If your goal is a colorful sunset/sunrise and you have to choose between pristine or hazy air, which would you choose? If you said clean air, you’re in the minority. You’re also right. Despite some pretty obvious evidence to the contrary, it seems that the myth that a colorful sunset requires lots of particles in the air persists. If particles in the air were necessary for sunset color, Los Angeles would be known for its vivid sunsets and Hawaii would only be known for its beaches.
But what is the secret to a great sunset? Granted, a cool breeze, warm surf, and a Mai Tai are a good start, but I’m thinking more photographically than recreationally. I look for a mix of clouds (to catch the color) with an opening for the sun to pass through. But even with a nice mix of clouds and sky, sometimes the color fizzles. Often the missing ingredient, contrary to common belief, is clean air—the cleaner the better.