Beginning’s End – Hermosa Beach

A tide pool creates a near-perfect reflection of a dramatic sunset at Southern California’s Hermosa Beach Pier.


I had flown to Southern California for my parents annual Christmas Party. But, on the day of the party — two days before Christmas — I had a dilemma. Do I attend the party or do I shoot a potentially amazing sunset?

For most people, the answer to this question would be easy. But, I had been trying to capture a “print-worthy” photo of the Hermosa Beach Pier for years. Each time I visited the pier, something went wrong.  Sometimes the weather didn’t cooperate; other times the tides were wrong; one time I even left my memory card at home.

As I wrestled with this question throughout the course of the day, I monitored both the tides and the clouds. Fortunately — or unfortunately, depending on your perspective — everything seemed to line up perfectly. In addition to a low tide, lingering high clouds created the potential for an amazing sunset.

After giving it some thought, I decided to rush down to the beach before the party.  When I arrived, the tide had receded to the point where the exposed sand was no longer reflective. Luckily, I found a small tidal pool at the base of the Hermosa Beach Pier, which created a near-perfect reflection. As the sun set, the sky exploded with color.  My little tidal pool provided a terrific vantage point of an unforgettable moment.