Knock on wood, we've had some really beautiful days here in Connecticut lately and this past week I've been to the beach a few times to shoot the sunset. I saw this composition the day before I actually shot it. I was having a late lunch with a friend of mine in a seaside cafe and saw this scene out the window--and there was a spectacular sunset going on. It was one of those nice slow early-December sunsets that we get over Long Island Sound with a beautifully hazy and soft sun. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me (which is rare, trust me).
I was so disappointed that I was determined to return to the beach the next day, with my cameras--and I did. I went back to the exact same beach in front of the cafe (in fact, I shot this right below the window where I'd been eating the day before) with my Nikon D90 and a 70-300mm Nikkor zoom and my Manfrotto tripod and I got there just as the sun was about to set. I only had time to pop off a few frames and then the sun disappeared into the clouds. But I really like this shot a lot; I like the contrast between the dark deck (I darkened it up a bit in Photoshop) and the very pastel colors of the sunset. Simple foregrounds can do wonders to improve a sunset. And part of the reason that I was able to compose it so quickly and knew that I wanted to include that little deck as a frame, was that I had seen it the day before. I knew exactly what the composition was going to be before I even took the camera out of the case.
So if ever you are out and about and see a pretty scene at sunset but don't have your cameras, keep the composition in mind and return another day. To me sunrises and sunsets are a miracle of color and light that happen every day (weather permitting) and they're just waiting for you to go capture their beauty.