dtcheung Platinum

Sunset at Santa Monica Pier, CA





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4 Comments | Report
vintagefemme April 13, 2016
Breathtaking sunset!! I like how you had the pier right beside it very active too. Welcome to VB :)
Johnny_G_Photography April 13, 2016
Stunning macro shot. I absolutely love it, well done and thank you for sharing it with us here on VB:-)
dtcheung Platinum
dtcheung April 15, 2017
RickL PRO+
RickL August 12, 2020
Beautiful composition, excellent use of light and perfect perspective photography
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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken next to the famous Santa Monica Peer in Southern California an hour drive from home.
I have always been fascinated by beautiful sunsets.
It was a partially cloudy day and the whole sky was covered by clouds but not so thick that the sun was seen with a halo around it.
This photo was taken handheld using a Canon 70D with a Tokina 11-16mm wide angle lens.
This photo is very special to me reminding me of a precious moment with my wife, Jane, who went to heaven about a year after this photo was taken. She was fighting with two different cancers for four years already. I took her out almost every day so she would not sit at home and be depressed. Jane was a very loving, generous and kind woman and we were married for almost forty years by then. She always wanted to do things for others instead of herself. On this particular day, she wanted to take a young couple, relatives of a friend of hers, who just came to this country and show then around Los Angeles. It was a wonderful day sharing our decades of experiences in the south land with these two newly weds. We ended up walking above the cliffs next to Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica. It was such a new experience for this young couple and Jane asked if we can take them to the peer down there. I knew the peer was a very popular place and was very reluctant to go down there and would be difficult to find a parking space. She insisted, though she did not like the cold ocean wind on the peer hitting her face. It was amazing that when I drove up the peer a parking space opened up just in front of us. Suddenly I realized the sun was setting and a thin zone of sky was clearing up. I told Jane and our friends I would run down to the beach below and they could follow me slowly behind. The following minutes were magical as the sun pierced out of the cloud and was setting below the horizon. What's even more meaningful was that after the sun went down and the sky grew dark, I turned and looked at Jane. I remembered how she hated sunsets because it reminded her of her mortality. However, she stood there silently as if she was waiting for something. As all the photographers picked up their tripods and camera and left. We were left there numbed with feelings not describable. Just a few minutes later, the sky suddenly grew bright again and with the most fantastic and brilliant color I had not seen before (I shared this photo here in Viewbug also). Right at that moment, God reminded me how we live our lives drawn to lights and colors and chased after them in good times. We hate it when things in life are not so bright and there seems to be no hope and the future looks dim. However, if we pay attention and be patient, we can then see the beauty in life and God's brilliant glory. It's been four years since Jane left me. I treasure my memory of her and God's love, peace and glory still surrounds me.
I have been an amateur photographer since I was a teenager and I am still learning. This photo had post-processing done using Photoshop. I was still new with Photoshop and my friend Tom Phipps was teaching various ways to bring out the contrast, clarity, vibrance and saturation. I started to understand by adjusting these settings, I am bringing out and selecting the information that was in a photo taken in raw format. When I took a photo in jpg format (using different photo modes) or open a raw file in Photoshop without adjusting the different settings, I was relying on the manufacturer of the camera or software engineers who developed the Photoshop program to pick the "default" setting(s) for me. In order to present the photo closer to what my vision was when I took the picture, I must adjust the settings but I had to first learn the very complex system and understand the many different aspects of the program in order to fully appreciate the power and magic in order to express the moods, feelings and senses of the moment.
In my camera bag
Nowadays, I have with me lots of equipment in my van as I go out more than four times a week shooting wildlife and scenery. I mainly use my Sony A9 and Canon 5DIII. For wildlife photography my main "go-to" lenses are the Canon 600 mm f/4 II and the 300 mm f/2.8 III. I use the Canon 1.4x III and 2x III extender regularly on both lenses. for general and scenery photography, I use the Canon 17-40 MM f/4 AND 24-70 f/2.8 lenses. For special occasions, I will use my 70-200 mm f/2.8 II and 100-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 II lenses. For wildlife, I now usually use a Gitzo series 4 monopod but also use a Induro Tripod with a Gimbal head. I also have an Induro 100 mm mini tripod for getting my lens down at the water level for waterfowls. I bring along bird seeds, different branches I collected, and other gifts for birds to reward them as they corporate as my models. Most important of all, I bring my joyous attitude in appreciating wildlife and a conscience that we are their partners in this world.
I have developed a habit of being more and more observant to everything I see and become more and more appreciative of the beauty around me. More often then not, things we desire are hidden requiring efforts to find them. I have been a medical research/educator all my career life, it helps me to be analytical, willing to learn and be very, very patient. Good things are worth waiting for. However, while waiting, I cannot afford to be idle as I constantly evaluate the environment, observing the changes and moving if I need to, then making sure all my equipment settings are frequently adjusted so I am ready when the moment arrives.

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