THE Traveler: Ryan Karlstad of Stillwater.

The scene: Near Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba, a sailboat cuts across the Caribbean Sea amid a glowing sunset.

Sunset magic: “There was a lively bar just off the beach behind me,” Karlstad wrote in an e-mail. “Its neon lights gently spilled onto the rocks in the photo. As I set up my camera waiting for the right moment, I recall being surprised that the boisterous bar patrons seemed to completely disregard the beautiful sunset being composed behind them. Just as the sun touched the horizon, however, the entire scene suddenly became very quiet as everyone broke from their conversation to pay respect to the ocean. I can still feel that halting moment of quiet reflection every time I view this picture.”

Getting the shot: Karlstad used a Canon 5D Mark III camera, a 24-105mm lens, a special filter and a tripod to get this shot. He had seen this sailboat return to its dock each night at sunset. One night, when the clouds were particularly dramatic, he wrote, “I stole away from my family to set up my camera and tripod on the beach behind these large rocks, which I thought would add an interesting foreground. I used a graduated neutral-density filter for the sky to enable a longer exposure that lightened the foreground. My camera was positioned only about two feet off the sand so that the sand, rocks, water and the sky would each form distinct layers in the composition.”

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