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Brennecke Beach, Kauai

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 9 August 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

Sometimes life's little annoyances turn out to be a good thing. I arrived at this location an hour prior to the posted sunset time and began composing images in my mind (and trying to anticipate the light). I initially thought about climbing down onto these lava pools but wasn't convinced it would work (plus the tide was moving in). Thus I opted to begin my shoot further back with a medium telephoto alongside a road, and shoot just a bit of the ocean and make the palm trees (in the upper right of the frame) my main subject by silhouetting them against the sunset sky.

Just as the sun began to set on the horizon, two young girls decided to jump in front of me and view the sunset from this vantage point - they were dead center in my frame! I just didn't have the heart to tell them to move, so I figured, "why not join them?"

I replaced my 70-200mmL with my 16-35mmL and quickly discovered that the pools were reflecting the dusk light. With my heart rate quickening, I frantically composed various scenes, then finally settled on this composition, and with the help of my Singh-Ray 3-stop soft-edge split neutral density filter, captured my image.

Oftentimes the best laid plans go awry right at the critical time. After I captured this image, the girls' father came over and apologized for them getting in my way. I told him not to worry about it, that it was not a big deal. Upon reflection, their innocent actions forced me out of my comfort zone at a critical juncture with the light. By staying calm, and accepting that fact that I did not own this beach, nor this view, I was able to make an image I really liked. As a bonus, some of my earlier frames from my other location proved to be good images also.

I've seen too many times where photographers yell and scream as if they own the real estate. Had another photographer jumped in my frame (and not a couple of 7-year-olds) I may have said something, but in this case, I'm glad I kept my big mouth shut. Nature is for all to enjoy on whatever level one chooses. Just because I decide to photograph it does not mean everyone else has to stay away, and remember, most people have no idea what you are seeing through the camera.

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 8/5 seconds F/16.0 ISO 100 29 mm

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