Sunset and The Wrap Around Porch

Photography of afternoon rays of sun against a wooden porch

They say that the best natural lighting for photography occurs as the sun is rising and when it is setting. I say that these are the best times of day, regardless of whether or not you have a camera in hand.

The sun was setting on the day I took this photograph, capturing the feeling of a busy and beautiful day coasting to its end. Only a glass of lemonade could have improved it.

My family and I had spent much of the preceding two days preparing for the wedding of my friends Kylie and Bryan. My daughter Kali had been called upon to play the role of Flower Girl/Comic Relief and I the wedding officiant. This meant my family dressed up a bit more than usual to enjoy a wedding rehearsal, a tasty rehearsal dinner, and then the big day itself. I was nervous.

As it would happen, it all went off with a hitch. The lovely couple declared their love and their marriage before God, man, and the sunny State of California. They kissed! We cheered! They walked back down the aisle to the bridesmaids and groomsmen singing “Lean on Me” with the glorious acoustics of the wine cellar in which we had assembled. And with that, my work was done for the night and I could soak in the joy of the reception that followed.

Shh. Don’t tell Kylie and Bryan, but I slipped out of the reception hall with my camera during the dancing part of the reception to explore the beautiful grounds of the Cielo Winery. Paved walkways wound through well-watered lawn and gardens, past a gazebo and next to the guest house you see pictured here. I had to stop a minute and take in the sight.

The sun was sinking quickly toward the horizon, and as it did, I imagined that I had finished a hard day’s work in the surrounding vineyard, dirt beneath my fingernails. I pictured my loving wife coming out of the house with an offering of lemonade. And then we would take a walk about the wrap around porch where we’d settle back into a porch swing to hold hands and chat about nuthin’ well on into the evening.

Since my loving wife was actually still outnumbered by our two children back at the reception table, I figured I shouldn’t get too lost in my daydreams.

*Snap*. The picture was captured. The hard work of the day was done, and it was lovely.

Who would win in a no-holds-barred battle: sunrise or sunset? Place your bets in the comments below.