A few nights ago I drove out to Makapuʻu Beach to see if I could make pictures of the Makapu‘u Lighthouse during the blue hour, after the sun had set. The Makapu‘u Lighthouse is one of the most frequently photographed subjects in Hawaiʻi, but I had not seen very many photographs of the lighthouse in the dark!
The clouds didn’t quite cooperate. I was able to set up a composition that I was pretty pleased with and made a photograph of the lighthouse, the darkening purple sky, and some still water with the help of some long exposure photography.
For a photographer, it can be disappointing to skip out on the sunset (only a 10 minute drive away) in hopes of creating an image that would be outside the norm, especially if the end result isn’t exactly what you had in mind. It’s a nice image, but not the one I had in mind when I planned the shoot. The real magic of photography and other art forms is that the artist is so much smaller than the form itself, and small things can be quite surprising!
Just as I was about to pack in the tripod, some fishermen arrived about 20 feet away from where I was shooting. All three members of the party had headlamps! In the same spot, I turned the camera to the left and shot some more long exposures while they did some natural light painting. What I got was so much more than I could have created by just showing up to the blue hour alone.
I spoke to the fishermen after I was done and got an email address to share the photos with them after I was done processing. It was a great way to meet some strangers, share a love of art making, and leave a comfort zone! Lesson learned? After the sun is set and the shot seems missed, keep your eyes and mind open for an opportunity. You never know what fish (or fishermen) may bite.
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