I had the good luck to be in the city in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday this week as this sunset unfolded. I was meeting a person at 9pm and had traveled into the city early. I was there at 8.15pm and had 45 minutes to occupy myself before the meeting. I had taken my camera with the expectation of being able to do a short shoot and adding to my stock portfolio. The sunset which unfolded took most of my attention and my breath away. It reminded me of the importance of patience and timing.
When I first arrived the sun was going down. There were plenty of light clouds around, but very little color in the sky. I was having a relaxing walk around the Docklands area, unaware of the spectacular sunset which was about to unfold.
For most of the next 20 minutes there was little to get excited about, although there was slightly more color in the sky. Then over a brief 9 minute window I took the 5 images you see in this post.
At 8.32pm there was still very little color to be seen. I had positioned myself at the city end of Docklands looking out towards the Bolte Bridge and the setting sun. I considered leaving as I had a 20 minute walk to my appointment. I am glad I stayed, as over the next few minutes you can see the change in color in the sky, culminating in a vivid orange and purple skyline in the vertical image here shot at 8.40pm and the horizontal one at the top of this post shot at 8.41pm.
It was a good lesson in patience and timing. Landscape photographers who shoot at sunrise and sunset know this lesson well. It is worth being in position early and then being patient. Sometimes you get a spectacular scene like this and sometimes you don’t – but nothing is more frustrating than packing your gear into the car and realizing you missed a great opportunity. The lesson on patience and timing also applies to other types of photography. I shoot weddings and family portraits and there is often a split second between a great image and a bride with her eyes shut looking terrible.
It seems ironic – talking about patience and timing – that I had to run to make it to my 9pm appointment. I arrived hot and sweaty, but on time and with a series of sunset images!