On Saturday afternoon two friends and I were on Noordhoek beach, to photograph panoramic images. The light wasn’t wonderful, but there were interesting clouds in the sky, and so we clicked away. By sixish, we noticed a few pink stripes in the clouds, so decided that we had nothing to lose and might as well hang around for sunset. And here’s the result – a sea- and landscape photographer’s dream. The images are so mindboggling that we might be accused of Photoshopping them; scouts honour though, this is how it was. No tweaking or fiddling with saturation, just pure out-of-the-camera.
But let me take you through the build-up to the fire sky.
Reflections are always attractive, so on the way to the beach I stopped and photographed the orangey rocks, reflected in the lagoon below them. You can get an idea of the size of these boulders by the people walking next to them. No problem to kids, though, they manage to scramble up and down quite easily and happily.
Having completed our panoramas, we noticed pink stripes appearing in the sky. At that stage, it didn't look as though a dramatic sunset was on the cards; however, we were there and stuck around to see what happened. The sky darkened, the pink stripes became more pronounced, and we became increasingly excited. Understand, photographers are a different breed - they get excited over anything from a small spider to a stunning tree or an overarching sky, and everything in between.
So we waited.
Oh wow! The sun in fact didn't really show its face from behind the clouds, which for us was great; too bright a sun can mean burnout in an image, which is not recoverable. But as it sank behind the bank of cloud that could have been a mountain range, so dark was it, the colours deepened, the pinks and yellows brightened until they almost hurt our eyes, and the rays spread themselves across the sky.
“We became very quiet before this immensity of nature; it was as though we were bathed in fire.”
The blissful part of all this was no wind, unusual in the Cape, very few people with phone or iPad cameras, and our solitude amid all the glory. The sun eventually sank, and as its farewell gift left us the magnificence you see below. We became very quiet before this immensity of nature; it was as though we were bathed in fire.
Slowly the colour started to fade to blues and lilacs.
And as darkness fell, I was reminded of a line in a poem that has always affected me around evening time:
"... And leaves the world to darkness, and to me".