Late Afternoon Light on Laguna Beach

Late Afternoon Light on Laguna Beach

One of many beautiful coves at picturesque Laguna Beach

This is going to sound really “artsy”, but there really is something unique about the quality of light at Laguna Beach. Yes, I’m an East Coast guy so I’m used to beach sunrises instead of sunsets. But, there is something different about Laguna Beach. Perhaps it’s the air quality (or lack thereof because of the smog in southern California), the type of sand, the cloud layers, or some other element, but there is something unique about the light.

Whatever it is, the light is beautiful. The golden hours seem a bit longer and the conditions are perfect longer than just about anywhere else I have visited. I really love to be up 30 minutes before sunrise and to stay out until about that long after sunset. Of course the light goes harsh at midday as it does in most other locations, but when it is right it is just flat-out beautiful.

This image was also taken just below our hotel. There are many small coves along the beach near Laguna Beach and Laguna Niguel. Some of those coves are only accessible from the cliffs above or by boat. Many can be accessed from adjoining coves at low tide but become isolated at high tide. This particular cove is at the end of a long stretch of sandy beach and is easily accessible.

To get this shot, I found a spot where the incoming tide would be prominent in the shot and would let me showcase the beauty of the Laguna Niguel and Laguna Hills area. The sun was about an hour away from setting and the light was turning warm and golden. I shot a series of images looking for the right exposure length to give the sense of the waves in action while not turning the ocean to a milky consistent texture. As it turned out the magic combination was 0.6 seconds at f/20.

On a night when it is going down to sixteen degrees (that’s cold here in the South!) and snow flurries are flying outside my home, I’d love to be walking the warm beaches of southern California this afternoon. Enjoy!

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