Friday, July 17, 2009

Summery Hues On A Winter Morning

Despite The Warm Colours, Jack Frost Is Here

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON



These images might look as if they were shot on a tropical island, at the start of a scorching day – but they weren’t. They are part of a series that I shot right here in mid-winter Melbourne last Friday, exactly a week ago.

Yes, I deliberately used the silhouettes of a group of tall palm trees in the Alexandra Gardens to highlight the strong burst of colour in the sky – and while it was not a frosty morning, it was still a classic winter day.


Yes, the colours are really unusual for chilly weather, but the strange thing about this series of images is that I almost opted not to shoot anything that morning.

I was actually walking along Southbank, thinking that there was no way I’d get any decent shots that morning, when I noticed the smallest patch of orange cloud under Princes Bridge. Time to change plans, I thought. I kept walking towards the Arts Centre, climbed the steps to the bridge and sure enough, a few minutes later I could see that the hues were starting to build as the sun, still closeted below the horizon, threw the clouds into glorious shades.

It was like watching Nature’s version of Joseph’s coat of many colours. The deep red and the vivid orange began to build up in one area of the horizon.


Fortunately, my standard lens is a Sigma 18-125mm, which gives me sufficient focal length to capture one specific area of a landscape. Yes, I had a 70-300mm lens in my camera bag, but I knew I wouldn’t need it. Most of the frames in the sequence that I shot for the next 30 minutes would have been in the range of 80-125mm.

Did I miss any shots? Yes, I was looking the wrong way when a lone seagull literally came flying towards me with the vivid dawn directly behind him. I swung the camera up hurriedly, but missed the shot completely. Instead, I had to make do a few seconds later, when a flock of birds flew over the river with the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a backdrop.


At one stage, I wondered if I could possibly get a slightly different perspective on the horizon, rather than just shooting across the Yarra River. Why?

Because sometimes it is easy to become fixated on a stunning horizon, getting into a comfort zone and ignoring other devices or possibilities in the vicinity. As I looked for a different point of view, I had a broad grin on my face when I realised I was literally standing over a visual gold mine. You see, I was leaning on the edge of the bridge and as soon as I looked down, I realised all I had to do was step back and use it in the frame.

Easier said than done. In this case, I was shooting from the pedestrian walkway on the far side of the bridge, so I walked to the very edge of the kerb to a point where I could kneel in complete safety as traffic whizzed past. Having found a spot (and shutting out the noise of passing vehicles almost within reach!) I was able to quickly shoot three or four frames through the bridge.


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

62 comments:

Hilary said...

That's incredibly beautiful and you're right.. it screams "SUMMER" to me. Just a lovely series of images, David. :)

Doreen said...

stunning shots!! looks like a summer sunset here in Michigan.

Lee Beth said...

Yeah these are definitely fantastic shots.

Sassy Scribbles said...

the sky bursting in colors, fantastic shots!

Sylvia K said...

Flaming, gorgeous colors regardless of the season and incredible shots as always, David. Love the ferris wheel and birds etched against the sky! Marvelous!

immersion said...

Amazing! Marvelous! Such a good moment and how fortunate you've captured it.

lakeviewer said...

Oh, this is rich, cool and hot at the same time. With the palm trees, you can't convince me it is chilly. Great perspective with the bridge!

Erin said...

beautiful colors...and yes they remind me of my beautiful joseph's coat roses (well the one's i had when i lived in california)...
and the skies are indeed tropical looking as well :)
have a fab weekend david

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wow!! Absolutely breathtaking!! It has been scorching here in Texas - in the 100's this week!

Regina said...

Fantastic. Nice captured of the colors.
Regina@DailyLiving

Womanatwork said...

Absoultely beautiful, I would love a print of the first one.

Charles Gramlich said...

Gorgeous colors. I could use your sky pictures to help me develop visuals for my fantasy worlds.

ellen abbott said...

So beautiful and intense David. We get some of our best sunsets in the winter.

Sunshine said...

Beautiful photograph taken ....Love the picture amazing well done.

Maggie May said...

The most amazing photos and colours. I just love the way you have used the silhouette of the big wheel in your photos and those birds flying over that dramatic sunset are superb.
You love in a beautiful place.
Some of your best photos, I think.

mrsnesbitt said...

Wow David! Absolute contrast to my sky!

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

Splendid winter morning view!
I am working on migrating to your country!

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Well now, those are just outstandingly beautiful! I'm a sucker for a sunset, but add a ferris wheel? I'm mush. :)

only a movie said...

Gorgeous shots. And I like the walk through narrative of explaining how you got them.
Thanks for sharing!

Brian Miller said...

wow. beautiful colors, love how you framed the wheel in the background. truly amazing.

Deborah Godin said...

To my northern hemisphere eyes, it's quite a display - colors, palms and...frost!!

Robin said...

Spectacular. Nothing that wonderful looking could possibly be cold and wintery, and I'm going to stick my fingers firmly in my ears and chant lalala if you try to persuade me otherwise. It would ruin the whole tropical island fantasy I've now got going.

cheshire wife said...

Amazing photos! The palm trees really give a tropical feel whatever the season.

