“Langdon Beach, Gulf Island National Seashore” by Robin Conover, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV EF 24–70 mm at 24 mm, 2.8 L IS USM lens ISO 60th, f11 at 1/640 second, Gitzo tripod
Visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the fall can be such a treat. On a recent trip, summer’s temperatures had retreated, and the skies were crystal clear but for a few passing clouds. Each day brought the chance of an incredible display of light and color with the rising and setting sun.
I returned to Langdon Beach in the Fort Pickens area of Florida four nights in a row just before sunset. Each time, I hoped to find an interesting composition with a brilliant sunset. Cloudless skies on the first three nights led to somewhat boring photographs. On the fourth, I almost didn’t go. But then I noticed some clouds beginning to form to the south and decided to hustle back to the beach.
As I walked barefoot in the sand, sea oats silhouetted against the empty sky drew my attention. As the clouds to the left were building, I hoped they would be illuminated with a warm sunset glow. The sun quickly dipped below the horizon, and the colors intensified to a golden orange for about 10 minutes before quickly fading into the evening sky.
I loved witnessing and photographing this fleeting moment of the day at its peak — truly “golden hour” light at its best. A few others were on the beach with me to witness this perfect end to the day. Everyone was quiet and still for a few minutes.
As I soaked in the last light of the day, I could only hear the rhythm of the rolling waves, feel the warm sand beneath my feet and see the sea oats on the dunes sway in the ocean breeze.
The sand, waves and sun always provide a place for me to clear my mind and cleanse my soul.