Friday, March 21, 2008

Last Splash Of Dusk Colour

There’s No Such Thing As A Mundane Sunset

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.

67 comments:

ExpatKat said...

Wow! Fantastic pics. So hard to capture each moment when the colours are changing so swiftly. Beautiful job.

Casdok said...

Yes! Wow!!

Gawdess said...

I love that about sunsets, that ephemeral rush of colours and moods.
These are beautiful and well worth putting aside the racquet for.

whodatdare said...

Another brilliant example of why the camera needs to go with you everywhere. Beautiful shots, David

Lee said...

Another set of lovely sunsets, David. I really like the first one. I kept wanting to get closer and look through the leaves more.

Cheers!

CrazyCath said...

Oh my goodness those shots are awesome! The sky looks like it is burning at first. Well done on capturing that (you would though - always prepared...!)
It's hard to imagine your temperatures as the wind and rain batter my windows. I had ONE yes ONE "fair" day yesterday where I sat in the garden, but still needed a cardy. Today, wind, rain and it howls down the back alley. Yuk!
Thanks for the commentary too - sets the scene (if you excuse the pun...)

Cowgirl said...

Gorgeous colours, and beautifully framed. You bring such pleasure every day, David, thank you!

Vienna for Beginners said...

Beautiful confirmation of your mantra to never ever leave the camera behind. Conditions my change rapidly. ;-)

The exact opposite weatherwise happened to me last Thursday when I went for an evening walk to catch some sun set images and came back home with great cloud pictures.

Seamus said...

Gorgeous sunsets!!!

jennifer h said...

Those are spectacular, David. I'm so glad you had your camera (though it sounds like you're rarely without it). So gorgeous. You have a gift.

SandyCarlson said...

Marvelous, David. Looks as though the March sun has liquefied the air!

Jo Beaufoix said...

Blimey, you really do get some stunning skies out there don't you?
Fabulous.

LZ Blogger said...

David ~ That first shot is just awesome! Good job mate! ~ jb///

Monique said...

One word WOW

TZT said...

Totally gorgeous. They would love these over at the cloud appreciation society.

Lisa Milton said...

It's a little too hot for my taste there right now, but wow. What a sky!

Thanks for sharing.

Lori said...

Amazing. When it is that hot here the sky is very bland. I bet it was even more breathtaking in person.
Hard to think of it as being hot in February and March, though today we have the gift of 70 degrees temps.

Wonderful photos, as usual, David.

Tammy said...

Those pictures are beyond gorgeous!!!

Shrinky said...

I certainly hope you have a patient and understanding tennis partner?

Australian skies can be so dramatic, the intensity and variety of colour is often breath-taking, isn't it?

Wonderful shots David, as ever.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Breath taking sunsets, David. Thank you.

Janice Thomson said...

Stunning captures David! You are so right - there is nothing mundane about a sunset. Beautiful.

lime said...

wow indeed! those colors are absolutely electric! amzing how quickly it all changes isn't it?

GoneBackSouth said...

Yeah yeah never mind the photos ... congratulations on finding such a patient tennis partner!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Wow David...
These are stunning.. I'll link them right now so no one misses them..

Fantastic colours..
Happy Easter
Tom

Maggie May said...

Dramatic!

quintarantino said...

Nice.

Craver Vii said...

Are you sure that was in Melbourne and not sulfur pits on the planet Vulcan? Live long and prosper.

Happy Easter to you.

Carletta said...

A watercolor painted sky!
Beautiful.

John said...

Great compositions, colours and good depth of field. Well done on capturing David.

Hilary said...

So beautiful! You just can't see too many sunsets. Wonderful shots.

Kostas said...

Splendid the photographs, with very beautiful colours, and the comment marvellous! Good work.
I wish you a Happy Easter!

Jamie Dawn said...

Incredible!
The amber sky looks like it's on fire, then came the pastel sky with its soft coolness.
We've had TONS of rain, so I wish I could send you some.
:-)

Lana Gramlich said...

Sunsets are among my favorite subjects. I used to position myself specifically for these events, waiting along roadsides & in woods w/camera in hand. These days we're blessed w/some lovely sunsets right in our own yard. Your photos are lovely, but I'm sure they don't do full justice to the real life event (from personal experience.)

Mark said...

