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14 Aug 2018
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Sunsets might be the biggest cliche in photography, but they’re still fun to take. According to data recently gathered by SpaSeekers, a whopping 286 million images of sunsets were uploaded to Instagram over the last year.

There's something about a beautiful sunset that makes the travel experience complete, so we’re here to help you capture amazing sunsets at Seabrook by outlining some basic photography tips as well as identifying some great places to capture a beautiful sunset picture.

But first, what is the Golden Hour?

The Golden Hour refers to that brief period of time when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky: just before the sunsets and right after it rises.

However, photographing the Golden Hour light requires a specific set of skills and knowledge. When the sun is near the horizon line and provides you with that sharp angle of light, it not only produces strong shadows and highlights, but it also improves the texture of your scene.

Here are some of our basic photography tips to help you capture Seabrook's sunset better, including some locations to snap your photo:

TIP #1: Scout the location

The key to taking good photos at sunset is to study the position of the sun. Golden Hour is usually the best time, but it doesn’t last long. Arrive at your spot at least 30 minutes before and scout the location. What you want to look for is how the sun interacts with the surroundings. So, if possible, go to the same spot several times to find the best point-of-view.

TIP #2: Use your tripod

If you have one, use a tripod. Do not shoot at high ISO levels. If there aren’t any clouds in the sky, hide the sun behind trees so that the rays pass through a kind of frame. 

TIP #3: Underexpose

This might be the most important tip when taking pictures of sunsets. Slightly underexposing the sunset will make the colors look more vibrant and defined. The whole scene will become more dramatic. You can underexpose by using manual mode and selecting a fast shutter speed.

TIP #4: Creating silhouettes

To create silhouettes in the foreground, just speed up your shutter speed and you'll have a silhouette. The secret to taking good silhouette shots is to find a subject with fine details that will let the sun shine through it and that has a recognizable shape. If you use something too big as the silhouette, it will take away from the picture since it's just a large area of blackness.

TIP #5: Create a starburst effect

Before the sun actually sets, stop down your lens's aperture to a high value such as f/22 to make the rays of the sun more clear. It will give the sun a starburst effect. 

Now that you have some basic photography tips, let's talk about some great places to snap an amazing sunset picture at Seabrook. For this exercise, we will use photos taken by Seabrook homeowner and super skilled photographer, Michael Palermiti. 

LOCATION #1: Main path to the beach

Camera Setting: ISO 400 | 70mm | f/7.1 | 1/80 sec.

Here is a perfect sunset picture capturing the beautiful blue, orange, and pink hues. What makes this picture more interesting is the cloud cover and haze in the air. Washington state had some major wildfires in the summer of 2017 which created a unique canvass for the setting sun. In addition to the sky, this picture also captures Seabrook's iconic Arbor heading down to the Pacific Ocean which adds another layer to this amazing photo.

Location: This photo was taken along the main walkway that leads to the ocean across from the Sunset Amphitheater. More specifically, heading to the beach from town, take the walkway down and cross SR-109. As soon as you cross the street, there is a little "pull-off" on your left. This is the perfect little area to set up your tripod and attempt to recreate the image above or capture your piece of Heaven in a picture.

LOCATION #2: Pacific Glen Walkway

Camera Settings: ISO 400 | 24mm | f/9.0 | 1/60 sec.

This is a gorgeous picture and a great learning tool for other photographers. Sometimes, on a clear and beautiful night when the sun is setting, there isn't much interesting going on in the sky. When there aren't any clouds in the sky, the trick is to look away from the sunset and observe the other colors and hues. In this picture, Michael uses the homes in the Pacific Glen neighborhood as his subject capturing the colors of the blue sky as the sun fades below the horizon. Another element about this picture that you can recreate is the composition. If your picture isn't interesting enough, get closer. In this picture, Michael got close enough to the homes where the first home fills up the screen and they get smaller as they get further away from the lens. What a beautiful picture.

Location: This photo was taken along the Pacific Glen neighborhood walkway that fronts the ocean. Heading to the ocean from Market Street, cross SR-109 onto Pacifica Lane. As you walk as if you're heading down to the beach, the Pacific Glen neighborhood walkway will be on your right. Follow the oystershell path along the white fence and as soon as you get to the end of the path, turnaround to see the image Michael captured in his shot above.

LOCATION #3: Northwest Glen Walkway

Camera Settings: ISO 200 | 24mm | f/16 | 1/100 sec.

Here is another gorgeous picture Michael took of the sun setting at Seabrook. The sky was perfectly blue that day, not a cloud to be seen. To create an interesting scene, Michael encorporated the trees from some cool lighting effects. You can also see the really cool "starburst" effect created by the position and light manipulation of the photographer. A key takeaway from this photo is - if there aren't any clouds in the sky, shift the focus to a subject in the foreground while the sun sets in the background.

Location: To capture this image, Michael positioned himself along the Northwest Glen neighborhood walkway along the bluff. To get there from town, head down Front Street and cross SR-109 into the Northwest Glen neighborhood. Continue walking straight where you will see a Pomenade. Walk straight down that path where you'll be greeted by picnic tables, benches, and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

Now that you know how to take a sunset pictures; and now that you know where in Seabrook is the best place to take a sunet picture, get out there and start taking pictures. And when you've captured that perfect sunset picture, upload it to your Instagram account using the hashtag #SeabrookSunsets for your chance to win a two-night stay in the Red Sunset House. Learn more about our Sunset Instagram photo contest here.