I don’t think there is anything technically difficult about taking a sunset photograph. Typically it goes ‘See nice sunset, face camera in correct direction, compose so that there’s a bit of land or sea for a bit of context or framing purposes, take a picture’. Of course, there are nicer places to be when the sunset happens. Sunsets with the dark outlines of pylons, power wires, chimneys and a town in silhouette form are rarely the most picturesque I think. We all see a good sunset though, what makes a difference is how we see them.
I prefer to go and watch a nice sunset somewhere peaceful and natural anyway, preferably alone or just with my wife and kids. You just don’t get any magic if there is normal human hustle and bustle, the mundane sounds of the world shatters and interrupts with its noise. Of course I take my camera because, well you know, it seems that even though a sunset happens every day, albeit absolutely invisible to us many times, there’s usually something worth keeping a memory of, even if it’s not a technically brilliant masterpiece. They’re all unique as well, the combination of clouds and sky colours, the particular atmospherics of that particular time and place throwing up its own mixture.
This time I was up on the cliffs at The Strangles, to the south of Crackington Haven. Mrs B was working so I was striking out by myself along the clifftops and having a generally quiet and peaceful time. I was keeping an eye out for Peregrine Falcons, it’s the territory of one – or perhaps some more now after a breeding season – up here somewhere but they were avoiding my hunting for them this time. A herd of Goats can sometimes be found up here, performing shocking cliff edge food finding gymnastics while oblivious to any danger, but they were not around tonight either. Occasionally I picked different random spots to stop, stand and look around, taking some time to take it all in, feeling and hearing the breeze which was threatening to take my hat off at the very top of the cliffs but tugged more gently at it as I descended towards the sea.
The last time I blogged photos from here the kids provided some useful scale to the scene from having them in frame, sat quietly, watching. This time there was no one around to include in the pictures, save for a family on the beach far below involved in their own experience. So this is my sunset shot, not a tricky thing to take a picture of at all. This time though I was lucky to witness some ‘Sun Dogs’, the common name for the more technically correct Parahelia optical effect. The sunlight is refracted on ice crystals in the clouds, giving a bright spot on either side but on the same plane – sometimes referred to as Mock Suns – and sometimes a prism of rainbow colours, which this one has a hint of.
I think the Strangles clifftops will feature a lot in my evening walks, it being a grand total of five minutes travel time to get to a place where I can abandon the car (note: in the provided parking place, not really just abandoned randomly) and having breathtaking views in every direction. I hope, away from the mundanity and the realities of life for a moment or two, you have your own special sunset spot.
PS: Is PS necessary on a blog entry? I don’t know really, just seems to be the polite way to go… Anyway, I do have a few more pictures from here that I’ll probably put up on the Facebook page when I have a moment.