Stunning images!

gmj said...

I am totally awe struck by this display.

Dan Mega said...

Unbelievable photos mate. I'm left for dead.

Moosekahl said...

Nothing nearly that colorful here...it's gray and wet. Suppose to have a snow storm tonight!

ellen b said...

Glorious photos. thanks for reminding me that you are in a totally opposite season from me.

guild-rez said...

The sky is on fire..
what dramatic pictures..
Wish you a very Happy Easter!!

***********
The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love.
- from Hunkesni (Sitting Bull)
North American Indian

napaboaniya said...

The earth's climate is changing. Weather has been weird over here in SG, what's supposed to be real humid has been exchanged with rain and thunderstorms in March.

You're right in using the word dramatic on your photos. Will I be mean to say that though you might be sweating buckets of sweat those photos you took were so worthwhile! :P

p/s: The F1 drivers were all complaining of the heat at the Sepang Circuit(as reported in the papers today). I can't imagine the agony of the suit they are wearing under the heat!! *Gulpz*

Meggie said...

Outstanding colors of the sunset, Dave! Can we trade off temps for awhile or I'll share some cold if you send some warm temps my way....what da ya think? It was only around 38 F today with gusty winds. BUT, the sky was blue...not grey as usual.

fishing guy said...

David: What a brilliant sky, I don't remember seeing anything this dramatic before. Really great photos.

Dave Coulter said...

Fantastic. You-all must have better atmosphere than we do here! :)

Dottie said...

Wow! Those are amazing photos.

Jeff B said...

My favorite sunsets are at the coast. (I'm a West coaster), but these are absolutely spectacular!

I'm listing to the pounding rain outside and thinking, "If we could just meet somewhere in the middle of our two types of wheather, it would be grand."

Momma said...

OMG, David - I have always loved the mournful colors of sunsets. It appeals to my glass-half-empty creative nature. Thanks for the beautiful shots...D

leslie said...

I agree you can't underestimate the powers of Mother Nature. These are spectacular shots and you're one lucky man to have been able to capture the moment in time.

Travis said...

Fantastic photos here. The colors speak for themselves. Beautiful, I don't know what else to say.

LUIZ SANTILLI JR. said...

Speech less, David!

Luiz

dot said...

Beautiful!! I like the first one best.
Hey I was going to add you to Tom's linky but you beat me to it.

Corey~living and loving said...

David, your sunset shots are never less than stunning. well done.

Sharon said...

Amen! I have been in that boat before, just when you think a sunset can't get any better - it does. Fabulous pics :)

Sharon said...

These are just wonderful! the colors are so vibrant! Lovely.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Amazing colors

Paulie said...

Lots of pollution there to make such beautiful colors!

Mima said...

You have got some truly beautiful shots here, the power of nature to do something that you don't expect is wonderful. I hope that your tennis partner didn't mind too much the break in the game!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Gorgeous!
Interesting that you in the Southern Hemisphere are having abnormally hot weather while we in Central Canada can look forward to an unusually log winter. (perhaps 6 more weeks, so says Environment Canada yesterday!)

Andrea said...

Wow, what interesting colors. Greta shots.

Enjoy your Easter weekend.

Daryl E said...

WOW indeed .. as always, Den Mum, your photos are perfection...

i beati said...

exquisite

i beati said...

exquisite

Misty Dawn said...

The colors in these photos are so beautiful David! I LOVE them!

Anna said...

David, these are bautiful images. As you recovered from the hottest, we are still fighting the winter colds, lol. Nice post. Thanks for sharing, Anna :)

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hello again David..
I did link you at No.16... when I saw you link again I thought for a bit I'd forgot.. no need to replie mate.. I got your message this morning.
Have a good weekend
Tom

Dancin' Fool said...

Truly awesome pictures!

guild-rez said...

Brilliant picture...
Have a very Happy Easter!!

The earth has received the embrace of the sun
and we shall see the results of that love.
- Hunkesni (Sitting Bull)

Andrée said...

wow, that's stunning. I assume no huge storm came. Here, those colors and clouds usually come after a storm (which you had not had). Your heat scares me to death, honestly. That is when we are told to stay inside out of the heat. We can't handle it at all. And they say on the radio to keep animals inside too. Yet you are playing tennis! Be careful. It might happen once every other year here.