Photographing South Haven

I’ve been meaning to go out more frequently to take photos, but weather hasn’t been cooperating a lot lately. Since photo trips can take hours of travel time, I rely a lot on The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) SkyFire predictions to determine whether or not I’m going out on a particular night. One day in particular, TPE predicted that all of Michigan would be clear, with an unremarkable sunset. I’ll be honest: it’s hard to find the motivation to travel when I consider that there might not be a good sunrise or sunset. I’m going to try to be better about getting out more frequently, regardless of TPE’s predictions.

Yesterday, TPE predicted that the sunset around the South Haven area would be great. It’s not a terribly far drive there, so I made the trip and saw that their prediction was right: the sunset ended up being remarkable. But, that’s getting a bit ahead of myself. When I arrived at the beach, it was incredibly busy. I understand that the CDC has loosened their mask recommendations, but I’m still avoiding large groups of people when I can–at least until the situation improves more. So, I chose to shoot from a hilly area that wasn’t occupied. I saw two bushes on the hill, and decided that they’d be good for framing my composition. I chose to shoot long, between 18-24 millimeters, because a more telephoto composition wasn’t appealing to me from that angle: focusing on the lighthouse, some water, and a bit of beach wouldn’t be as impactful as seeing the bigger picture, in this case.

I shot from the beginning of the sunset, to about 20 minutes after it ended. Here’s a pro tip: if you’re watching or photographing a sunset, stay after it ends: there’s often a vibrant splash of color on the sky that you’d otherwise miss. Last night, that vibrant splash of color ended up making it in a decent amount of my photos. I came away from the trip with 135 images in total, some of which were for panoramas. I ended up editing one for a YouTube video, but still have cull through (and possibly edit) the remaining photos later.

ISO 200, 1/50s, f/3.2, 18mm

This is the photo that I decided to edit for the YouTube video. I like this one because a random woman wandered into the frame, and pulled out her phone (presumably to photograph or record the sunset). I think that adds to the story of this image, and it’s unfortunate that she’s so small in the overall shot. But, I wanted to leave these bushes and this grass to act as a frame. The nice thing about shooting with an A7RIV is that the files are massive, so there’s a lot of room to crop. I could even do something like this, if I wanted to:

I could crop in even further if I wanted to. This image is 6778×3943.

Linked below is the video that I made for YouTube, documenting this trip. As a small creator, any views/comments/likes/subscriptions are very meaningful to my channel’s growth. Otherwise, I might not get recommended much with the algorithm. Recently, someone pointed out that they saw an ad on my channel. I don’t make any money from those, because I don’t have enough subscribers to. That’s right: my video profits go 100% to YouTube. Click below if you’d like to help prevent that!

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