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South Carolina – Sunset Photoshoot

Under the Pier - Long Exposure

On one of the first evenings in South Carolina, I was on the balcony of the hotel looking down the beach. The sun was setting inland and the beach in the far distance had that hazy orange light being cast over the blowing sand and shadowed hotels. I didn’t have the option to go out and shoot, but had two opportunities later in the week.

The first evening I went out, I took my 6yr old son out with me. I spent more time carrying his shell filled bucket than taking pictures, but it was a great time and we had a lot of fun.

Being on an east coast beach, I really wasn’t expecting much out of my second night. The sun was setting over land and I was hoping to get some interesting shots based on light and shadow rather than the sunset itself. I walked back to the pier, as it really was the only interesting subject anywhere close to where I was.

As I walked, I looked back to see if the distant beach had the lighting from days before, but it was pretty stale and uninteresting. I took a few shots as I walked, but nothing was really successful. Once I got to the pier, the wind had really picked up and it was actually starting to get a little cold. While I was ready for the cold, the wind was an issue. I had to shield myself and my camera a little from the blowing sand, but it seemed to keep mostly about knee high.

Pier - Part II

The sunset shed some nice light across the pier and I got one decent shot. My composition wasn’t perfect, but I really didn’t have the time or options with the blowing sand. I would have loved to have a wider angle lens with me, but I didn’t own one, and I had unsuccessfully been trying to purchase a Tokina 11-16mm that was always out of stock.

The second successful picture was the image above. I had taken it after the sun had set and it was pretty dark in the direction I was shooting. I took a few shots to get this one, all with varied exposure times. The lights on the water were only from the lights on the pier, and they created a great array of color and shadow. Again, I am not fully happy with the composition. I had to position my camera beside a pillar in order to stay out of the crazy wind, and had very few options. While I was protected slightly, the high wind and long exposures definitely led to some camera shake. I would have loved to stay out there another hour and shoot it from more angles, but I was cold, it was very windy, and I had to pee. I haven’t read many photographer blogs that have had this issue, but I am sure it comes up.

I headed back to the hotel and relaxed.

A Few Comments from the Shoot:

  • Wind Bad.
  • Still love long exposure night shots. I really have to start doing more.
  • I have to push my long exposure exposure times. I keep stopping short.
  • I see sand being an issue, had it all stuck in my tripod legs.
  • Shooting in sub-optimal weather really isn’t all that great. I found myself very limited.

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