Now that my new website is all sorted I thought it was high time I published this collection of photographs. I’ve shared individual images from this particular evening before, but never all of them, like this, in chronological order. All of these images were taken during the course of one single sunset, down at Gerroa on Seven Mile Beach in July 2014. It was, without doubt, the most colourful, craziest, most vibrant sunset cloud display I’ve ever seen and it’s nights like this one that make all the crappy ones worthwhile. All of the photos you can see on this page were taken over the course of just 25 minutes and neatly illustrate just how many colour changes the sky can go through when it sets its mind to it. Since this particular evening I have enjoyed many other colourful sunsets (and sunrises for that matter) but nothing (yet!) has equalled this one.

The night began with a hole-punch cloud. Otherwise known as a fallstreak cloud, these particular formations have the habit of bringing all the crazies out of the woodwork with bats-arse stupid theories about how they form, but the scientific evidence suggests that they are the result of a cascade failure of ice crystals in the clouds. Anyway, I thought this cloud was going to be the high point of the evening, but I was wrong.


Things started off innocuously enough with the sun heading down behind the escarpment as usual. I noticed the lines of cloud which (helpfully) stretched off towards the horizon.


And this was about when the lightshow began. The sun was just set at this moment and the orange hues started back-lighting the high level clouds.


Things are starting to pop now and I was enjoying taking shots of the clouds and their reflections, but I wanted a bit of foreground interest in the image and one of the drawbacks to this part of Seven Mile Beach is that there’s not often much in the way of foreground interest. You will note, however, theĀ  figures emerging from the surf on the right of the image. They turned out to be two local surfers and I spoke to them as they headed down the beach past me on the way home.

I asked them both if they’d mind posing for me and they both kindly agreed. They asked me what they thought they should do and I just said, “Just look out to the ocean meaningfully,” which they dutifully did. As soon as I saw this shot on the back of the camera I knew it was one of the best I’d ever taken. I thanked the girls and they headed home. Some months later the mum of the young lady on the right asked if they could use the image to publicise their rental holiday home at Gerroa and I agreed and let them use it free of charge by way of thanks for their starring role. If you go look at the houses opposite Rickets Reserve on Burke Parade you’ll see it on a sign there.


Tide was coming in and I moved to capture some movement in the water as the lightshow continued.


The sky always changes over the course of a sunset from quite yellowy oranges and then slowly down towards the other end of the spectrum. By this point the oranges had darkened into deep reds and burgundies.


Real clarity in the sky by this point as the back-lighting through these high level clouds into sharp relief.


Now by this point I thought the show was nearly over, but I was wrong.


In fact the colour got stronger still. This was probably the peak of the colour with amazing reds and pinks cast all the way across the cloudscape as it stretched from east to west over the top of Seven Mile.


The colour changed again and I switched to the tripod to catch a longish exposure.


The colour finally started to recede down into the west. That said the EXIF for this shot are still fairly sensible – f/8 at 1/8th of a second and ISO100, so it wasn’t like I need to boost light levels to capture the scene.


And here the light begins to fade from the overhead clouds and draw back. It’s nearly over.


Last shot of the day as the light fades and the last of the reds and oranges recede down into the west, leaving only echoes of what had taken place over the course of the last half an hour.