With sweat dripping down my face and a heavy camera dangling from a strap around my neck, I raced toward the sunset with a single thought …

“I have to get to the beach before the sun kisses the horizon!”

Did I make it?

Why wasn’t I there with plenty of time to spare?

Here’s the story ….

Last week, I treated myself to a sunset drive along Highway 1 on California’s Pacific Coast.

My destination was Shark Fin Cove in Davenport, CA — which, I had photographed a few months earlier on a foggy day.

As I drove along the Pacific Coast Highway, one eye was glued to the road while the other eye was constantly scanning the horizon for photo opportunities.

It was a magical night already.

Golden rays of light covered nearby fields, farms, and fauna with a warm yellow hue.

The ocean twinkled and glistened with blinding white light as the water reflected the sun.

I saw photos at every mile marker.

My mind told me to keep driving. My heart demanded I stop … many, many times.

By the time I arrived at Shark Fin Cove, the sun had almost reached the horizon.

My final destination was a rocky outcrop on the beach directly in front shark of the fin shaped rock that gives the cove its name.

But first, an entire world of photo opportunities awaited me on the cliff above the beach.

My mind was racing as quickly moved around the bluff — my finger furiously flicking the shutter of my Nikon D810 dSLR at every step.

🤔 Do I want to get the sun in?

🤔 Do I just want the horizon?

🤔 How much of the mountain should I tuck behind the rocks?

🤔 Do I want waves?

🤔 What happens if I go squat a little lower?

🤔 Maybe that woman in red will stand up and walk into the light.

This went on for about 10 minutes before I had a realization …


“The sun is about to dip below the horizon. I really want to be on the beach for that.”

With precious few moments left until sunset, I tossed my camera over my shoulder and ran down the slippery, sandy slope to the beach.

Sprinted across the wet beach …

Climbed up moss-covered rocks …

And arrived at my pre-planned photo spot — right at the magic moment when the sun kissed the horizon goodbye.





Maybe …

What if I moved a little over here?



That looks like a nice spot over there …


You get the idea.

The sunset’s color show was almost done before I finally slowed down.

Finally, after the sky faded from orange to dark blue, I took a breath and gifted myself the space to be still.

Photography is such a balance.

On one hand, photography is a meditative, zen-like experience.

As you look through the viewfinder, the world melts away … along with all your troubles.

Yet, when you succumb to the need to make every possible photo, it can make you frantic (as it did to me that night).

Being hyper-focused can take you out of the present moment. Sometimes, it even turns photography into a distraction from the world you’re documenting.

Can you relate?

Have you ever experienced this?

How do YOU find the balance between enjoying the moment and trying to ensure you get the “perfect shot?

Photos of Highway 1 and Shark Fin Cove in Davenport, CA