This image represents January in my 2010 Lowcountry Wall Calendar (http://www.southernlight.biz/). I made this picture while exploring the upper Broad river, on an especially warm evening, in my 13ft. Boston Whaler. Since January is not the best time to capture the beauty of the spartina grass but frequently a great time of year for dramatic sunsets, I thought I would underplay the grasses and focus on the sun. I like landscapes that have a strong “sense of place” so the viewer can easily identify the geographic location. At the coast we may not have the same breathless beauty of the western Rockies, or the Pacific Ocean, but we do have a more subtle beauty and a very distinctive topography. And though I did not want to show the drab grey- brown of the winter grass I did want a foreground that would help define this place and at the same time, support the main subject, the sun. I looked for a camera position that would allow me to show the shapes of the grasses against the skylight reflected in the water.
Photo tip: When we talk about the photographic cliché, sunsets are at the top of the list. Mostly, I no longer go looking for sunrise and sunset pictures by themselves like most of us photographers do when we’re starting out. But having said that, the best times to shoot are often right around sunrise and sunset. So today I try to think more about using the rising or setting sun as elements in more dynamic images. It does get harder and harder to capture a sunset that will stop and hold an audience even for a few seconds so we have to think about making more interesting pictures using the sun as part of a collective composition. It could be a silhouette of a bird or tree or maybe a strong environmental landscape.