Years ago I read in a photography magazine, and I can’t remember the author’s name, that serendipity is the intersection of preparation and chance. Last night’s sunset is a good example. For decades I have been honing my photographic skills- technical and artistic. I have acquainted myself with many nearby locations, studied weather and cloud movement, and the different seasonal looks.
Yesterday, I was planning to photograph the end of day. Looking at the clouds from my front yard, and watching their movement, I thought if I went west and south, the light would be more likely to illuminate the clouds from below. I decided to go to West Dennis Beach.
The beach itself, along that part of Nantucket Sound, is a straight band of sand, not offering much of visual interest, and the small waves broke up what on a still evening would have been great reflections. I drove the mile length of the parking area, seeing how the sky and foreground related to each other. The color started to come up as the sun disappeared. I turned around and decided the best foreground was a section of dune and pathway. And then this was my reward-
One of my favorite, and also nearest places to photograph is Paine’s Creek here in Brewster. I usually drive to the beach parking area, and work on the east side of the creek. Last night I chose a different approach. I went to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, about 1/2 mile away, then hiked out on Wing’s Island to photograph on the west side. The sunset itself was very soft, with little color due to clouds, but there was an open strip of sky to the north, angling toward the southwest. Experience has taught me that sometimes, after the sun has gone below the horizon, its light will get under the back edge of the clouds, and color will explode across the sky. I waited, and it happened!