Jinelle’s sunrise beach session.

Summer may be over tomorrow but there’s still time to get sandy.

I didn’t realize that today is the last day of summer until a few moments ago when I looked at the calendar. To be honest, that makes me a little sad as shooting on the beach is one of my most favorite things to do. That isn’t to say that we are done with them until next year, though.

Thanks to our location, it’s still warm enough to get a couple more in. It just takes a little more planning and the ability to remain flexible enough with the schedule. We just need to keep an eye on the weather forecast and, when we see a day coming up that would be good enough to hit the beach, make it happen.

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Complicating things a bit more is the recent policy change at First Landing State Park and other Virginia Beach state parks.

Now, if your a frequent reader of this page, you know that First Landing is/was my favorite place to do sunset sessions at. It is, as far as I can tell, the only sandy beach location in Virginia Beach where the sun sets over the water.

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The powers that be have recently implemented a policy that says photographers must obtain a permit at least two weeks in advance of a session to shoot there. The fee is negligible, to be honest. The problem is that no one can predict the weather two weeks in advance. No photographer is going to put their money down and spin the weather roulette wheel. If you get lucky, you get to shoot. If you don’t, well, thanks for the money and try again later.

Take this session with Jinelle, for example. I watched the forecast for the week leading up to our session. No rain. I checked again at 4am the morning of the session. Partly cloudy and no rain. We get there and start shooting. The sun comes up. We immediately noticed a dark cloud overhead that looks ominous. I check the hourly forecast and the radar. No rain anywhere in the state.

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Guess what? It started to sprinkle. I started to mentally calculate how long it would take to pack up the electronics and make a dash for our cars. Luckily it let up after a bit but, if you look in some of the images, you can clearly see it raining in the background.

Simply put, you cant trust the forecast 100%. Ever. Even right at this moment. How the hell can you expect us to trust it two weeks out?

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I understand the policy change by the Parks people. I have witnessed, first hand, other photographers disrespecting the area. They take up far too much room, become a huge disruption for other beach goers, trash the location, and leave trash behind. Not to mention, in all honesty, make a profit from using the location. It is only fair, with all that going on, that Parks wants their cut.

I haven’t given up hope, mind you, for sunset sessions here. I am looking for other locations and actually have one or 2 I’d like to try out next year when the sun sets more north. And, of course, there’s always sunrise session where we have the entire Atlantic Coast that we can use.

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Now that I’ve vented, let’s talk about how amazing Jinelle is. We did a session a few years back and have recently reconnected. This woman is on an amazing journey of self discovery and exploration. She’s a DIY genius, woodworker, mechanic, and a fellow photographer. She has a wandering soul and likes to travel in her truck camper. She’s even got a Instagram page of her adventures – https://www.instagram.com/jinnymaeadventures – you should go check it out.

Needless to say we are in talks for what we want to do for our next session so stay tuned for that.

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