Yesterday I visited a nearby beach, and while I was mostly taking pictures with my DSLR, I also took a quick snapshot of the sunset with my phone. I posted it to Facebook, and many of my friends liked it. Here is the image I posted:

I wanted to talk a little bit about the differences between snapshots, like the one I took with my phone, and the artwork I can create from the so-called raw images I capture in my DSLR. I should mention, that there are lots of artists who create beautiful art pieces from their phone shots using apps on their phones. I don’t do this.

First of all, I was able to create the above shot because I had planned a beach visit with the perfect timing for photos. I got lucky with the clouds, but the low tide I had known about, and this trip to the beach had been planned for a few weeks. If you happened to be there and turned your phone or point and shoot camera towards the sky, you probably would have taken a similar image. Maybe I composed it a bit better than others, but here is the reason why: I was standing at this place, because I had carefully searched for a spot to take images from. As I was taking many well planned shots with my “big camera”, I also created this quick snapshot with my phone.

Now, let’s get back to the planned shoot. I had done my research about the low tide (with my favorite iPhone app called Tide Graph), and I also checked on the sunset time. For this, you can just do a quick search on the web, or use an app called TPE. Yesterday, these two lined up pretty well, and I went to a beach I had recently discovered in Laguna Beach, Wood’s Cove. I’ve learned about this beach when I was scouting for new locations for my fine art children’s and family portraiture (Inspired by Now Photography.) My plan also included using long exposure times for the images, because I wanted to show the water silky and smooth. I used an ND filter to achieve this. Having clouds in the sky was the only thing I couldn’t plan for; I just got lucky yesterday.