A few days ago I wrote about how persistence HASN’T paid off for me with a particular location, as each time I visited it the shooting conditions got worse and worse.

However, this photo is evidence that it’s usually the other way around!

On a trip to New Zealand, Sonia and I stayed in Queenstown for 3 days.

We scouted the area on our first day and found a great-looking jetty close by in Frankton and decided it was worth a shoot.

So we went back there at sunset on day 1 only to find the horriblest, dreary, grey – no – brown conditions. Seriously, it was so drab the sky actually looked muddy. It was cold too, so not a great success.

Ever the optimists, we decided to wake up bright and early the next morning to give it another shot at sunrise.

Same thing happened.

Strike 2!

Considering the whole area is just so stunningly beautiful, I was having doubts about putting our eggs in one basket and dedicating a third shoot to this jetty – but it was a good jetty, so we gave it one final try that evening.

Long story short… We saw a stunning fiery sunset!

Now you’ll notice that this photo I’m sharing isn’t OF that jetty… I’ll share that some other time maybe (it’s actually in my Walkthrough Pack volume 2 if you’re familiar with that)…

The reason I’m sharing this shot I took standing on the jetty but facing the shore, is to share another important thing I always try to remember when out shooting… Which is to:

Always look behind you!

I was happily shooting away capturing the “classic” jetty composition which faced off to the left as you look at the image above. The whole sky was lighting up, even though the sun was over the hill and way behind me, so the colours were quite stunning anywhere I looked.

But in between shots I just happened to turn towards the sunset and saw this amazing glow and it was moments away from dying out.

So I swung the camera around, made sure everything was reasonably lined up, and fired off a few exposures.

It didn’t result in the greatest composition (if I’d planned to shoot this direction, I’d have tried to position the tree off-centre). But it’s still quite nice to look at and when you boil everything down, that’s all I’m trying to do when I shoot (and edit)…

Create something nice to look at.

Again, because the sky was so bright and everything this side of the hills were extremely dark, some exposure blending and luminosity masking was in order to create this final image.

In fact being able to pick out those buildings with a luminosity mask to tweak the brightness and contrast really helped make them pop and add an extra element to the image.

You can learn these exact techniques for blending exposures and making advanced luminosity masked adjustments in my Luminosity Masking Mastery video course.

Click here now for more info on that.

Talk soon!