, a famous Powell River sunset.

Tony Lake

This first shot is pre-sunset of a pretty little Sunshine Coast lake called Tony Lake. The sky was so vast that I felt I needed to compose my shots in a way that helped to emphasise it. This meant placing my horizon line quite low in the image. As you can tell, this approach to composition certainly stresses the big blue yonder quite well.

Noticing the colour in the sky was starting to change colours, I hopped in the Santa Fe and boogied to one of my favourite shooting spots (Palm Beach) south of Powell River to catch the looming sunset.

I arrived before the sunset so I set up a shot above the beach on a beautiful grassy ridge. The sky looked unbelievable. So I composed again with the sky in mind, using quite a low horizon line. The picnic tables (and me) help to add a sense of scale, allowing the sky to really look huge!

Palm Beach

Finally the sun starting dipping behind some trees, so I headed down to the sandy beach (the tide was out, leaving me a foreground of sand, something I don’t see too often at Palm Beach). I found my composition, and set up the shot. I used a very small aperture to ensure I got that tight starburst effect. I also used my ND grad filter to get the proper exposure and balance the foreground with the background. Notice in the vertical shot how I used that lonely rock as a foreground anchor point for the image, adding a sense of overall balance. This is an important technique in imagery composition.

I now have another couple of shots to add to the gallery of immaculate sunsets. 

Palm Beach Sunset Palm Beach Sunset II

If you want to further your understanding of the importance of natural and artifical lighting, creative compositions, and essential gear (ND filters anyone?), log on to and find out more about our upcoming Coast in Focus workshop in May. Spots are starting to fill so secure your spot today!