Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON
We're just recovering from the hottest March fortnight in about a century. Normally the last of the paint-blistering heat starts to recede by the end of February. Sometimes the first week of March can produce the odd hot day or two, but generally the nights bring very cool relief from about mid-February onwards.
This year, though, everything's been drastically different. Not only have we had no rain, we've had an extraordinarily long spell of days where the mercury has hovered between 35-40 Celsius, which is far too close to topping 100 Fahrenheit for my comfort. Then on Tuesday evening came the long-awaited cool change that the Weather Bureau had predicted.
Just before dusk the breeze swung around to the south and the gentle caress of cooler air embraced this parched city. Around sunset I was playing tennis, as I do every evening, when I kept monitoring the sky for photo opportunities. Nix. Nada. Zilch. Just overcast conditions. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to see the impenetrable cloud cover, because it had brought cooler conditions.
Then, I saw the first hint of wispy, delicate pink in the east. Yes, the east. Then very rapidly over the next five or six minutes, a long but slender patch of sky in the west, where the sun had long since set, began to produce every conceivable colour.
Over the next four of five minutes, my tennis racquet lay abandoned. Instead, I had my camera strap around my neck, trying to capture the dramatic colours being daubed swiftly across the sky. No sooner did I nod and say to myself that I had the definitive shot of the evening's sunset than a new shade or colour appeared in the sky.
As you can see from the last shot in this series, the vibrant orange, mauve and red were quickly and seamlessly eroded. And I just stood there, fascinated, as the colours you would normally associate with a lava flow down the side of a volcano just vanished, to be replaced by delicate pastel shades.
I used whatever silhouettes I had at my disposal to try and give you an idea of the sheer power of Nature's display. I consider myself fairly well versed on cloud and weather conditions and what sort of light will bring me great pictures. But this was one occasion where I had made up my mind there would be nothing to photograph, other than varying shades of grey.
Just goes to show, we should never under-estimate the great power of Mother Nature.