John Steinbeck is one of my favorite writers. In his great book, Cannery Row, he devotes an entire chapter to the quality of light an hour before the sun sets — what he called, “the hour of the pearl”. This has become deeply embedded in my neural network and whenever possible I like to head out either just before sunset or just after sunrise to take photos because of the soft special quality of the light.
This remains one of my favorite sunset photos. The day was rainy and cloudy on the southeast side of the Big Island of Hawaii and I had low expectations for viewing a sunset. But with about 30 minutes left before dark, the clouds began to break apart and we were left with this incredible view. The light in the image is completely natural — not altered in any way by filters. If you look closely you can see two of the biggest mountains in the world (as measured from their base on the ocean floor) silhouetted against the setting sun, Mauna Kea to the right and Mauna Loa to the left.
For a larger view of the photo click on the small image below. You can read more about the Hilo region on the Big Island here.
(Click on thumbnail to enlarge)