November: prime time for amazing beach sunsets

Manhattan Beach sunset
The Manhattan Beach Pier, Nov. 2019, for the "Photowalks" series

Manhattan Beach

By Jefferson Graham

It happens every year like clockwork.

Consistent,  amazing beach sunsets out here in the South Bay every November and December.

Life moves on, and we forget about them. Then, when the next to last month of the year comes back into our lives again, we remember. Again. #Wow!

Just a friendly reminder today to step outside, grab your phone and take a moment to experience one of the great free wonders of the world: the multi-colored November sunset.

Specifically, in the South Bay, this week we’re talking 4:43 p.m. to see the sun drop on Monday, 4:52 on Tuesday and Wednesday, 4:51 on Thursday and 4:50 on Friday. If you can’t get out until the weekend, mark 4:49 for Saturday and 4:48 for Sunday.

The best place to check this stuff is a great website called Time and Date, where you can type in the name of your location and get specific sun drops for your area. I did a quick check of other cities, from New York to Seattle, and while the exact minutes are different, they are all near the 5 o’clock hour.

Manhattan Beach Pier

Manhattan Beach Pier for the Photowalks series

Remember, however, that it’s not actually the sunset that’s the stunner, but the 10-15 minutes afterwards, when the colors glow their brightest.

Take the time to do this, and remember that once you’re out there catching the scene, everyone’s in a great mood. No one’s arguing. Everyone’s in total agreement that what they’re seeing is pretty darn amazing.

The big question: why are the sunsets so amazing this time of year?

In a word: because the earth moves closer to the sun in the winter. Per KCRW: “The beautiful colors from a sunset are caused by the atmosphere. As the sun gets lower and lower in the sky, its light passes through more and more air layers—compared to noontime, when the sun is directly overhead. And those layers are filled with dust and water particles. This causes the sun’s light to bend as if through a prism, scattering the blue light in favor of reds, oranges, and purples.”

The key ingredient: some clouds to doll up the colors, which is one reason the winter sunsets look so cool.

Manhattan Beach Pier

Manhattan Beach Pier, for the Photowalks series

Finally—it’s not just capturing the colors. They are other things to factor in while shooting your sunset as well. I’m looking to produce a video this week that will outline everything you need to know on this. Coming soon.

Like this? Sign up for more by subscribing to my newsletter:


comments so far. Comments posted to may be reprinted in the Easy Reader print edition, which is published each Thursday.