I don’t claim to be any kind of photographer – I like looking at other people’s pictures but don’t have the patience to wait for that perfect moment or look for the unique angle, let alone the technical knowledge. If you’re interested in good photography, I recommend my sister Caz’s blog, Finding a Focus. She actually knows what she’s doing, which is always a promising start. Or my friend Cheryl, who’s just launched her own Etsy store selling her photography on cards and gifts. When taking photos, I generally prefer to concentrate on people (while carefully avoiding getting in front of the camera myself, as much as possible).
But there’s one thing I do love to take pictures of, and that’s a good sunset.
I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated by sunset photos. I’d like to say it’s something deep and philosophical – but to be honest, it’s just because they’re so pretty, I love the colours, and best of all, you don’t need to be good at photography to take a good picture – the sunset does all the work for you.
Preparing this post gave me an excuse to go back through some of my favourite sunset photos, and I found some I’d forgotten about – like these, from Florida in 2006. My sister Helen and I spent two weeks visiting all the theme parks, but managed to find one day to go on a trip to the Everglades and then out on a boat trip in the evening. We were promised dolphins, which didn’t materialise, but we did get an amazing sunset.
Back at the Magic Kingdom, we were treated to this dramatic sight on our way out one evening. I love the layers of cloud; the height of them made us feel very tiny (which made a change as the rest of the time we felt like the tallest people there. Note to self: remember to borrow a child for the next trip to Disney World).
I took the following photos in St Kitts, on holiday with friends in 2007. Not only was it a stunningly gorgeous island and a beautiful sunset, but this photo has some amazing memories attached; after all, it’s not often you get to go on holiday to the Caribbean with your three oldest friends, and stay in a luxurious private villa. This particular photo, possibly my favourite of all, was taken from the Shipwreck Bar, which, incidentally, is also where I first discovered rum. Bonus!
I once tried to enter the above picture in a photo competition at work, but nobody believed that I hadn’t stolen it from a stock photography website. So here’s proof that I was really there (yes, that is me):
I don’t mean to gloat, but our villa, which belongs to my friend’s ex-boss, was absolutely amazing. When we first arrived, we spent a good ten minutes running from room to room, squealing, before jumping straight in the private pool. (To read more about our holiday, here’s my friend’s blog post.)
This was the view from our balcony in the evenings. We’d watch the cruise ships arriving and leaving, feeling smug because we had our own house and car, and so we weren’t really ‘tourists’. Even though we were.
Moving on to Canada, on holiday in 2010 with Caz. Canada is, again, a very easy place to photograph because it’s so gorgeous. This photo was taken somewhere on the U.S. border (I have no idea where) and has a bit of everything – sunset, mountains, water, little puffy clouds. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As regular readers of this blog will know, my friend Sian (incidentally the same one whose ex-boss owns the St Kitts villa – she’s a useful person to know) recently moved to Turkey, and last year we (my friend – and Sian’s sister – Lorraine, her mum and I) went out with her to see where she’d be living. We were lucky enough to be looked after by Sian’s friends Julia and Mick, who took us on our last night to the Sundial restaurant, high up above Fethiye, and promised us a spectacular sunset. They weren’t wrong. My only complaint was that it was hard to concentrate on my dinner because I had to keep jumping up and taking more photos.
The restaurant’s other attraction was a waiter who looked a lot like Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. But that’s another story.
And so to 2013, and back to Turkey to visit Sian, who by now was all settled in. This photo was taken on my first evening, at the Bogazici restaurant (which does an amazing moussaka, if you’re ever in Fethiye).
That’s enough of the exotic locations. It’s just as easy to get a decent sunset photo at home. I snapped this slightly blurry picture on my phone last summer after an African music festival at Pontoon Dock in east London, with my friend Cheryl (the photographer). She probably got lots of photos that are much better than this, but I was happy with my effort!
And here’s Parsons Green tube station, on my way home from work in February this year. Leaving work when it’s already getting dark is pretty depressing, especially when you know you still have a couple of hours before you’ll get home (ah, the life of a commuter), but my mood is always improved by sights like this 🙂
This one’s a bit of a cheat as it’s actually sunrise, not sunset, but I thought I’d include it anyway. I was taken close to where I live, after an ill-fated attempt to get to work in January 2010. Despite there being only about an inch of snow, my trains had all ground to a halt (this is not uncommon in weather of any kind – snow, rain, sun, you name it) so I had no alternative but to head back home for a cup of tea.
And finally, another local shot. This was taken just a couple of days ago in Greenhithe, looking across the Thames towards the QEII bridge connecting Essex and Kent. I don’t tend to think of the Dartford crossing as a particularly glamorous location, but it has its moments – and it just goes to show, you never know when something good might happen; even when you’re trudging home after a long day at work, you might still find the energy to make a detour down to the river and take a photo just like this one.
By now you’re probably sick of looking at sunsets, but it’s unlikely I ever will be, so be prepared for more in the future! 😉