Location: San Jose, CA
EXIF: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV| Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM | 28mm | f/5.6 | 1/3s | ISO 100
The same old debate of where to go inland for Sunset. There are only a few spots that I frequent. Not because they are the ‘best’ spots but those are the spots that I have found so far. After a bit of back & forth, I decided to head to Calero County Park as the potential/skunk combination was better than San Jose.
About 45 minutes before Sunset, I drove to Calero County Park. As I entered the park, the Ranger mentioned that the park will close at Sunset. I told him that I was there to catch the Sunset and he let me in for free. I parked my car and decided to head to take the trail to the East and get to the far end of the reservoir. My thought was that I’d have more water and I’d be able to capture the setting Sun from there.
As I kept walking, I realized that there were no good spots. At least, no good spots to take photos of the Sunset. There was no direct view of the setting Sun. I kept walking and walking. As I kept walking, I realized that I was going away from the Water. But I had a feeling I’d be able to loop back close to the water. After about 20 or 30 minutes of walking, I came to a spot that I thought would work well but withing a few minutes, I realized that the spot was not going to work. Too many distracting elements and no good foreground subject.
I evaluated my options and decided to walk back West, cross the parking lot and go to the spot I shot Sunset the last time I was in Calero. When I looked at my watch, I realized that I only had about 15 minutes before prime shooting time begins. I already saw colors in the Sky. So, I started running, literally. It wasn’t easy to run with my camera gear but I managed to get to location but was completely out of gas 🙂
I tried to find good comp but nothing really worked. So, I tried to create my own comp by dragging a drift wood to set it up as a foreground subject. In this process, my tripod fell. Yes, my brand new 5DM4 was on top of the tripod. Luckily, the L-bracket and my tripod took the hit and the camera was perfectly fine and so was the lens. Although, the UV filter is not stuck to the lens. I need to figure out a way to get it out.
Anyways, I waited about 10 minutes after Sunset and colors weren’t spectacular by any stretch of imagination. The sky was golden but that was pretty much it. No other colors popped. It was a bit disappointing but at least I got to watch and enjoy the Sunset. How any days to do we get to just be out in the nature and enjoy a Sunrise or Sunset? After the Sun went down, I decided to head back home.
As I was driving, I could see spectacular colors appearing on the sky. A good portion of the sky turned pink and lavender. It looked absolutely gorgeous. I was desperately looking for a spot to pull over and take a shot. I wasn’t even looking for a good comp; I just wanted to pull over and get a shot of the vibrant sky. For about 8 minutes, the road kept curving and there wasn’t any place for me to pull over. I then came to this straight road and I saw an opening to park my car. I immediately pulled over.
The only option was for me to go to the middle of the road and use the road as leading line and shoot the colorful sky. The first few shots did not yield good results. I had to use my tripod as the ambient light was pretty low. Unexpectedly, the road had lot of traffic so I had to go step out of the road and step back in. I took a few shots and looking at the LCD, I knew I had a couple of potential shots.
In my hustle to get a shot, I didn’t notice that my aperture had gone to f/5.6. I did not intend that at all. I would have liked to be at f/8 or higher but I had to work with what I got. I was so disappointed that I didn’t stay at the reservoir for 10 more minutes. The colors were spectacular to the East and I would have been able to get some good shots. But, I was lucky to get any shot at all.
From a post processing stand-point, it was pretty straight-forward. I didn’t have to do much. Just some quick adjustments in Lightroom. One thing that was pointed to me by a fellow Photographer after I posted the shot on 500px was that the shot would have been even better had I leveled the road. Until he mentioned, I didn’t see it. Now, I can’t unsee it. I just haven’t found the time to figure out how to do this effectively.
An interesting evening. Had I gone to Lake Cunningham or Almaden Lake, I would have got some great shots but it is what it is.