There’s something about a wet beach at sunset that I just can’t get enough of. Over the course of the summer I check the tide tables and try to find days when the sunset coincides with a low or dropping tide. These tend to be the best times to play with the end of day light that reflects in the long stretch of wet sand.
I prefer Wickaninnish Beach since the rip currents create interesting pools and textured sand with good sight lines to the west and the setting sun. Usually there are very few people on the beach out past beach access “E” so, aside from shorebirds, I often have the place to myself. A couple of weeks ago I decided to try Long Beach for a change.
Lovekin Rock at Long Beach
Part of the challenge with Long Beach is the sheer number of people. It is difficult to create a composition that doesn’t have people in it. Lovekin Rock, the prominent “haystack” in the middle of the beach is a popular destination and backdrop for sunset photographs.
In order to get a more natural looking scene, I moved further down the beach toward Green Point. The bonus of doing this is that there are many reflecting pools and channels in this section of the beach that can make for beautiful foreground objects.
One thing that I’ve noticed is that most casual photographers tend to finish early. Once the sun goes below the horizon line they’re done. For me, this is when things start to get interesting. Even though the sun has set, it continues to light up any clouds in the sky and the colour progresses from yellows and oranges into fiery reds and rich purples. Tones are better balanced and the sky not over powered by the bright light of the sun.
Eventually the colour progresses into bruised blues and blacks with a hint of the brief glory of the earlier colour. It’s a moody time on the beach and most people are long gone.
In order to really experience the beauty of the beaches at sunset in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, think about staying out a little longer after the sun has set. Watch how the clouds change colour as the sky darkens. Bring a flashlight with you and make your way back to your car in the dark after everyone else has left the beach—it’s a magical show and it is best to watch it from start to finish!