When planning a trip to a beach, I usually check out where the sun rises and/or sets for picture opportunities. So, being that Clearwater Beach is on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, sunset was the obvious choice.
I went to Google to look for pictures of the area and found several of a pier. I then used Google Map to look around on satellite view to see where everything was. The first day in Florida we decided to visit Clearwater Beach and stayed for sunset because the weather looked good for the photos I envisioned.
Using the app on my Smartphone called Photo Pills showed that the sun would set on the south side of Pier 60 that evening between 6:00 and 6:30. While waiting for the sun to go down, I started taking pictures of the side of the pier that the sun was shining on, then I went to the opposite side (away from the sun) to wait for an exact location to catch the sun lowering to the horizon behind the pier.
I decided to only use my wide-angle zoom because I did not want to change lenses at the beach for fear of getting sand in my camera body. My pictures came out well for wide shots, but later I wished I had taken my telephoto zoom for a close-up like my wife got with her camera of the sun framed between two pier legs, hindsight mistake on my part.
In the end we both took nice sunset pictures of Pier 60 and enjoyed a nice fresh-caught fish dinner at a local diner nearby afterwards.
If you have any lessons learned from “oops” like I did, you can leave them in the comment section below for me to read.