It seems like most of the north coast summer has been void of a real sunset.  Oh sure, you see the sun go down but it’s hard to look at the big ball of flame, well because, it hurts your eyes.

That and the fog gets in the way. It wasn’t that long ago that September and October were stratus free around here.  Except for a few days, September has followed the course of what the entire summer has brought; low clouds in the morning, low clouds in the evening.  Mind you, it’s been pleasant enough.  From a photographic standpoint, not witnessing the sun hit the horizon is a little disheartening.  That evening magic light has been hard to find, though photographers tend to ‘work it out’.

For me, and I assume many other photographers, these fall months contain the building blocks of light that make fall colors jump from a camera image.  The hard ball light of summer is replaced by a softening of evening shadows and colors.  Some may go their whole lives without really slowing down to watch how autumnal light will bathe and caress a subject or a scene.  There is a moment in almost every fall day, when all the elements come together photographically.

That scene can be elusive.  If you see this ethereal light starting to develop, you need to have a plan in place before hand.  I have a mental list of places that will make great scenic exposures.  Wherever I may be in the three counties we cover, I pull this list when the light begins to turn awesome.  Three minutes and I can be there.

I created this list, partially because photojournalism is the documentation of everything, not just the crime of the day that will carve the next days headline.  The artist in me needs to be soothed, to  be reset after a day of rush, rush.  We all need that type of attitude adjustment.  Really, it’s true.  Slow down and smell the roses, or more appropriately, watch a sunset every now and then.  It will take the edge off.

Particles of coastal haze and valley smoke seem to enlarge the sun, Saturday Sept. 10, 2011. The picture was taken from Fulton Road not far from Wood Road in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

Even though I was under lensed, I made this frame of the sun, fog free, last Saturday while returning home from my sons baseball game.



-Kent Porter