Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Into the Magic Door" is a new composition from D. "Bodhi" Smith

"Into the Magic Door" is my new composition captured during the "Scripps Solstice" which is a special event here in San Diego that happens twice a year in late April-early May and then again in mid-August when the sun aligns perfectly in a sunset directly through the window at the end of the underbelly of the Scripps Pier.

Unfortunately, successfully photographing this phenomenon has many problematic facets:
  1. Many other photographers crowd (horde often literally) into a small tiny space to capture the alignment--so to secure a great spot, gotta arrive about 2.5-3 hours before sunset
  2. A heavy cloud deck on the horizon kills the view, and these heavy clouds are common in early May
  3. There are 3-4 days where the sun is aligned in the window, but it is hard to gauge exactly which day will have the sun dead center
  4. Having clouds over head is a bonus, as long as they are not out on the horizon blocking the view
  5. Parking is at a premium...And if you listen to friends (ahem--Jeff) and park in the wrong spot, you will get a $65 ticket.
I had been fighting a sickness all weekend, but still could not pass up this small window of opportunity occurring here only twice a year to capture and witness something spectacular.We were there the night before this image, and there was a media circus there. Literally. The Channel 10 news crew was there to film a guy putting on a light painting show using a pixelstick to add to all of the photographers crowded in hoping to see some magic with the setting sun. I made the comment that we "were all truly paparazzi photogs waiting to catch that rare photo of out favorite star" ;) The weather did not cooperate and the sunset was flat with the sun partially obstructed...I was sick and just went home and did not stay for the light painting show.

Monday (the night of this photograph), I had to make a delivery of three of my newest large pieces to the Fallbrook Artist Guild Show, and then friend and fellow photog, Jeff Deveau and The Dude, and I headed down to the pier to take another shot at it for the second night in a row. We arrived about 5:30pm, two hours before sunset to find only two others there (both upstanding great fellow photogs). We were NOT disappointed. It was a perfect setting with only a handful of other photographers there (all very cool and great group to chat with while we waited), a perfect level of the tide coming in to keep the sand extra reflective, great clouds--a nice cloud cover that was NOT on the horizon to block the sun, and the sun aligned underneath almost perfectly. It was centered and just barely touching the top of the window.. We knew that the placement of the sun was better the previous night, but half of it was obscured by a cloud deck...For this night, I could not have asked for a better night, other than maybe having the spot all to myself (impossible pipe dream) and NOT getting an annoying parking ticket for parking in a place that was on the UCSD campus but I was assured was safe and never checked for parking passes. Um, Yeah, $65 wrong call..oh well... ;)

I wanted to create another composition, but unfortunately I did not bring my spikes for my Dolica tripod so I could drill it deep into the sand (I was sick and forgot them for the second night in a row like a doofus). As a result, my tripod moved a couple times making it impossible for me to create my first vision from two images...but this one did not come out too bad, I am quite happy with it.

I have long called the end of this pier as the "Magic Door" and this title is derived from my idea of this mixed with the sun dropping right in to align in the middle for this image. It is pretty cool to watch and witness and the sun comes down in from from the south to the north at an angle of about 70 degree or so as the sun is setting in all it glory of color.

Camera settings: ISO-100, 29mm at f/8 for 29 seconds using two Lee Proglass ND filters (.9ND and 1.8ND) to block down the light 9 stops. image was captured just before sunset at 7:23pm as the sun was in the upper middle of the "window" at the end of Scripps Pier

I hope this message and image find you well.


#San Diego #Scripps #Pier #LaJolla #Sunset #Alignment #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24-70mm #Dolica #Tripods #Lee #Filters #Little stopper #ND #ND Grad #LE #LongExposure #Expressionist #Impressionist

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