I did an engagement announcement photo shoot at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Newbury Park, CA. I took my 200mm f/2.8 and my 300mm f/2.8 lenses to shoot the happy couple... in between shots of the couple I was shooting shots of the amazing landscape and beautiful sunset.
The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the world's largest urban national park. It has more area codes (5) and zip codes (26), including the notable 90210 zip code of Beverly Hills, than any other unit in the National Park System.
Comprising 153,075 acres, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area offers numerous locations each with unique landscape features, vegetation, and wildlife.
Typically, you would shoot landscapes with wide-angle lenses - I own the perfect lens, a Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8 - but because I was at this location to shoot portraits, I only had long-lenses at my disposal.
The sky was amazing as the sun was setting. There was an explosion of color in the clouds - which BTW a majority of sunsets this time of year are in cloudless skies. Having clouds was a true bonus for the shoot.
I was waiting for "MAGIC HOUR" - a time frame right after the sun sets (or before it rises) when there is still plenty of light in the sky, but without the sun the light is diffuse and soft - it's really beautiful light to work with.
As the last of the light from the sunset disappeared, the moon - already high in the sky - took over lighting up the wispy clouds in the sky. In all - a great day for photography - both portraits and landscapes. Here is a shot from the engagement photos - photo shoot that shows what MAGIC HOUR light looks like. It's great to work with. Try it some time - no speedlights - you won't need them. You'll just need a lens with an aperture that will open up to f/2.8.
Nikon D4s Nikon 300mm f/2.8 Lens Shot during "Magic Hour" 5 minutes after sunset.