Spoiled for Choice

Come along as I set off to photograph a spectacular sunset at Windmill Point in Hull, one of the few west-facing coastal locations in close proximity to Boston – with a view of the skyline to boot.


The correct choice of location is something a lot of photographers have to face. There are just so many possibilities! Couple that with all the other considerations such having the desired weather or tides and the decision becomes even harder. Some preparation is needed, which for me is difficult as I like to be spontaneous. However, I have found that this can lead to disappointment.

Planning is important

For example, a few weeks ago the prediction for a great sunset in Massachusetts was changing in terms of location almost by the hour. I was tracking this on both Skyfire (in TPE) and also on getoutcast.com/. A westerly looking view for sunset on the East coast is tricky and limits options. A common spot is Cape Cod but the sunset was looking more promising further north so I decided on Hull at the last minute. The apps suggested a good sunset and it faces toward the sunset. Although it isn’t very far away it takes quite some time because of the Boston traffic which is notoriously bad. Add to that traffic lights galore and you have to crawl to the location.

Hull, MA

I had been to Windmill point in Hull before and taken some nice shots, with rocks in the foreground and the Boston skyline in the distance, but I didn’t get a dramatic sunset. This time on the way there I saw many different places to stop but it was clear the colors in the sky would be different as I faced away from the westerly direction. This is where my spontaneity takes over and the plans temporarily change!

As sunset approached I was on a rocky beach with a northerly view of Graves Light in the distance. Five minutes or so before sunset the sky started to turn pink but I could see the red sunset back over at Windmill point. I took a quick set of shots and clambered back up the rocks and set off as fast as I could back to Windmill point, running the risk of getting no shot because I was spoiled for choice.

Northerly view from Windmill Point in Hull, Massachusetts
Rock at Windmill Point in Hull, Massachusetts

When I arrived the rocks and water were already shining red as they reflected the sky. I was like a kid in a candy store, moving from spot to spot, trying to get a long exposure with the dying light, changing filters and angle of shot.

I captured a series of shots which I was very happy with.

Windmill Point Sunset in Hull, Massachusetts. Boston skyline seen in the distance
Rocks in the Ocean at Windmill Point in Hull, Massachusetts. Boston skyline seen in the distance

This came about by a little planning earlier and by just about returning to the location I had intended. I think I made the right choice – wouldn’t you agree?

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