no such thing as a disappointing sunset on Flickr.
I’d decided to head out and catch the evening light at about 7.30, roughly two hours before sunset. Fifteen minutes later I realised I hdn’t eaten since lunch so quickly scarfed some food while getting my kit ready.
This meant that I neglected to check my photographers’ ephermeris, a wonderful little programme that gives you, as well as the times of the rise and set of the sun and moon for any location you enter, the precise direction on google maps. I assumed that heading to the hill at Grenoside would give me a view of dusk across the valley to the West, but not only does the ridge run less directly North than I’d thought but I’d forgotten quite how far North the sun sets so close to Midsummer.
So I fond myself puffing up steep hills, forever climbing in front of me and blocking the direction of sunset. For the first half of the magic hour, the light was simply phenomenal. There were several times I was tempted to just stop, get a few shots of the light, thick and golden as warm honey, slanting across a field or horses or a copse of trees, and call it a night. But that part of my brain telling me I was bound to find a vantage won out, and I kept on.
Just before nine heavy clouds seemed to rise from the horizon to meet the descending sun. At about ten past I found a curve of road that gave a view toward a dip of valley in the direction of the sun. I’d lost that magnificent light, but the sun and clouds might be kind and give me something.
I took a few desultory shots of the field and the hills shading toward the horizon, but then the edges of the clouds began to turn to molten gold. It was not a spectacular sunset, just a small segment of the sky that flared a farewell to anyone who happened to be paying attention. Perhaps just for me. Focused in, constrained by the frame of the photographic sensor, those fleeting moments, ephemera indeed, are here.
I love doing this. I’d forgotten how much.