Friday, April 11, 2008

Splashing Colour Across The Sky

If Only I Could Paint Like This

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


I've always thought photographers and painters are richly blessed in this country, where vibrant hues are so often taken for granted. This sunset, with its flaming skyshow, was photographed about a month ago. I was standing on top of a hill in Narre Warren, in Melbourne's southeast, near the bike track of the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

I shot about two dozen frames very quickly, using different focal lengths and several variations of compositions to try and capture the colours as they spread and morphed across a wide expanse of sky. Looking at these shots, you wouldn't think I had power lines right across the scene in front of me. Sometimes the lines themselves can add to the perspective, but only half the shots I took that day have the power lines across them.

I was using a 300mm Sigma lens on my Pentax K100D - and it's always interesting to see the incredible amount of detail and clarity that the lens picks up. I was concentrating totally on the colours and the framing of each shot, but when I got home and looked at the images on my computer, I was intrigued to see what looks like a tiny purple ship on the right-hand side of the horizon.

If you look carefully, you can even see it on these low-res versions of the original shots. Could it perhaps be a 21st century version of the famous ghost ship, the Mary Celeste? Naaaaah, I don't think so.

In actual fact, I think the "ship" is really the office buildings of Melbourne's central business district - but I need to return to this hill and take some more shots to check this out.

I've shot sunsets from this point before, because it gives me wonderful access across a gentle but dramatic valley - and I ain't never noticed the tall buildings of the city from this vantage point. At this stage I should point out that the city is at least 35 kilometres away from Narre Warren, as the crow flies. No, I’m not kidding. It’s 35 kilometres – or almost 22 miles. Amazing, isn’t it?

So stand by and we'll solve this mystery together. Soon.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch Friday.

83 comments:

Nessa said...

Beautiful.

I have no clear shots of the sky for sunrise or sunset. A wire is always in the way.

CHEWY said...

My mouth is hanging open. I am awestruck at the beautiful colors that sweep across the sky. Soft in form, yet strong in color.

Old Wom Tigley said...

Well done David
Two stunning shots to have me aspiring to... Thank you for linking to Sky Watch.. and also for giving Dot a mention to.. Dot still gives support and advice.

I have already posted your link by the way...
tom

Julia Smith said...

Hi - I've popped over from Akelamalu's blog. What fabulous shots. The second one is my favorite, but they're all spectacular.

quintarantino said...

Fantastic.
They seem like paintings of Stuart Turner.

luiz.ramosforest said...

Painting and photo are Art indeed.
Great sunset.

the teach said...

David, thank you for all the info on your previous photo. These photos are gorgeous as usual! Disarming! :D

dot said...

Wow! The colors are just gorgeous!

Craver Vii said...

Aah, so THAT's where all the color has gone! It's all murky gray skies here lately. I don't see the power lines.

Amazing skies!!!

Cowgirl said...

Stunning sunsets - what gorgeous colours and the far distant city perfectly gives a sense of perspective. Thanks, David, for a great start to the day!

Snap Catch said...

wow! The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.... mine's up too... hope you can drop by....

Marcos Santos said...

What is it my friends?
That heaven is this?

Simply beautiful!

lime said...

those colors are really something. like the sky is on fire. makes me want to hop over!

John said...

Good description and the photos are stunning David!

Marie said...

Wonderful photos!

If there is a depression in the air you can see a much longer distance. My be that is way you can see the buildings? Or it may be your camera that is very good?

Kostas said...

Splendid your sky, marvellous the photographs, amazing colours, most excellent post!

Daniel J Santos said...

Beautiful colors, great images.

Tammy said...

That is breath taking!

imac said...

Wow David, all Fired up Skies.

Mine are on show now

Dave Coulter said...

Send some of that rarefied air northward, eh? ;)

Rose said...

I'd love to lay claim to a photo like any of these. They are so beautiful.

K. alias Bear-Mom said...

oo my god how extreemly beautiful colours....

pat houseworth said...

The color is outstanding!

Anita said...

So beautiful...

The thing about painting something like this - no one would believe the colors to be real, only made up by the artist's imagination... but truth is sometimes more beautiful than fiction...

Mushy said...

I hate to say it, but it looks like "Big Orange Country" to me!

guild-rez said...

Just beautiful..the colours are so vibrant..
Great Sky Watch Friday picture.

Müge Tekil said...

Wonderful colours! Great shots!

Papoosue said...

Hi David, thanks for your kind comments on my blog - I knew there was a reason I liked you ;-) Catching up with your blog is taking me some time - there are so many interesting entries and all those intriguing links to explore! xxx

SandyCarlson said...

Beautiful, David. I have never seen such rich colors. So warm.

LZ Blogger said...

Ah yes David... IF ONLY! ~ jb///

andrée said...

What wonderful colors! The lines of clouds in the 2nd photo remind me, somehow, of speed bumps. You're right: it is like a painting.

mrsnesbitt said...

Wonderful david.
The type of sky I could curl op and watch from the patio, drinking wine whilst reading a good novel from the mobile library van!
OK...I have the wine and the novel! LOL The patio...a touch too cold just yet.

The Texican said...

Greetings and kudos on the photos from south Texas.

Christine said...

Beautiful photos! We don't have a skyline like that here in Northern California.
Gorgeous!

Carletta said...

I'm guessing only the PAINTER himself can paint skies like that! That said, I'm thrilled there is someone with your skill to capture it and share it with the rest of us.
Always a pleasure visiting you!

fishing guy said...

David: amazing Sky, simply amazing.

Neal said...

Those are beautiful shots!!!!

the amoeba said...

