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Photo Tips 1 - Cozumel Sunsets
C.J. Gustafson, Freelance Writer and Photographer


Cozumel has some of the most beautiful sunsets to be found on earth. Not only do you get an amazing display of colors, but the overall color tone changes from one night to the next.

It could be a pink sunset, then a purple, then orange. You never know. There are usually some clouds to add interest, and if you're lucky, you might get a cruise ship or smaller boat in the shot as well.

Tips for Getting the Best Sunset Pictures!
  • Get there early and be ready to shoot
    The sun sets FAST on Cozumel. You can actually see it dropping. Late afternoon often provides opportunities for some great shots of the sunrays splintering through the clouds. You usually have about 15 or 20 minutes from the time the sky starts to color nicely until the sun is completely gone. Scout it out ahead of time and try to decide where and when the best shots are.

    At the very least, carry your camera with you when you go take that evening walk on the beach. So many people have missed the sunset completely because they were running back to the car for the camera.

  • Watch for glare
    If you shoot directly into the sun, even at sunset, you can get small light dots showing up in your photos. This is especially true if you're taking water shots. We're not really sure what part of the photo process causes these glare spots, but most people don't like them in their photos. (I personally think they can add to an image under the right circumstances) Usually, if you look carefully, you can see the glare in the viewfinder before you take the shot. You can lessen the glare by moving the angle of the camera, using a lens hood or shading the top of the lens with your hand if possible (just don't get your fingers in the shot). Here is an example of a shot with glare spots.

  • Consider an east coast sunset

    Obviously, you don't get the same rainbow of colors with an east coast sunset. But you do get some pretty cool light pinks and blues. The waves are usually starting to get nice and big around that time of day, and most of the people have already headed back to town.

    So you get the shot that few tourists ever do. For more advanced photo fanatics, the lower light and an adjustable shutter speed provide opportunities for some great shots of dreamy looking waves spilling onto beautifully lit coral formations or uninhabited sandy beaches. I've only included basic skill shots here, but you can check out my website http://c.j.gustafson.tripod.com to see examples using these more advanced techniques.

  • Try some silhouette shots
    As the sun begins to drop below the horizon, the light decreases and you can get some really nice silhouette shots of palms, boats, people, or other objects with recognizable outlines.

    In a silhouette shot, the low light hides the detail of the object in the front, making it almost completely black. This lets you include the object (and increase interest) while keeping the focus on the beautiful sunset. See an example of a silhouette sunset.

  • Enjoy!
    Don't get so caught up in getting the perfect shot that you forget to stop and look at the amazing spectacle before you. We only get so many great sunsets in our lives.

  • NOTE: If your film is 200-speed or less, you might want to find a level, stable place to set your camera or use a tripod for the really low-light shots. Even small hand movements can blur the picture if you are in low light with a slower speed film.

    Embrace the light!

    C.J.
    Other Interesting Perspectives and Tips by CJ you might Enjoy!
     Spicy Travels - Introduction
    Romance, adventure, good food, hot dancing, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on the island of Cozumel!
     Spicy Travels 1 - The Iguana Adventure
    He's little, he's cute, he doesn't bite me, and he eats mosquitoes and other bugs. I'm on a Caribbean island with no worries. Let it go. It is all part of the adventure - but what an experience!
     Spicy Travels 2 - Moonlight Dance Adventure
    These are the times in your life where you have to tell yourself that times like these seldom come along in life and you can't let them slip by because you're embarrassed or nervous or afraid.
     Spicy Travels 3 - Language Learning Adventure
    My adventure reminded me that there is common ground when it comes to language on Cozumel, with both tourists and locals wanting to learn how to better communicate.
     Spicy Travels 4 - Barracuda Adventure
    Suddenly I saw a large shadow move across the ocean floor and I looked over expecting to see another snorkeler swimming alongside.
     Travel Tip 1 - Cozumel is a State of Mind
    There's something about a Caribbean island that is just fundamentally different from the rest of the world. This definitely true of Cozumel!
     Travel Tip 2 - Always Bring Music
    I've learned through my travels that music can set the tone and enhance the enjoyment of almost any activity on the island.
     Travel Tip 3 - Learn Spanish
    Although many people on the island speak English quite well, there have been numerous instances where I was glad to know some Spanish.
     Travel Tip 4 Ė Explore Cozumelís Underwater World
    Donít let fear of the unknown keep you from experiencing Cozumel's beautiful underwater world. This truly is one of the most unforgettable aspects of the island and there is more than one way to experience this!
     Photo Tips - Introduction
    The endless supply of subjects, the beautiful lighting, and constant activity make photograhing Cozumel basically effortless
     Photo Tips 2 - Hit the Tourist Spots
    Don't avoid the tourist spots completely because they provide some good photo opportunities as well as fun activities - all in one location!
     Photo Tips 3 - Walk Don't Ride (At Least Part of the Way)
    It has been my experience that very rarely do you get good Cozumel pictures riding in the back seat of a taxi cab.
     Photo Tips 4 - San Miguel & the West Coast
    Taking pictures in town can be a bit of a challenge because there is usually so much activity. But thatís what makes it so interesting!


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