This past weekend I got to spend some time in the beautiful Santa Barbara county area, specifically Goleta, which is where you’ll find Ellwood pier located just a hair to the west of the city. Goleta in turn is about 8 miles west of Santa Barbara at the base of the Santa Ynez mountains and the beach is south-westerly facing which is ideal for catching the setting sun while looking along the coast.
For me a perfect sunset has to have cloud. There’s nothing more boring than a photo of a sunset with a perfectly clear sky, clouds add more drama and color when the sun hits them right, and can alter the ambient light and create some nice pinks and oranges on the ground and in water reflections. So upon arriving in Santa Barbara on the Saturday I kept monitoring the skies in anticipation of my shoot that afternoon. After shopping in SB we found the beach relatively easily, we had to cross a stream running into the sea which was a little nerving with all my equipment round my neck, however we arrived at the pier dry and ready to shoot at around 4.15pm.
The shoot went well, I maximized what little time I had once the sun goes down and got some great shots with my Canon and Leica. The straight shots out of the Leica were pleasing but it was my Canon 5D and 17-40mm lens with a polarizer and 8x neutral density filter that really worked out for me. I have been rather spoiled lately with my Leica and its amazing image quality, so I was surprised when editing the images just how well the canon did.
Once the sun went below the horizon at about 5.12pm the clouds in the sky turned from orange to pink and allowed me to capture some lovely images which hopefully comes across in the images above. Elwood pier is a great place to shoot a sunset and I highly recommend taking the time to find it if you’re out Santa Barbara way.