Waiting for the Sun to Set

Maui-Resort-SunsetMost get anxious and photograph a sunset too soon. They also don’t take multiple exposures to see which one brings to life the experience.


It is best to move around to find some foreground elements. This place is special for the setting and rising sun.

Palm-Trees-at-SunsetThis impatience parallels life a bit. Rush, rush, hurry and dash. What we miss is the peace and serenity all around us if we are waiting for something to happen then leave abruptly. I don’t feel like I’m trying to race time in this place. Here, it feels like you’re in sync with what’s surrounds you.

Maui-Sunset-2I was standing on the beach watching cliff divers and waiting for the sun to set. Another photographer asked me if I have a favorite between a landscape, animal or flower – after asking me what I like to photograph. Most people equate something favorite with what is best or perfect. Not me. Favorite for me means all that went into making the photo, especially the relationship I see between the subject and myself. There is no way for the viewer to know or feel that relationship. This gent was also photographing the moon like I was doing. I can say I was engrossed with a relationship I was hoping to pull from that darkening sky.

After the last dive which happened long before the sun set, most everyone disappeared. I waited for more along with the guy I mentioned. I wanted the sun to not just fade over the horizon, but to sink out of view like a lead anchor.

headerWhy a relationship? Well, the smell of the salty water was around me, the wind slapping my face, the crash of the waves coalesced to create a sense of serenity and calm. It is not just the view of a pretty sky, it is all that cocoons that special moment and why it becomes a special moment.

Maui-Sheraton-Resort-SunsetBy being the last to leave, I witnessed the sun make way for the moon. The colors fade, but the scene became something like out of a movie.

My advice to those photographing as I did, make sure you have a tripod.

I did not, nor did I have anywhere to set my camera for the low-light scene. I had to raise the ISO in order to hand-hold the camera. You would get far better photos than I did by doing it properly. Just make sure to shoot in manual for greater control on exposure.

A tripod can be a pain to take on a plane. Many are heavy and can be a pain to carry around during your travels. If really serious on your dawn, dusk or nighttime shots,  a very important piece of equipment is the tripod.

MoonThe first image, you can actually see the moon craters like I cropped to see above. If I was thinking at the time, a 300mm lens was on the camera and I could have zoomed and focused on the moon for a clearer shot. Sometimes getting lost in the serenity means your mind takes a restful break too.

Maui-SunsetI am always looking for these peaceful, quiet scenes. Since I teased about cliff divers, I also have them back-lighted by the sun. Only one makes an actual dive, the others were learning I think and just jumped. Some were too afraid and changed their mind. It was rather dangerous on those black rocky cliffs.

Boy-on-BeachSunsets are not a difficult subject to photograph, any camera can manage the vibrant colors. But when the sun sets below the horizon, you might need more control on the exposure.

Maui-Moon-Next time you wait for a sunset, just wait a bit longer, even if it goes dark. You might just like the muted colors and atmosphere. I used the D750 on these images to achieve greater clarity, yet handheld, the photos get a bit grainy.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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21 Responses to Waiting for the Sun to Set

  1. alesiablogs says:

    Very nice post. Getting lost in the moment is great. Almost glad my battery charger wad left behind on this trip.

  2. Except for the palm trees, ocean and scantily clad little boy…that sky COULD be New England—and the temperatures, of course!

  3. swo8 says:

    Lovely photos, Cindy, you really captured it.

  4. diggingher says:

    Lovely even without the tripod.

  5. arlene says:

    Love them all Donna. Perfect capture.

  6. David says:

    I really like your moon photos and I’m a bit jealous. I’ve been trying since last June to get photos of a full moon but cloud cover, rain, and some obligations have thwarted me for the past 9 months. It’s mainly been clouds or bad weather that have ruined my plans. March 23 is not far off for my next try. I even have a nice sturdy monopod I bought last summer just for this.

  7. Maria F. says:

    Very nice, you did so well with waiting and enjoying the moment, and the images and colors are so soothing. I can understand how the Pacific may differ from the caribbean Atlantic ocean, well, I saw it from California, not from Maui, but it certainly is different.

  8. These are gorgeous! I do love taking photos in nature. It is a way to better connect with nature. Yet I don’t take many photos of family and friends. When I’m socializing, I want to be in that moment. Photographing people takes me out of the moment. I wish I had more photos of special occasions and casual get-tpgethers, but I’ll just have to rely on my memories.

  9. Søren says:

    I spent the morning of the winter solstice just looking at the dawn approaching and then arriving with sunrise, because it really is a process and not just a single moment. But a moment captured on film can sometimes convey the right essence of the process and tell a story – you just never know when the right moment is until you see the shot on a proper screen…

    As for the cliff diving… Now I’m jealous… I doubt I’ll ever do it again myself, but when I was in my early 20’s I jumped off Pont du Gard, a 70ft high Roman aqueduct, into the river below and it was one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever tried. I had to do it again and again!

  10. Donna they’re just so beautiful… and ‘getting lost in serenity’ works both ways, meaning the viewer gets it too! 😉 Happy Wednesday, my friend.

  11. Wherever we travel we seem to rent a place facing west without even trying. I love sunsets. Occasionally I photograph sunsets but I would rather watch them.

  12. Hmmm. Maybe I should get Judy a tripod. Are they expensive? And would she use it?

  13. One of my favorite things to do when I would visit Michigan is to watch the sun set on the Lake. There is something very special about that time. Watching the day end, the moon shine and the crashing waves. I have used a monopod which is less bulky when traveling. It works well and I can move around more easily.

  14. These photographs are just great – patience is best when capturing moments like these.

  15. A.M.B. says:

    Gorgeous photographs! You put a lot of thought into your photography. It comes through.

  16. I love watching the sun set as the colors change and the intensity comes on…..the sunsets in the west are incredible…those I saw in AZ and CA recently were stunning…..I love how you captured the sunset and the moon rise.

  17. Les says:

    I love the silhouettes of trees against a setting or rising sun, palms especially because they can be so graphic. I also love the silhouettes of your divers; the series is close to genius.

  18. Your pictures are gorgeous! I loved the 3rd to the last one with the umbrellas and large palm trees. Great advice, too! Thank you!

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