I looked at the beach camera and saw that the clouds were perfect for a sunset shoot! Two other thingsI had going for me were the tide and recent rainfall!

I’ve found the best sunset shots are when the low tide coincidences around sunset time. That way there is lots of beach exposed.

All the rain we’ve been getting lately bleeds out onto the beach making the the beach like a mirror!

So I rode out in a hurry as I decided to do this late in the day…… hour before sunset! By the time I got out there the clouds had moved in snuffing most of that great light!


I love sunsets…..sunrises too but am too lazy to get up that early. Besides,looking to the east here is poor. Too many trees and hills blocking sunrise! Plus the only body of water one could go for a sunrise is Kennedy lake and thats too far away.

I like shooting Chestermans beach (Chesty) at sunset.  I found out over the years what works and what doesn’t.

I need the right clouds,tide,lots of rain. The clouds need to be Goldi Loks…not too many (overcast) and not too few. The tide needs to be low around sunset,that way more beach is exposed. It needs to of rained for several days (easy in Tofino) and than break! The rain leaks out onto the beach creating a huge mirror!

Than If your lucky a few surfers will walk past. I do like a subject but in this scenario they are always like chickens teeth.

Oh and the God rays are icing!


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Frank island is a small island on Chestermans beach.Chestermans beach is Tofino’s premier beach! Many think Long beach is but I prefer Chesty.

Chesty is in the shape of a “L” & about a mile long.Frank island is located right at the bottom corner of that “L”.You can only get to it at low tide & yes, many a tourist have gotten a soaker getting caught out there!

I come prepared.If I know the tide will be coming in I take my hip waders with me.I’ve seen many people follow me out only to run away when the first wave makes them do the Chesty hop!

Frank island unfortunately was allowed to be divided into two properties. Hanns & Tony own the two lots. Neither of them live there on a permanent basis. Tourists are constantly walking around the island even though there are signs saying private island.It drives Tony crazy chasing the tourists away!

They both allow me to walk around.I generally send them shots to pay for my visits.

Frank & Frieda are the resident eagles.I do not know them very well.They tolerate my presence. I walked around the island once & found a unusual feature near their nest tree.On the ground I found something odd.It looked like somebody had taken a rake & raked the earth hard enough to create deep furrows.I speculate that this was done by both Frank & Frieda to keep their talons sharp.The way you put a pencil into a pencil sharpener would be the same thing for them with the earth & their talons! Never seen that before.

During the winter we get lots of rain here in Tofino.I like going out to Chestermans beach after a good 7 day soaker.I need to line my ducks up for this kind of shoot. The low tide needs to be happening near sunset.If its high tide I won’t have any beach.I need as much of the beach surface to act like a mirror. All that rain bleeds off the earth onto the beach.This makes a great reflective surface.Than I need GREAT clouds! Clouds really add icing to the cake! They can make or break a great shot!

So to sum up,low tide,great clouds,lots of rain followed by a break & all of these need to happen at or around sunset! Those are perfect ingredients for a perfect sunset beach shot!



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We received 253 mm of rain yesterday alone.If your American & still are using imperial,253mm comes up to 10 inches. One advantage of having lots of rain are sunset pictures. I’ve found the best beach shots need lots of rain.Low tide needs to be near sunset as well. Low tide gives lots of surface area.

All that rain bleeds out onto the beach making a beautiful mirror! Having great clouds is just icing to the cake!



Whenever I go out to the beach,I’m always mindful of the clouds.I’ve found that a good photograph will almost always have good clouds. I say “almost” because a good photograph needs more than clouds to be successful. A photograph should be layered,so that the eye is baited & drawn in.A photograph that does not invite the eye in,is not successful. To invite the eye in, good bait is required. To bait the eye,there must be a central subject.I like a subject in either the fore or mid-ground position.

If there is no subject in the foreground basically all you have is “wallpaper”.A good background with no subject presented. I often times will find a great background & simply wait for someone or something to walk/fly into my scene.I like to call it “Spider/fly”.I wait for someone to come into my photographic web. I wanted a surfer in this shot but couldn’t find a one about & none were surfing.I sometimes wait for a volunteer  to come out of the water. Not tonight,there wasn’t a single one out there.So I hung around the public pathway waiting for one to show up. Unfortunately none did.

So I ended up with nice looking wallpaper.




After Pearl Harbour,the west coast started making provisions to stop any invasion by the Japanese. One of these provisions was to stop planes from landing on Chestermans beach. Many pilings were driven into the beach.This was to stop any landings.Must of worked…….nobody ever landed!

Only a few remain after 75 years.This is one of them.



This is a bit of a odd picture,……..even for me. After Pearl Harbour was attacked,(Dec.7th,1941) the entire West coast went on alert!

To stop the Japanese from landing on the beaches & invading,dozens upon dozens of large pilings(some up to 100 feet long) were driven deep into the beach!

During the Winter when we get big storms, the sand gets moved around sometimes exposing the remaining poles.You can see one in the foreground.



The only time I can get great reflective beach shots is during winter. As you know,we get a lot of rain during the winter. Sometimes we get a break in between these storm systems & the sun shines. It has to be low tide as well near sunset. All that rain drains from the land to the beach.With it being low tide,there are these large flat areas.The water coats these areas & makes a fantastic reflective surface!

Having some cool clouds always helps as well!