I really liked the soft tones of some photos I have seen and I have been looking for ways to accomplish the effect. What I found was that you really have to take these photos during the “Golden Hour.” That is, take your photos about 10 minutes before sunrise/sunset to 10 minutes after. The light is softer and the shadows less harsh. Also, the color really stands out.
This photo was taken during a “sunset boat cruise” with some friends. The sun was still up and there were clouds acting as a filter. Also, this is near Canada where, during the summer, the sun slides at an angle past the horizon providing some amazing sunsets.
In photography, timing is important. That means you have to be at a particular place at a particular time to get the right shot. This means you may have to get up very early or miss dinner. This photo was taken last year on Lake Michigan. This year the lake water level is higher and the pier is underwater. Even our Great Lakes have cycles you want to pay attention to.