Of Sunsets, Sunrises and Timing / by Felix Wong

Wispy Sunrise
Leica M8 with Summicron-C 40/2
Ketchikan, AK
Felix Wong © 2014

Ever since picking up this art seriously in 2011, I learned quickly that timing is everything in photography. Another time-related aspect to photography is patience. I think this aspect (patience) alone can set your photographs apart from any other regular Joe's fireball-in-frame sunset or sunrise picture.

Having grown up in a crowded city that sees lots of tourists, I have noticed plenty of people who crowd around at a nice spot, snap too many pictures and leave just as the sun disappears under the horizon. On one hand, I feel sorry for them since they were leaving right when the light show was about to get good. On the other, I'd be thanking them since they freed up an enviable spot for me to occupy.

Patience pays dividends, especially in this day and age where people want things NOW, and are more than happy to snap a quick pic and post it on social media.

Now, not only would waiting around free up an enviable spot, as mentioned above, it may free up an enviable patch of area where you can wander about; sometimes all it takes is a couple of steps to the left or right to put that annoying lamp post in front of something insignificant for example and open up line-of-sight to your subject.
Or maybe give you a spot to pose a friend or yourself for a creative portrait of sorts!

Also, when the sun is below the horizon, the clouds closer to the horizon would be catching the fiery light, which cools off as you look closer towards what's above your head. This also means the sky above you would remain blue, giving  you a nice contrast between warm and cool colors with a fascinating gradient in between.

Totem Bight Sunset
Leica M8 with Voigtländer 15/4.5
Ketchikan, AK
Felix Wong © 2014

One major side benefit of waiting till the fireball falls below the horizon is the lack of lens flares. To me, making a great image without sacrificing a liver for the right or best equipment is a good deal in my book.

I'm sure some of you readers may have a great story about how being at some place earlier for longer yielded a great harvest, go ahead and share them in the comments.
Until next time, keep creating art and don't give it up for anything!

Felix Wong