FINALLY!!  The clouds have dispersed!  The rain has stopped!  I have laid down my ark building tools and picked up my camera!

While eating lunch yesterday, I noticed what I thought to be a slight break in the cloud formations that had literally drenched the Southern California area for nearly a week.  As I continued to monitor the situation, I soon realized that indeed, this was the beginning of the end! 

Thinking quickly (for there was no time to lose) I assessed my situation!  It was three days before Christmas, the campus was void of students, everyone was in a festive spirit – sure, I thought, I can slip out of here and head to the beach for some photographic adventure!  I’ll never be missed!  My boss is distracted by the holiday and will never know!  Wait a minute…do I even have a boss??  Hmm…I hope he’s not reading this right now!  No…I’m pretty sure…I don’t think I have a boss!  Wait a minute…maybe I AM the boss!  Could that be??  No time to sort through that – I must leave and I must leave now!!!!

Arriving at Huntington beach about an hour before sunset, I packed my gear to the beach and began to set up and take some pre-sunset shots.

When I arrived, there was one other photographer who seemed to have the same idea – with the rain dissipating, this could be a fantastic sunset!  He was about 50 yards further down the beach from my position – no problem. 

Over the next 30 minutes, I was joined on the beach by no less that 20 additional photographers.  Like ants emerging from an anthill, they were all scrambling for the ideal position.  My idea of a leisure photo shoot had just been shattered!  Now even though I’m new to this photography profession, I’m “Old School” enough to believe if another professional is set up for their shot, you need to find your preferred set-up spot out of their line of sight!  In other words, you don’t get directly in front of me and begin to set up your equipment!  If you want that position, then arrive early enough to get it!

Apparently, there is no photography etiquette left in the world!  Or, at least there wasn’t any on this particular evening! 

So, what did I do?  Well, I would like to say I went over to the gentleman and very politely asked him if he could change his perspective so as not to be in my shot.  Or, I would like to say that I walked over to him, picked up his camera and proceeded to beat him over the head with it until he understood what it meant to be professional.  (Just kidding on that last one…I think)  But no, I chose to change my perspective and let him have this spot.

I don’t know if there is an ethics code among photographers, but I certainly would never do what this gentleman did.  So I say this: If you’re out there determined to capture that perfect shot, take care of the habitat you’re visiting, be kind to other photographers trying to capture their shot, and pick up after yourself!  If that’s not our code – I strongly suggest it should be!

Thank you – my rant is over!

Oh…by the way, I thought I still captured a nice shot of a beautiful sunset at the end of a major rainstorm!  It’s somewhat rare to see the sun as it slips behind Catalina Island to the west.  Maybe this was the better perspective after all!


~ by photographyfree4all on December 23, 2010.


  1. absolutely beautiful!!!!!! I would love to purchase that photo!! One of our favorite places to eat while visiting! 🙂 Have family photos inside of that restaraunt when jolynn was a baby. Beautiful how God orchestrates all those fabulous colors!!! HE surely is AWESOME! Thank you for sharing! Miss you all!!!!


  2. That’s a beautiful sunrise, Steve. It is a shame that there are so many rude people in this world. However, most professional photographer know better than to do what that guy did. He was probably just a rank amateur. Personally, when that many people show up, I fade away and try to find another shooting position where I can get a shot that no one else will think of. I wouldn’t know what you could do in the situation, as I wasn’t there and know nothing of your surrounding. But, at least, you came away with a good shot.

    What you might do is before you go again, drive up the road for a mile or two the day before. Just do a recon trip and look for places that might provide you with a perspective to get that unusual sunrise.

    I do that quite a lot. If I want to photograph some scene that I have in my mind, I take a drive to check things out, like what direction is the sun, what can I put in the foreground, should I pick out an elevated position, etc. When I can answer those questions, I can go back better prepared.



  3. I have a friend that is shooting concerts and bands and she can tell a myriad of stories how the wannabes behave in the photopit. Not nice…It’s a tough world out there…


  4. Absolutely stunning shot, Steve! Perfect composition and colours! The geometric form of the pier has a lot of presence in the photo and contrasts excellently with the beutiful, torn clouds. I find it almost oppressive, yet beautiful!
    I have to agree with you in your “rant” against such a selfish and disrespectful photographer! I know ther aren’t any written ethic rules in photography, but I normally allow myself to think there’s a certain amount of mutual recognition and respect that is, if anything, only human! In fact I tend to think this social code is so basic it doesn’t need to be written down! Still, I’d say you didn’t do a bad job finding another spot, given the excellent result!
    Aside from that, I’m amazed that there could be so many photographers at the same spot at the same time! I’ve never been in any situation like that before myself, I suppose everything’s different in a city the size of LA!
    Excellent post and again, brilliant shot!