James said...

This are some of the nicest sky pictures I've seen. Stunning.

becky aka theRAV said...

These are beautiful, David. I like the reference to David's coat of many colors. One of my favorites. I used to make a poster size collage for church memembers that were moving away and I would use that as a Bible reference. I haven't posted many photos on my blog lately. I have tons to upload but haven't found the time yet & fear I will blow up my computer! I will have an upcoming art show in Sept. I keep thinking of some advice you gave me awhile back.... on one of my photographs which you told me to blow up as big as possible, frame and hang in our home but 1st I will enter it in the art show. If it doesn't sell, I'll hang it in the living room over our couch. If it sells, I am may still hang another one!

Petunia said...

Just love the amazing colours in all of your shots:) It is summer here so this looks the summer sky for me.
Petunia from Norway

Vita Stunder said...

Gorgeous shots David!
And I agree with Hilary, for me they screams 'Summer' too.

Beautiful series of images!!

Have a great friday!
Anna

Pastor Sharon said...

David that really is my idea of Winter Wonder Land!
I have to say this about you: Everyone is given a gift, a talent, a way to make a difference in life.
I wanted to let you know, your pictures make an amazing difference in mine! Your talent for the things you are able to capture sets you apart from a regular professional photographer!
THanks for sharing your gift with the rest of us!

prettyfirefly said...

Great shots! Lots of bursting colors! Happy SWF!
hope you could visit my entry at http://prettyfirefly.com

prettyfirefly said...

Great shot! Happy SWF!
hope you could visit my entry at http://prettyfirefly.com

VALKYRIEN said...

Amazing! Simply breathtaking colors - and wonderful shots!

Marsha's Mpressions said...

David, these are stunning shots and I love the way you explain what you are doing and how you captured them. Thanks for sharing!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Interesting information behind the photographs. And just stunning photos...the color and the way you used silhouette. Beautiful!

~Lisa

Tara R. said...

These skyscapes are stunning. Such amazing colors.

Lori ann said...

Spectacular. What a treat you have shared here.
Thank you and thank you so much for the mention. amazing...

Moannie said...

What a totally beautiful planet we live upon. Stunning photography and interesting following your train of thought.

Eric(SWF Holland) said...

WOW, the best post i have seen today!!! very nice colors, some are suberb at composition and love the silhouets at all the pictures!!!

Well done!!!, keep on posting SWF-pictures like this!!

Have a nice SWF.

Greatings form NL

J Bar said...

Just beautiful. Every single shot. Can't believe how many different colours were presented in that sunset.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

J Bar said...

Oops, sunrise.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

imac said...

Wonderful captures David.

Greyscale Territory said...

Loved the banter behind those stunning photos! It is quite awhile since I ventured from my peninsula into Melbourne! The Yarra can look quite beautiful!

Gennasus said...

I'm so glad you took your camera as those are fantastic shots. So hard to convince my brain that it is anything other than summer and hot!

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

Its a 'Gone with the Wind sky!! STUNNING!!!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

And you were there to capture this glorious sky, and you shared it with all of us. Winter disguised as summer to be sure. Your pictures brought to mind a book I read as a teenager and loved, titled "Red Sky At Morning".

Vodka Mom said...

that is really gorgeous.

But more importantly, how many posts DO you do a day????


xox

Annie said...

Ah, wonderful shots David..you have surpassed even yourself today!!

Another great sunrise comes from Cara in Brisbane, from her friend's sunroom..you might like to check it out..

http://brisdailyphoto.blogspot.com/

Denise said...

Nothing short of spectacular,amazing photos! Love the contrast between the palm trees and the ferris wheel against that brilliant sky.

indicaspecies said...

Those are incredibly beautiful colours in the sky David. Great shots!

laura said...

Gorgeous photos with GORGEOUS colors!!

Shadow said...

beautifully captures. the light is deceptive of summer, especially with the palms included.

the foto fanatic said...

Spectacular images right there!

spacedlaw said...

Good heavens! That was some colour!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Lucky you had your camera.

Lee said...

Wow! Summer candy indeed! David, these might be some of your best and most unusual sky shots ever.

Cheers!

Maureen said...

THAT's mid winter?????

I weep with jealousy. A mid-winter shot up here is white. Completely white...

Absolutely beautiful David.

Arija said...

David these are magnificent and have the advantage over mine since you have the Yarra flowing with colour so I really think you deserve the mention on Post of the Day rather than I, but thank you anyway.

jabblog said...

Glorious photographs! The colours are stunning but you must be careful kneeling on the ground; don't forget to put your cap out - you could make a small fortune ;-)

Russ said...

Absolutely gorgeous shots! I love the 4th one (I think - the vertical shot with all the reflections off the water). The one with the flock of birds is great capture of the moment.

Splendid Little Stars said...

simply gorgeous!

Ida said...

GORGEOUS! :)

Pearl Maple said...

Silhouettes framing a beautiful multi colour sky = simply wonderful. Thank you for sharing these stunning views of the skyline.

Kat said...

I think those may be the most gorgeous sky shots I have ever seen. Amazing!!!! And all of my favorite colors. :)