You Never Know Unless You Go

Four Mile Beach sunset, Santa Cruz, California

So you’re sitting at home, looking out on a 100%, completely overcast day, and thinking:
“Great, I’m glad it’s cloudy because I need to get some work done. Got my first art show of the year coming up in a couple of weeks and there’s a huge amount of prep to be done.”

And then a little voice in your head says: “Hey, want to go out shooting at Four Mile Beach?”

You say: “nah, c’mon, it’s totally cloudy out, what would be the point?”

The Voice says: “yeah, but want to go anyway?”

So you say: “dude, just look outside, it’s completely cloudy out. Besides, it’s already 4:00 in the afternoon, I haven’t even eaten lunch yet because of all the silly errands I had to run today, and there’s a ton of work to be done. Just leave it.”

The Voice says: “Ok, eat lunch and then maybe we can take another peek outside when you’re done.”

You say: “Fine, just leave me alone while I eat.”

But then as soon as you’re done with your hasty meal, the Voice is back, and says: “Ok, let’s go look outside.”

You walk over to the window trying to prove to it that it’s fruitless: “See look,” you say, “totally and completely cloudy.”

But the Voice notices something you don’t want it to see: “Well, not completely,” it says, “it looks like you can actually see the ocean, and there appears to be a slightly lighter band of clouds on the horizon. There’s a chance some nice light could peek through that at sunset, so c’mon, let’s go! Besides, even if there isn’t any great light, I know you wanted to scout more around the south end of Four Mile. So let’s go. And oh, by the way, I’m not going to leave you alone until we go. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!”

You say: “Jesus you’re persistent. I really don’t think there’s going to be any light, but if it means you’ll shut up, ok we’ll go.”

The Voice: “Weeeeeeeee!!!!”

So then you drive down to the beach and there’s just clouds everywhere. “See,” you say, “I told you it was going to be way too cloudy. But since we’re here we might as well head down and scout the beach for future shots.” You start walking along the beach, in no particular hurry, because you know it’s way too overcast for any light to come shining through. Along the way you pass some neat, exposed rocks that could make a nice foreground composition on a future night with some better light.

You head farther and farther down the beach and have a good time exploring and find a few places that could be interesting for south-west facing shots. The Voice has been surprisingly quiet this whole time. Then, with 15 minutes before sunset, it pipes up again:

“HEY!! There’s starting to be a tiny amount of color along the horizon to the northwest, we should head back that way to those rocks we found earlier.”

You say “Argh! Fine! But I’m not going to hurry because that is just the tiniest, most insignificant line of color I’ve ever seen!”

So you turn around and walk back north to the rocks you found earlier, arriving just as the little band of light explodes into a mind-bending sunset. The light growing ever-more beautiful by the second, you scrabble for a strong composition and after a few minutes of fiddling, you end up settling on one that arranges the rocky terraces in a way that they lead out towards the magnificent display of light. Seconds after you take this shot, the best light is already fading and is completely gone after another two minutes.

“I f#^%ing told you,” says the Voice.

~Josh

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