Sunset choices

Posted on January 29, 2011


I’ve been editing my new book ‘The Essential Contentment of Futile Wanderings’ and wanted a nice sunset for the back page or near the end of the booklet. Generally I am not a big fan of ‘sunset’ shots as I find them a bit clichéd, same-y and they never seem to live up to the experience of actually “being there”. The only bit of artistic interpretation is the framing of the shot which usually will include miles and miles of sky…

Anyway I narrowed it down to the four above and chose the Woolacombe shot in the end because it had a lot of atmosphere, the dark shadow of Baggy Point running through the middle, the surfers catching their last waves before dark and a few romantic figures on the beach watching the small but perfectly formed waves ruffling the glassy colours of the sunset.

Unfortunately the printed version on the page was a little flat and no amount of tinkering could bring it to life, in fact I could only make it look less real and more cartoon like … Hey ho, so I chose the Surfer paddling out as the sun sets into the haze which works quite well with a slight magenta tint. The shot was actually taken at mid tide ‘shitpipe’ in Woolacombe and if you know the spot you can tell that the waves are fat and slow and backing off, however they do stand up for ages and make it look like a nice set approaching in a Saunton type way…

So there you go, one photo that had all the elements to buck the sunset clichés that didn’t quite work and another that is a complete fraud that just works better. Photography is funny like that.