  5. Hi Misty! It’s hard to photograph all the beauty of a sunset and not think about the hand of God! Thank you for your kind words here! It’s funny how a picture can trigger those memories…they were good times! I’ll get you the information about the print via email ASAP! Have a wonderful Christmas!


  6. What was I thinking? 🙂 I meant “sunset”. I think I was standing upside down when I wrote that.



  7. Reading this post I am absolutely convinced that you are the boss! And you apparently have met a bunch of other bosses, who all have chosen to celebrate Christmas photographing this beautiful scene.
    White Christmas as here – I see that you do not have in California;-) I wish you a Merry Christmas anyway – I wish we could swap weather!


  8. I agree. I realize everyone wants a good shot. That’s why you get there early and choose your perspective. You come late – take what’s left or come another time…earlier. That’s what I say! Thanks, Anna! I always appreciate your comments. Merry Christmas!


  9. Would love to swap weather…for a day or two, Truels! I love your deductive reasoning! Great comment. Happy Holidays!


  10. I would hope there is still common courtesy left out there! I was in Seattle last Sunday taking some skyline shots and there were only 5 other photogs out there. When I left, I made sure to turn off my headlights (they were standing directly in front of my car) as to not blow their shot! Just know, there are some of us left out there!!


  11. Unfortunately, professional photographers are some of the rudest people I know. They seem to feel ordained by St. Ansel or St. Helmut to get “the shot” and all others be damned!
    It might have been interesting to grab a shot of the photo feeding frenzy.
    As usual, your photos are quite lovely.


  12. Oh, Steve, don’t get me started!! I’ve come across rude and inconsiderate photographers as well as rude and inconsiderate public! When you have gear like I have and you are set up for a shot it is pretty obvious. HOWEVER, I am still amazed at how many people, including other photographers, who will walk, or even STAND right in front of my camera! How I react depends upon the shot I am going for and the mood I am in. It can range from a polite ‘Excuse me, but could you get out of my shot?’ to ‘Hey! Do you mind??’ Now, I am not a large woman and I find the shock of this rather petite person shouting at them is enough to shame them into moving. But there are the times I’ve completely given up and just packed up and walked away. I would NEVER impose on another photogs shot! If someone else has gotten there first, well, I concede the spot to them and look for my own.

    Rant ended. 🙂

    Gorgeous sunset! Merry Christmas!


  13. I think you have given some great ideas here, Bob! There have been many times I know I should have done more prep work to locate alternate perspectives – just in case. I’m starting to do that more often now, especially on a planned shoot! But, this particular vantage point is crucial for two reasons: 1) there are several offshore oil rigs in the proximity which necessitates a creative photographer to work around their presence. 2) You are restricted to a relatively short distance in order to capture the sun setting and include the pier in the shot. That’s why there is a scramble for position here. What made this worse was the fact that a rain storm was moving out and everyone was thinking the same thing – there’s going to be some great cloud formations reflecting the setting sun. but, it is what it is. I did the best I could and think I’m pretty happy with the results. Thanks for a great comment here, Bob! You know I always appreciate your expertise! I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas, Bob!


  14. Great comment, kai! Thank you for your kind evaluation of this shot! It’s interesting – when I came home I really didn’t think I had anything that good. needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded the shots! I actually have several images I’m pleased with! I’ve come to the place where I’m going to respect those who are trying to get their shot, even though that same respect may not be returned. I’m not going to become something unpleasant just to get a shot! Thanks for your comments, Kai! They are always great!! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!


  15. Did you start a little early with the Christmas egg nog, Bob?? I love your humor, though! 🙂


  16. Thank you for giving us all hope, David! I pretty sure these rude photogs are the exception, and not the rule! I try to be as considerate as I can possibly be when I’m in a group like this. Thanks for sharing this comment. I think your comments are always very good! Thanks, and Merry Christmas!


  17. Thank you for sharing this comment, Steve! I think it’s a great comment! I believe your statement is sad – but, true. However, I refuse to become part of that community of rudeness! I do love your humor – I had to chuckle at St. Ansel! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words regarding these images, too! Have a wonderful holiday!


  18. I bet you got the best shot of all. It’s breathtaking. 🙂

    I’ve noticed a similar lack of etiquette on some occasions whereas there have been other occasions (while waiting to get shots of steam engine) when I arrived early and the other photographers were kind enough to arrange themselves around me so as not to get in my shots.


  19. Thank you for your kind words, Robin! I don’t know if it is the best of the night, but I like what I ended up with! Merry Christmas, Robin!


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