The setting sun
If you were paying attention, you will have
noticed that in the final sentence of my last post I snuck in something about
sunsets, and if you were really really paying attention you will also remember
that in a post prior to that I threatened to write about sunsets. That threat
is now real.
But who doesn’t like a good sunset? One of
the joys of sunsets is that are available to almost everyone. OK perhaps not coal-miners
on afternoon shifts, or that guy who tried to blow up a plane with his shoe, nor
the 1.3bn people that live in a smog cloud in China, but nonetheless you would have to say pretty
universal in terms of access. You don’t need money or time especially, you just
go outside at the appropriate time of day and look up. Or straight. Whatever.
I love a good sunset, there is something
very appealing about that shimmering ball dropping below the horizon. It just kind of draws you in. Sunrises
are good too of course, but require you to not be in bed, so for some peculiar reason I am more
drawn to sunsets, and I if I am out and about I often make an effort to go and
appreciate one, especially if the skyline is dramatic. And even more especially
if there is NO skyline, for instance ocean sunsets. The best.
|Los Cristianos, Tenerife|
During the day you are never aware of the
sun “moving”. Yeah yeah I know, it doesn’t move but we do. If this is news to
you I am sorry. Sure, you are aware that in the morning it was shining right in
your face as you drove east to work, and when you next looked at around lunchtime it
was towards the south, but you don’t actually see it move (partly this may be
because you can’t actually look at it). However at sunset you become acutely
aware of the sun moving, and as you approach the very end it seems to speed up,
with those last moments passing incredibly quickly. I find it mesmerising. It also appears to get bigger the closer it gets, I've seen some enormous ones.
|Cape Greco, Cyprus|
At times it can of course simply be a damp squib.
The other day I drove hell for leather to Ponta Do Pardo, the lighthouse at the
western end of Madeira, as I have a bit of a thing for the sun setting over the
sea and it’s not often I get to see one. It was a clear day, not a cloud in the
sky, and as I arrived at the spot there was the glowing orange ball. Everything
was set. And then it just disappeared! Distant murk over the horizon totally
obscured what could have been utterly magical. But for all the misses – using
language we all understand let’s call them dips – there are some spectacular
successes, glorious evenings that make you shiver. Or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, majestic in their breadth and scope, and being somewhere special for
one is a privilege.
|Jebel Hafeet, Abu Dhabi|
The light changes constantly, the hues differ by the minute. The colours are hugely varied, especially once the sun has
actually disappeared below the horizon, and it is probably this that is the best period of all. Not even that low layer of clouds can defeat this, instead they act as an enormous reflector creating amazing sky-scapes. Shifting patterns, reds to oranges, pinks and purples. I swear it sometimes gets lighter, more vivid, than when the sun had been above the horizon.
For all the images I have posted here, cameras
cannot really do a proper sunset justice much
of the time. For starters it is an experience that requires other senses as well. Fading warmth
on your face, the first slight chill. Why does the wind seem to get up when the sun goes? Silence if you have chosen your spot with care. waves crashing, and in warm countries sometimes the sounds of the night - insects, frogs and who knows what else. Mostly however the lens simply can't pick up the same width or the depth of the landscape as your eyes do, nor the shimmer, the pulses. For all of the distance involved, it really is something that you are a part of and that does not translate perfectly onto a two-dimensional screen.
|The Shard, London|
Totally agree - from Land's End [or any sea view really] stays with you always.ReplyDelete