What if one day the sky exploded into a flurry of perfectly transitioned reds, oranges, pinks and purples? What if it lasted only a few minutes and then transitioned into a beast of a totally different nature? Wouldn’t you stand in awe at the symphonic spectacle hoping to absorb every instant to the extent that you can recall it to its most exact detail with a second’s effort? Sunsets are just that; a chance that the sky will be razed by colours of light we only see in fireworks. There’s a chance it will flare, there’s a chance it will fizzle. Dont ever be caught off guard.
I particularly love shooting sunsets. If I live to see a million of them I’d be comforted to know I’d never get bored because every single one will be different. They’re wildly unpredictable and endlessly evolving. Dont ever turn your back on them because they cant be trusted. I remember my first experience trying to shoot a sunset. It was shaping up quite nicely just as the sun was about to set. The low hanging blankety clouds were lit from below by a sinking sun. I grabbed a few frames but got a bit disappointed that it wasnt as spectacular as I expected. The sun fell below the horizon, I thought it was over. You can’t shoot a sunset without a sun right? I tucked my Panasonic Lumix into its pouch and started trekking home from my sunset hillside. I got the sudden urge to turn around. Whoa! That sun of a snitch was exploding into one of the most vibrant ruby-reds I’d ever seen. I started running back to my hillside so I could use my original composition idea. The pace at which it was changing and fading made it clear that there was no way I’d make it back in time. I stopped short and clicked out a few shots of just bare sky. That day I learned my lesson; never turn your back on a sunset. The one you turn your back on will always be the proverbial “one that got away”. I’m quite ashamed to say I learned the same lesson many times over. The days I left my camera home thinking it would be a dull afternoon were the days I missed some of the best ones. If the human body were rightly configured for the task I’d kick myself in the butt for turning my back and thinking the symphony was complete.
Putting the colours aside, there’s something more about a sunset that seems to lure us and tame our tired spirits after long days. Why do we make a deal out of sitting and watching them? More so, why do they feel so much more special when we share those fizzling moments of daylight with someone we’re close to or someone who appreciates them as much as we do? Sunsets have been romancing us for centuries. They mark the end of a day’s toil and prepare us for the peace of rest we think we’ve earned. They cause us to reflect, slow down and value the time under its spectacle because we know it will be short. Perhaps that’s specifically why sunsets are so special; because they represent the end of a day we know we won’t see again. They remind us that time eventually winds itself up and even the most glorious of lights eventually burn out. So, while you can, soak them in, shoot them, stand in awe, sit in silence, share the moment and make the memories. Yes, there will be another one tomorrow but it will never be like the one today.
C. JoyBell C “Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under.”