There Goes the Sun

A day early when I visited Indian Rock in the rain, I had the summit to myself. At the last moment, the sun cleared for a great skyscape.

There were no clouds today, and the crowds had gathered for the sunset show. There were couple nuzzling. There were couples eating sushi. There were people doing business on their phones. There were dogs all over the place, kids scrambling around, and parents yelling at their kids. There were a couple of bicycles that had been carried to the top of the rock. A circle of “dudes” passed a reefer and a bottle in a brown bag around. Two different radios played. In two words: serenity not.

I could see that for me this sunset was going to be a one-trick pony. Oh, all sunsets are grand and worthy of obesiance. But without a cloud in the sky, the sun was going down quickly like a fiery ball. That fiery ball in the context of the Golden Gate Bridge was the only photo for me.

Without about ten minutes to go, I looked around for a place to set up my tripod and long lens. The only place I could see–considering the crowded, partying condition of the top of the rock–was the very pinnacle. I clambered over someone and up, and found a way to perch my tripod securely. I placed my equipment backpack on the one flat spot, and perched myself somewhat insecurely between the legs of the tripod.

Someone called out, “Don’t fall off!”

One of the dudes said, “Yo! Vertigo!”

A kid climbed up from the drop behind me. The dude called, “If you’re goin’ to fall, grab the tripod!” The kid’s father started yelling at the kid to get off the cliff and come to safety.

I postioned the long lens on the tripod, and then attached my camera.

Golden Gate sunset

Then the sun was setting in its assigned fiery ball of flame. I took my photos at 600mm in 35mm equivalence, later cropped in a bit in Photoshop, taking care to review results in the LCD rather than looking straight through the long lens at sun (this can damage your eyes).

A few minutes after sunset almost everybody was gone from the rock. It was quiet and serene once more. I got off the high spot carefully, packed up my kit, and carried some of the detritus left behind by the sushi eaters to the trash cans below.

Almost Gone

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