The Picture Perfect Project {{1}} - Sunsets

The inaugural post of The Picture Perfect Project is upon us! It doesn't seem possible we are already recapping parts of 2016, but alas, here we are.

When I was first trying to decide what I wanted my objective to be for the first installment of TPPP a million ideas raced through my head:
Did I want to focus on technique? No, not just yet. 
Did I want to dedicate most of my photos to my kids? Well, I basically already do. I mean, I take hundreds of photos of Marcus and Julia on any given day, but I figured maybe I'd wait to focus my attention on those two for another day/month. 
Then it hit me smack dab in the middle of driving home one evening. 
The sky. 
As I was driving home with a magnificent canvas of brilliant colors above me I knew I wanted to focus my efforts of this particular recap on sunsets. It seems California has a season for good sunsets (of which I'm obsessed), and wouldn't you know it, right now happens to be that time.

My favorite spot to catch the sun setting is by the ocean. Naturally. However, getting to the ocean (which is all of 5 miles from our house) at 4:45pm - with two kids - proved to be perhaps the biggest challenge when it came to capturing a pretty sunset. I was hoping to get down to the water more than I did. But, lucky for me, there were two evenings where I was able to sneak away for some breathtaking sky displays. 

Evening #1 by the water:
 I haven't done much shooting with my newest lens, the AF Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm. These two shots were using that lens.
While the clouds were sparse and wispy, they were just enough to add some depth and color to the sky. I also love that when you look out from the beach you can see Catalina Island off in the distance. The island seems to help break up the endless sea and sky scape. 

Night #2 by the water:
Back at the same beach, this time using my AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm (which is what I use to take most of my photos).
I was amazed at how differently the sky was painted simply by looking in different directions, or by just waiting a few minutes the sky would change to a completely different color. 
There are jagged rocks off the coast, and when the waves hit hard enough a massive spray is produced. I'd love to learn a little more about how to better capture moving water so it looks less blurry and more like it's actually moving.
The difference in color in these two photos blows my mind. The pictures were taken minutes apart. The top photo has a much warmer feel, while the bottom photo comes off as much cooler.
 And this shot, right as I was about to leave... The sky was just gorgeous.
*Disclaimer: I did not edit or touch up any of these photos in any way. 
So, this month was about sunsets, and simply playing around a bit with my new lens.
Next month I'd really like to pull out the 70-300 a little more so I can get better acquainted with that. The few photos I have taken with it are great, but I'd like to have a better feel for that lens. I'd also really like to take some time and catch a tutorial or two on getting out of automatic mode and start doing some shooting in manual mode. I don't know what it is, but the idea of manual mode intimidates me and skyrockets my anxiety.

Thoughts? Feedback? Tips on using either of the lenses I have? Favorite places to find tutorials? Let me know! I'm all ears. 

Now, how about you? Have any great captures from this month? I'd love to see! Link up with a host of great ladies, as well as myself, for The Picture Perfect Project. You can also join along on InstaGram using #ThePicturePerfectProject. 


  1. Such beautiful scenes! Live by the ocean is just gorgeous!


  2. Gorgeous photos! I love ocean/sunset shots like these.

  3. Great, GREAT shots! Wow!! You need to share your tips! ;)

  4. Such gorgeous captures! Love!

    I think that shooting manually seems so difficult in the beginning but just play around with it and soon it just becomes second nature!

  5. you live in the most beautiful place.
    these photos are also AWESOME!
    i totally want to learn my camera better too. and editing!
    but first, i need to find time to even shower. ugh.

  6. Woah!!! Amazing!! Can I please please please come live with you?! So gorgeous.

  7. Such great photos! We probably live pretty close to each other seeing as that I have almost that same view :) I just love Cali sunsets. So happy you joined up with the other ladies for this challenge, I don't think I would have found you otherwise! OH and to get that photo where it looks like the water is moving...need a tripod or something super stable, and then do a long shutters speed on your camera, well not longer than the wave of course, but a longer shutters speed will give you that effect. And that my friend is everything I know, haha!

  8. So pretty, I'm with Sara the idea of seeing views like that all the time is just amazing to me.

    Great job, I love that you picked a theme!

  9. Wow- those are just amazing! One of my teachers once told me that sunsets were God's paintings. So beautiful and you're so lucky to be so close to the ocean!

  10. You take breathtaking sky photos! That night shoot with the wave spray is fantastic! Please tell me you blow these up, print and display them in your home!

  11. So I must have missed a post about you doing this link up! I'd like to learn how to use my camera in a mode other than just 'auto', too. Are there prompts for this link up? Pretty pictures!

  12. Those are beautiful!! So lovely to live where the sky is so pretty. We have great sky in FL too but I found it was much more lackluster in Colorado. But I mean mountains - that was pretty awesome to see in the sky. My fave is the spray of ocean!

  13. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! Definitely don't have that view in Kansas (or Iowa)!

  14. Oh my! your images are absolutely stunning!! You're so lucky to live near the sea, it's one of my dreams. Thank you for sharing, hugs xx

  15. Oh my word...these pictures are amazing!! The sky will forever be one of my favorite things to photograph. But, I am totally jealous that you get amazing sunsets and the water!!!!