Thursday, December 10, 2015

The One Thing Everyone Should Do Today

Sunset-watching requires waiting. Trust me.

I was rummaging through the archives of Sabo musings and came across this one from my old "12 Kids and Counting" blog that I banged out six years ago. I'll link to it here and I think you'll like it and relate to it -- it's about trying to hustle through the express line only to have the customer in front of me whip out a checkbook and sssslllllooooowwwwllllllyyyyy write a check. The blog post is all about waiting and how we're unaccustomed to waiting. And how there's a Biblical principle of waiting that we seem to have forgotten in this culture.

Here's the link: `And Wait On Your God Continually'

But it also got me to thinking about what I've learned shooting photographs of sunsets. I've been on Instagram for a few years and my calling card is sunset photos. We live on a peninsula here in Gloucester and our house is three blocks from a private beach on the York River and a we're a couple of  miles from the beach at Gloucester Point where the iconic Coleman Bridge spans the water.

Over Thanksgiving Ethan was home and I grabbed him just before sundown late one afternoon and trekked down to the beach to impart some fatherly wisdom on photographing sunsets. By no means am I professional photographer. I have friends who are professional photographers and I would not insult them by saying I'm even close to their abilities.

That said, I've learned a few things about sunsets over the years. Here's my three takeaways.

1) Get outside. In order to shoot a photograph of a sunset you have to actually see it. If that sounds a little too obvious, it is. It's my personal opinion that the world would be a better place if more people spent more time personally enjoying sunsets. It takes time and effort to get out and see a sunset but the rewards are incalculable. Take time out of your busy schedule of surfing the net, posting on Facebook, Tweeting, commuting, "working" or otherwise wasting time to watch the sun go down. Enjoy the peace, the view, the beauty and the serenity. You'll feel better, I promise. And take a picture of it.

2) Be patient. The York River is one to two miles wide where I typically watch the sun go down. What I've noticed is that the most astounding part of the sunset occurs about 10 minutes after the actual sunset. I learned this the hard way. When I first started photographing sunsets, I'd watch the sun go down and then call it a day. But a couple times I was walking home from the beach and turned around several minutes after sunset to see the sky aflame. Then I would run down to the beach for the best shots. There's a lesson here: Beautiful things take time. You can't rush them. You can't hurry them up, or microwave them or get them in the express line. Slow down, enjoy the view and let the sunset marinate to perfection.

3) Share it with somebody you love. I saw the clouds in the sky the other day and knew it was going to be a hot sunset. So I grabbed Julie and told her we were going on a date. We went down to the pier at Gloucester Point Beach and watched the sky catch fire behind the Coleman Bridge. It was beautiful. And I'll say from personal experience that sunsets are best enjoyed when you're kissing the love of your life.

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