The Varieties of Sunset Experience

I’m not obsessed with sunsets over Lake Merritt—really, I’m not!—but it’s hard to resist pulling out a camera whenever I happen to walk the dog over to Lakeshore Avenue in late afternoon. And when the pictures turn out well, then it’s hard to resist posting them online.

That many of the sunsets from the east side of the lake are beautiful goes without saying, but what has struck me as I’ve photographed them over the months is their wide variety, depending on the season and the clouds and the temperature and presumably other changes in atmospheric conditions. So we sometimes get lurid splashes of color, sometimes golden halos, sometimes ominous skies, and sometimes serene reflected light.

There was no thrilling sunset through this evening’s rain, but last night’s is shown above. To be honest, my camera (or its operator, perhaps) failed to capture the color properly—it was, I think, more violet and less orange, but no less impressive. Possibly the color accuracy could be fixed if I knew more about editing digital photos, but the color as it came out of the camera will have to suffice for now.

9 Responses to “The Varieties of Sunset Experience”

  1. Gene says:

    great pic! my p&s had problems with the color, too

  2. dc says:

    Yeah, mine was taken with my point & shoot too. Curious what the color would have looked like in my DSLR (which is also a different brand). I haven’t noticed any more color problems on my p&s than my DSLR in general, but the p&s did seem to struggle with that sunset for some reason.

  3. wordnerd says:

    It was just flaming orange here yesterday, no violet (seen from the top of Corey Hill when we finished snowboarding and tobagonning).

  4. scotty says:

    great shot. there’s never too many photos of lake merritt or the bay. it seems like the light and the colors evolve every minute.

  5. jabel says:

    Beautiful shot.If that doesn’t make you want to twist one and light up nothing does.

  6. Gene says:

    I finally got around to posting one of my shots of the same sunset:

    It was the best of the ones I took, both in composition (some had my neighbor’s shortwave antenna in them) and closest to what I saw the colors as. Other ones ended up too red, or washed out but with nice violet tones.

  7. wordnerd says:

    Is violet sunset a California thing?

  8. unique distance from isolation says:

    Nice one. I’ve never seen sunsets like the ones I saw in California. Not even the chemical ones across the Hudson could compete. Is it possible that there’s something different out there–or am I just mistaken?

  9. Lexica says:

    I highly encourage this non-obsession. 🙂

    Have you ever looked the other direction at sunset, to the east? The “belt of Venus” ( can be amazing at times.

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