A Good Friday Sequence That Was Meant To Be
7.35.59 am. It was a few minutes before dawn last Friday when I shot this sequence - and I reckon it was perfect for a Good Friday post. The symbolism of the hill, the silhouette of a mobile phone tower instead of a crucifix, the endless landscape, the overwhelmingly grey dawn and a sudden burst of vivid colour - they are so redolent of all the Good Friday gospels and the mental images I conjured up when I was a little boy at Sunday School.
7.36.15 am. I wasn't even supposed to be in this spot. Providence - call it what you will - brought me here. I was in a hurry. I was in a hilly region in Melbourne's south-east, running to a deadline, but as I always do, I had several minutes up my sleeve.
When I am in this region, I normally take the quicker of two options - a clear, straight prime stretch of road with a speed limit of 80 km/h. The other option is low down on my list of priorities, because it is a winding descent through a residential zone where there are three roundabouts, intersecting thoroughfares and a top speed of only 50 km/h which drops to 40km/h in one area before a twisting ascent to the hill's crest.
7.36.39 am. Yet, for some completely unfathomable reason, I take the slow road. Why? I honestly cannot tell you. It went completely against the grain for me to snap on my indicator and make that turn, but that's exactly what I did.
The clouds were completely grey, an unrelenting blanket across the horizon. Then, as I climbed, I spotted a sudden burst of pre-dawn colour through a break in the hills. As a photographer, I knew that I had to pull over as quickly as possible. But I kept going, on the hope that a couple more bends would bring me a great view.
I knew the vantage point wasn't far away. It was less than 30 seconds at most, but I also understood that the heavy cloud cover meant the skyshow would probably only last for a few seconds at most.
7.36.44 am. I parked safely, snatched my camera from the bag and could scarcely believe the powerful colours in the sky. The glow of the pre-dawn sun was simply stunning and for a few precious seconds, there was a strong purple glow to the sky that was redolent of the Outback tones.
I shot this sequence standing less than two metres away from my car. Had I moved further to sprint to a better spot, I would have missed capturing these once-in-a-lifetime colours.
What looks like the sun rising large behind the hill is actually only the glow from the sun that is still below the horizon, but the range of colours that arc across the landscape is - luckily for me - like a rare rainbow.
If you have a moment to spare, scroll back and take a look at the time of each image. You'll see that only 45 seconds - yes, that's all - elapsed between my first shot and my last. These four images are the best of the 10 frames I shot in that time.
Honestly, I think it would take a very special sight to replace this as my favourite sunrise sequence.
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