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Anticipate The Light

One of the joys for me is waiting to see what type of light nature will hand me. The great Minor White used to wonder “What gifts will be given to me today?” Light, to a degree, can and should be anticipated. The last act a photographer wants is to be scrambling to find a composition when great light arrives. To find the type of light that I like shooting, I work along the fringes of the day.

The accompanying image was made from 3100 feet at central California’s Fremont Peak State Park. My goal for the evening was to capture the sun setting through the fog out over the Pacific Ocean – but Mother Nature had other ideas. From this vantage point, I am looking north towards Santa Cruz (where the sun is setting). As you can see, the fog began to rise unexpectedly but fortunately I had my composition already set. I had chosen a foreground of chaparral, pines and oaks. From there, I allowed for the concentric ridgelines of the coastal Gabilan Mountains to lead my viewers’ eye toward the color. When this great light arrived, I was planned and not scrambling. I carefully worked through each frame and was not “panic shooting.” So the next time you are out with your camera, arrive at your location early, think through your compositions, and try your best to anticipate the light.


Sunset Through Fog Over Monterey Bay, California
Sony α7R II, Sony 24-70 f/4 ZA OSS. 1/15-sec., f/11, ISO 100, Singh-Ray Neutral Polarizer


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