After checking the weather forecast and discovering that it would be completely overcast by dawn, I decided to get up early anyway (like 4 a.m. early) with my 14 year old son Moses and make the drive down to Marina del Rey to try to shoot the Fisherman’s Village from across the marina. I figured if the sky was not clear there would still be enough interest in the image that it wouldn’t matter. By the time we got there, however, we discovered that the sky was mostly clear except for some coverage to the East, so we set up thinking we may get that sunrise after all. It was a bit difficult to get a good angle on the fisherman’s village at the marina because apparently yachters are not morning people, and all the spaces where they were “parked” in front of us were taken up. Also, there was a plethora of wires, posts and other various things blocking the view. After getting a shot of a swanky yacht and a few images of the village I started to notice the early morning light reflecting off the clouds. Not completely satisfied by the compositions I was getting, I wondered if this was the best place to hang around for the sunrise, assuming we would get one. I could either stick around and be sure to get the best possible image of the Fisherman’s Village, or find another shot nearby. I knew we were only about 5 minutes away from the Venice Beach Canals, so I made the executive decision to pack up and head over, having never been there, hoping to find the best spot before this potential sunrise sprung on us (still not knowing for sure it would). We got to the canals with enough time to park and rush to the bridges. Fortunately, though I had never been there, I had surveyed the area in Google Earth and knew where to park and where to look for the best compositions. It wasn’t hard.
There are bridges that overlook the canals and it’s a breathtaking view down every one of them. We ran from the car to the first bridge, looked down it and took a few images just in case we lost what blue hour light we did have, then ran to the next bridge to check out the view. The houses along this row were not as charming and it was less interesting, so we booked it to the last bridge. It was a better shot, but not as good as the first. However, I set up to grab a quick shot and noticed that the sky had just started to turn pink. I knew it was on. We ran as fast as possible with all that gear and made our way back to the first bridge and started shooting like it was the OK corral. Every minute we were there, the sky got brighter pink and orange. I just kept firing away at the straight down the canal composition, and moved a bit and turned to the side to grab the houses on the right with the full sunset behind them. I’m still not sure which I like better, but this definitely turned out to be the best surprise sunrise I could have asked for.