In actual fact, I think the "ship" is really the office buildings of Melbourne's central business district

Well, it's been a quarter century since I last scanned Melbn ( ;) ) from the Dandenongs, but I'd say you're right, that is the city skyline. And no, 35km is not too far away to see it. Ask anyone who's driven up to a flatland city (say Indianapolis, or Dallas) in the USA for the first time - you see it from at least that far away, and it looks like the Wizard of Oz's Emerald City popping right up out of the grainfields.

I keep trying to tell Quilly that sunsets are cliché. Then you come along ...

holly said...

i've heard the rumours.

that there are lands...where sunsets still inspire.

and yet, after living in the-land-of-rain for nigh on three years... i was beginning to think it untrue.

but there it is, in all its glory. thank you. thank you for making me believe again. one day...

CrazyCath said...

Oh wow it does look like a ship doesn't it? I wonder if it is an island or crop of rocks? What a mystery.

The colours are stunning and I often marvel at the skies I see across the world, especially in your part of the world. They seem to burn! Really good photos again. Excellent.

I have neglected you slightly (only slightly - not completely!) for a couple of days because of trying to get posts up myself. How do you post so much? Honestly, I'm on the sick and still can't find enough hours in the day. And I'm up half the bleeding night! I take my hat off to you sir!

(And remind you of an award for you at mine - now the second post down in "Part One".)

Champ Townboy said...

I have to echo Carletta's comment ... only THE PAINTER HIMSELF!

Beautiful shots!

Lee said...

OMG! David, those are as intense as one of the sunsets San has by an artist whose work she sells at her gallery.
Check the image at the link out!

Gorgeous! Absolutely Gorgeous!

Cheers!

said...

These are really professional shots in avery lucky moment of nature...absolutely stunning.vry well done ..and the buildings in the back ground...spectacular!

Texas Travelers said...

Nice SWF

Tremendous colors

Drop by for a visit.

LiD said...

What beautiful, intense colour you have captured in these images. It amazes me that you might be able to see the Melbourne CBD from there. Stunning.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Absolutely stunning

D... said...

God's paintbrush, for sure. I, too, wish I could paint like that. Shoot, I'd settle for just being able to paint! ;)

napaboaniya said...

David, that's a pretty dramatic skyline. Looks fiery yet gentle :) I'm always amazed with the pictures you take. Have a good weekend ahead, see you at PH!

quilly said...

Only God can paint like that. You did an awesome job of pausing it for us, though!

juliana rw said...

OMG...It is amazing...

Will you visit my SWF Thanks.

Picturing of Life said...

Perfect shots :D

My SWF few from balcony in here Thanks

Sharon said...

Spectacular!

the mother of this lot said...

Actually, if you could paint like that, you'd be God.

Award over here for you.

Ida said...

The first Sky watch with ghosts, as far as i can remember. ;) Cool. LOL!
The sky is flaming. You said it yourself. :)
You are painting.... Your way. With the camera.
Beautiful.

Casdok said...

Yes..if only!

Blue said...

Stunning!
No need to say more.

Have a good w/e!

Shrinky said...

Worthy of taking prime postion in a gallery David - absolutely stunng.

Angie said...

Absolutely glorious!

oldmanlincoln said...

Wonderful red sky. Unusual. Must be lots of dust in the air.

Mima said...

As you say you are so lucky to have such wonderful sunsets to photograph, not something that we share with you sadly, but you do take the most fantastic shots of them for us to enjoy.

I hadn't spotted the ship in the distance until you pointed it out, but it does add a certain something especially once you realise the distance to the city!

Anne-Berit said...

B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!

Stacey Huston said...

Stunning sky photographs. thanks for sharing. I also shoot with a sigma lens, and you are absolutly correct, the detail it captures!!

Jonna said...

Those colors almost make it appear that the sky is on fire. I love to take sunshot/sunset photos myself. The best results coming from the desert area.

Tommy V said...

Beautiful Sky...

Kim said...

Those colors are just amazing.

lv2scpbk said...

You must post early for skywatch or maybe I'm later. Anyway, love that rich orange color in your photos.

Misty Dawn said...

Gorgeous photos, but I'm going to continue thinking that's the ghost ship - it makes it fun ;-)

Isn't it a great feeling when nature paints for us and allows us to capture it?

nitebyrd said...

Breathtaking!

Am'n2deep said...

Okay, I'm loving Australia for more than just it's men :)

The sunsets are amazing as well! These shots are absolutely beautiful. Great job!

Btw, we silly Americans voted my favorite Aussie off of American Idol last night!! I'm not happy about it--not at all!

jennifer h said...

Spectacular.

Petunia said...

Wow! I really want to paint like that. So beautiful!

Petunia's SWF

Kathryn said...

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Breathtaking.

Akelamalu said...

Those are so beautiful David, thank you for sharing them.

joan said...

WOW! That is about the prettiest sky shot I have ever seen. What awesome beauty! Thanks so much for sharing it.

becky voyles said...

Such rich colors. Trully awesome as always!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous reproductions of GOD's own art - of burning orange skies. AWESOME.

Rene.

LUIZ SANTILLI JR. said...

Fantstic colours!

This post looks like a picture of Van Gogh!!

Santilli

Colleen said...

(Sigh) Now *This* is Stunning. Simply breathtaking David!

Travis said...

Beautiful photos. The colors are fantastic. I do see the ship you speak of. Great photos and wonderful post.

Denise BC said...

Pictures wonderful, great shot, spectacular series.

Denise BC

Anna said...

Those colors are indeed amazing. I see your 'ship' and it is astounding that you (or at least your camera) can see that far to the city. Wow.

chanpheng said...

Lovely colors and Skywatch photos!

ed said...
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