Chasing Sunsets


One of my favorite things is watching the sunset. Taking pictures of sunsets — the attempt to capture that moment of last light in the art that is so dependent upon light — is a challenge that I like; one that no matter how many times I try to take a picture of the “perfect sunset”, it remains elusive. That is part of the fun. How sad it would be to achieve perfection and to not have anything left to strive for!

The problem is, though, that too often the last fading light of the day is gone before I notice. Especially in summer when the days are so long, I take them for granted, as if daylight would last all evening and wait until I am ready to take a few moments and watch what nature paints across the western sky. As if fireflys wouldn’t mind pausing just for me before they light their neon yellow-green bellies across the edges of the gardens.

This evening, leaving the grocery, I looked West. A pale blue sky tinging on a darker blue as it arced upward gently surrounded a small sliver of moon hung over billowy orangepink clouds. As the front moved in as the sun sunk, the clouds grew and streaked at a 45 degree angle towards midnight, leaving a grey wake across the fiery sky. It caught my breath. A perfect photograph, perhaps, I thought as I sped to make the light, hoping to arrive home as quickly as possible and grab my camera and tripod.

It was only a mile and I had all greens. But, as I drove up the drive the sun inched down just far enough that night gained dominence on my wooded hillside before I could turn off the car engine. A bird sang his last notes of the evening. I think he may have been mocking me, fool that I was that I didn’t sit in the parking lot watching the last bit of light descend over Krogers.

A nearly perfect sunset alluding me once again, this one miles away from where I was this evening.

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2 responses to “Chasing Sunsets

  1. Those sunsets are hard to catch, aren’t they? And when I do manage to catch one it never looks the same in the photo as it did to my eyes. There is always a detail or two missing.

    • Exactly, Stephanie! Take the photo above — if you capture the colors correctly in the sky, the sea can look far more gray than it actually is. While that may be a technical issue that could be resolved, there is still something elusive. Perhaps in this particular photo it is the smell of the salt air.