Friday, April 17, 2009
Just before we moved our clocks back at the end of more than five months of daylight saving, daybreak seemed to come almost reluctantly to this wide brown land of plains and mountains. The first dusting of pre-dawn cloud would emerge bashfully a few minutes after seven o’clock, but the sun would not actually climb above the horizon until about half past seven.
Since the first weekend of April, we have reverted to normal time and so the sun rises sixty minutes earlier in the mornings, but darkness cloaks this country-continent an hour earlier as well. This will lead to progressively shorter daylight hours until our June solstice, when the days get longer again, despite the cold embrace of winter.
This sequence was shot just before daylight saving ended and as you can see from the time on the clock tower, it was about 7.23am when I shot these images.
The interesting thing with dawn colours here is that the yellows and oranges tend to stay longer in the sky than other shades.
So as soon as I spotted these vivid pink streaks across a skyscape laden with thick cloud, I knew the colours would retreat rapidly. I happened to be driving through Dandenong, a town about 30km south-east of the central business district.
I made a quick decision to drive a bit further, down a couple of streets. Why? Because I knew I would be able to use the distinctive shape of the floodlit Town Hall against the dawn sky.
You’ll notice that I’ve framed these shots asymmetrically. There’s a specific reason for that. I had to be quick – and I didn’t want the squat building on my left (see the photograph below) to encroach on the composition. I shot this sequence with my 18-125mm lens, which gave me more than enough leeway to compose some tight shots of the tower and the dramatic colours across the cloud.
All up, it was no longer than two and a half minutes from the first shot to the last. Interestingly, a staggering drunk happened to notice what I was doing.
He asked if I was a photographer and I answered him courteously. Then, squinting at the beautiful dawn sky, he ventured the comment: "Great sunset."
Either he was twelve hours too late or twelve hours too early. I wished him well, we exchanged thumbs-up signals, and I got back into my car and placed the camera on the front passenger seat.
I started up and just before I pulled away (we’re in right-hand drive cars here in Australia) I looked in my wing mirror. There was no traffic, but this was the sight that greeted me, so of course I had to pick up my camera for one final frame - of the same scene, faithfully reflected in my mirror.
For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.