An item on my bucket list was to photograph a harbor full of boats. Of course, I want to accomplish this at night. Considering I live about 2-3 hours from the closest ocean port, I can’t just run down there and try to get a nice shot at night with the right weather. As you can imagine, on the northern California and southern Oregon coast, there tends to be a lot of fog, rain, etc., especially during the winter months. With the end of 2019 approaching rapidly and my assistant (son-in-law Francis) getting ready to move back to England, I felt there was no time like the present to check this off the list.
I had gone to this harbor this past summer and thought I might be able to get some photos then, but without success. The harbor was close to the motel we were staying at, but the majority of the boats were apparently out fishing or something as there were hardly any docked at the harbor. This time there were high sea warnings issued, so I hoped more boats would be in the harbor.
To try and get the most out of the trip, I thought I would throw in a photo stop at the Redwoods National Park to get the biggest bang out of the trip. The plan was to stop by the Redwoods on the way to the coast, take some photographs with the towering trees first. Then go to the coast and grab some dinner. After dinner it should be dark so try and see if I can get some nice compositions of boats in the harbor. I even thought maybe I could make it to the coast and possibly get the harbor with some sunset photos before dinner.
Without going into great detail, I completely misjudged sunset time. I know I should have done a better job of planning, including checking numerous apps and sites for the actual sunset time – but I didn’t. So we made it to the Redwoods when it started to get dark. Needless to say, my photos of the big trees were less than desirable. At least Francis was able to get some photos of what he needed amongst the Redwoods, so all was not a loss.
While driving to a local restaurant for dinner, we passed by the harbor and I was relieved there were plenty of boats docked. After we filled our bellies, I parked next to the harbor and out came the camera and tripod. The docks were very accessible and everyone I passed was nice and friendly. I spent a while here and took many photographs. The skies were mostly cloudy with the partial moon sticking out occasionally but not casting too much light on the scene.
Even though the water appeared very calm, I was surprised how much the boats were still moving. Some more than others even though they were right next to each other. So I really had to check my photos to see if a boat hadn’t moved too much. At the end of the session, I was very pleased with what I photographed and it made the whole trip worthwhile (except the Redwoods of course.)