Lately my early morning routine has been wake up, check the weather, shower, eat, and then leave for work either with or without the camera based on the weather report. On this particular morning I woke up, saw Clear skies (0 clouds) and sadly realized today wasnt going to be the day to find a sunset. I was kickin myself because the sunset the night before was absolutely spectacular and I had my arse glued to my chair editing some portrait photos instead of out somewhere shooting. About to leave for work, I instinctively grabbed my gear, put it on my back, and was about to walk out the door when I remembered today was clear skies and I should just leave my stuff at home.

After a full day of working I walked outside and looked up to see some beautiful clouds in the sky. Thinking I better not make the mistake two days in a row I immediately sent Willie a text message. Only he beat me to it and I already had one waiting for me: the clouds look awesome. I replied should we go somewhere as I walked into the gym. I was scheduled to meet with a personal trainer to go over a new workout but as I waited for the guy, Willie wrote back Im leaving for Natural Bridges in a sec. You in I typed Ill be there in 10 but before I hit send I realized I LEFT MY GEAR AT HOME ARGH ::hair pulling::

I decided Id skip the personal trainer, race home to grab my stuff and meet Willie at Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz. I managed to avoid a bunch of traffic and arrive at Natural Bridges with plenty of time to scout. Looking at the sky it was either going to be glorious or it was going to be awful.

Willie and I scouted for a while, trying to find a different composition than the normal Natural Bridge that everyone shoots. The sun was setting in the wrong direction to shoot the bridge but if the sky lit up like it had the previous night (see Richs photo) we might get some color. As the sun dropped I quickly realized I had to point in a different direction and decided Id use a piece of driftwood as my foreground element. After a couple minutes I wandered away and then I looked back and Willie had picked up on my queue and was back at the driftwood. Thats when the sky started lighting up right in my original composition I raced back to the driftwood and setup, waiting for some big waves to give us some water motion. As we waited the sky went from a dull gold, to absolutely beautiful oranges, and then as the orange faded, the back left of the sky filled with pinks and purples. An explosion of color at Natural Bridges Both Willie and I went home very happy campers

Color cast removed using D-Breezys instructions.

Nikon D700 w/Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S:
24mm, f/9, sec, ISO 250
HiTech 0.9 Reverse ND Grad

Aaron M Written by:

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast.