Three Sunsets

The past three evenings have found me chasing the last light of the day along Maui’s south shore, with the hope of catching a jaw-dropping sunset. Friday and Saturday evening I had my friend Jonny Hooks with me (find him at @jonnyhooksphotography on instagram), while Sunday night I was solo in this adventure.

For our first attempt, we arrived at the location early, set up our tripods, pointed our cameras west, and fired away. When shooting sunset at the water’s edge, you have to make sure you are set up on solid, safe ground. If you do not have someone to help spot and warn you of bigger wave sets, then it is best to stay clear of anything that looks wet (and even then you cannot be sure a wave or a splash won’t get you or your camera). Having the buddy system in the water is common sense, but for photographers, I definitely recommend the buddy system around water to ensure each other’s safety (and the safety of your gear).

Friday night’s sunset wasn’t amazing, but even a boring sunset on Maui is better than a fantastic sunset in somewhere cold.

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The cloud movement and milky water effect is created by slowing your shutter speed. One way to do this is to use neutral density filters (which range drastically in design, quality and price) and try to leave your shutter open for as long as you can without allowing too much light in and ruining your shot.

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100 second exposure, using a 10 stop ND filter and a .9 hard graduated filter.
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Two minute exposure, using a 10 stop ND filter and a .9 hard graduated filter.
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175 second exposure, using a 10 stop ND filter and a .9 hard graduated filter.

The following evening, attempt number two if you are keeping  score at home, Jonny and I spent a little too long at Mulligan’s on the Blue (our Irish Pub) and we had to rush down to the ocean to try to catch the sunset. Again, the sunset wasn’t spectacular, but the clouds and tide pools made for some interesting compositions.

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Last night, (my third attempt) I had plenty of time to explore the coastline in order to try some new looks. I was set up before sunset, so I was able to try a few long exposure shots

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Two minute exposure, using a 10 stop ND filter and a .9 hard graduated filter.
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Four minute exposure, using a 10 stop ND filter and a .9 hard graduated filter.

The sunset was not looking great, so after I got a few shots, I packed up my tripod and put my filter kit away. As soon as I had it put everything away in my bag, I turned around to this view.

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The colors reflected in the tide pools really make this picture work.

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I shot the rest of the pictures handheld, adjusting my aperture priority and my exposure compensation, as I made my way back to my car. I think I got a few keepers, but more importantly I learned that I need to have patience when shooting sunsets and not give up until the light has vanished beyond the horizon.

All three sunset attempts were taken within one hundred feet of each other, yet each one has a unique look and feel to them. That is what makes photography so special to me. You can have ten people in the same location, cameras all pointed in the same direction, but in the end you are going to end up with ten different stories, each person seeing something just a bit different from the person next to them.

It was fun having three nights in a row to chase the sunset. Each attempt allowed me to make mistakes, learn, and try something new. All of my pictures were taken with my Nikon D610 and a Rokinon 14mm ultra-wide angle lens.

*On a separate note for my readers, I no longer use my Facebook account, so if you would like to see more of my photographs you can find me on instagram as @holoholophoto. And thank you for your continued support over the years.

Vincent Lorusso Written by:

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives. - Jackie Robinson

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