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Heading South (during the magic hour)

Nov 11, 2007 A few days ago a high pressure system sat over California as a low pressure system moved up from Mexico. As these two systems converged it formed a ‘canyon’ for winds to funnel through from desert to the sea. When the high pressure system moved off to Arizona the shore breeze changed direction. This shift in the breeze brought with it high cloud formations that gave a blank canvas for the colors of the sunset. When the sun is low on the horizon at sunset (and sunrise) its light shines through all the particles in the atmosphere giving it a warm reddish glow. These times of day are often called the “Magic Hour” by photographers. This soft, warm and reddish light is very pleasing to the photographer’s film (or digital sensor), but its full potential only realized when reflected onto a subject. High cloud formations give the magic hour light the perfect medium to show off.

Coincidentally (or possibly by divine artistic design) the tide was a minus exposing the wave rounded rock formations that are normally hidden by the ocean. These rock formations form tidal pool sanctuaries where little aquatic creatures make their living. Taking advantage of the rock formations as protective barriers from the breaking action of the waves these little guys wait for bits of food and nutrients to be brought in by the changing tide. The photographer who is willing to wade through the shallow water can also take advantage of this still water in the composition of a picture. The undisturbed water becomes a reflective surface bringing color to an otherwise dark landscape.

Fortuitously this lone seagull decided to head south at the exact moment that the composition all came together. It seems lately we photographers get so caught up in mega pixels, firmware upgrades, focusing issues, and a whole host of other distractions. I cannot express how fortunate I feel to have been at the nexus of all the factors that contributed to this picture (which doesn’t come close to doing justice to the real thing). I think Winnie the Pooh sums it up best when he said:

'Poetry and Hums [and Photographs] aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.'


Note: I would like to apologize in advance to all the scientist types: meteorologists, optical physicist, oceanographers, marine biologists, ornithologists (those specializing in migratory patterns) for the understating (and making things up) regarding the science stuff.

 Tips, Techniques & Tools Utilized
  EF 17-35mm F/2.8L  


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