Southern California was enduring an impressive heat wave on this Labor Day weekend. At my place in Westlake Village, the high temperature reached 108F on three consecutive days. The western San Fernando Valley was hitting 110-112F. It was a good time to head to the beach to cool off, though the heat and humidity was affecting Malibu, too. There were some pretty subtropical clouds at mid-levels of the troposphere, so on Saturday afternoon I chucked the cameras and tripods into the Xterra and headed to El Matador Beach. I was hoping for a fiery red and orange sunset and some fabulous photography.
Unsurprisingly, the beach was packed when I arrived around 4:30 p.m. The water and the air were warm and it was quite pleasant, though mostly cloudy. As the sunset neared and the crowds thinned, the fiery sunset that I was hoping for was looking unlikely. There was just too much thick cloudiness to the west, and no sunlight was getting through as the sun descended to the horizon. Nevertheless, I lugged my tripod and camera bag around the beach and looked for some interesting shots.
There were plenty of people to shoot, and around sunset I noticed the nearly full moon up towards the southeast. Skies were only partly cloudy in that direction. Cool! I could hang out here until dusk and try some “moonlight rocks” photography. I did a similar shoot here by moonlight a few years ago. And below you can view the results. Most of the moonlight shots were 20-40 seconds in length, and stars can be seen in some. Towards the end of the shoot, a floodlight was illuminated on the beach house well to the east. It allowed a few more interesting shots.