Chase The Sun.

It was yet another warm afternoon in our driest October on record. Everything seemed faded; the usually blue sky was hazy and pale, bleached almost white on the horizon. The forest seemed dusty, the greens muted, and our tiger grass curled, thirsty. The lawn crunched underfoot. We’d been hoping for a storm for days but had only had a few teasing spits of rain – spring storms kept swinging to the north, south or west, avoiding us. I was quite offended.

I’d had a boringly routine day; errands and cleaning. I fetched the boys home, then while they played outside with Daddy I tried to get the vacuuming finished before starting dinner. I had barely looked outside in ages , being eyes down, focused on the grubby floor around the vac. Then Finn came running in to tell me Daddy said there was a pretty sunset I’d probably like, would I like to come and see it? And bolted outside again. I had half a thought of “But I’m nearly done – how special could it be ? I’ve seen plenty”, but figured he went to the trouble of coming in to tell me so I’d better at least go and have a look.

Walked to the back fence and stood up on the railing for a better view.

Oh. Okay, well, yeah. I DID want to see this!!
Oh. Okay, well, yeah. I DID want to see this!!

I dashed back inside, grabbed the Nikon, told the menfolk I’d be back soon, and jumped in the car… I just had to get a better view! I drove it like I stole it to my favourite high spot at the top of the ridge, expecting the usual vista of the sun sinking behind the forested hills of the Gold Coast Hinterland.

D'OH. Of course the sun sets further south in spring...
D’OH. Of course… the sun sets further south in spring…

…and that puts it behind the trees. Now what?

Jumped in the car again and hooned a couple of k’s up to the other end of the ridge. I vaguely remembered a clear view of Bonogin Valley and Springbrook from up there somewhere because I’d wondered if the owners had built in a natural cliffside clearing or if they’d just cut down all the trees. On the way up I found a gap in the trees just as the blood orange sun sent shafts of golden light into the valley.

The sun's gone magenta now!
Why does the sun shine… magenta? It’s that little half-circle halfway up the tree trunk on the right.
Golden light pouring like honey…

Bloody trees still in the way! AARRGGHH! Time was running out so I jumped back in the car and raced along the top of the ridge, keeping half an eye on the road, half on the sky, and the rest scouting for vantage points. I spotted a vacant block that looked promising, so screeched to a halt in a shower of gravel and dust and ran across the road. Had to climb a big rocky embankment first, and that’s when I realised perhaps I should’ve worn shoes. (Well I didn’t know I’d be going cross country did I?!)

I sprinted graceful as a gazelle across the cleared lot, leaping between patches of grass, but hidden rocks kept stabbing the soft parts of my feet making me piss and swear. I eventually made it to the far side where there was a cliff-like dropoff and… a simply stunning view across the valley.

Look on the bright side: so we aren't getting rain, but we are getting bushfires which throw a lot of crap into the atmosphere which in turn produces the most uh-may-zing sunsets.
Look on the bright side: so we aren’t getting rain, but we are getting bushfires. Which means lots of smoke and crap in the atmosphere and this fantastic sunset.

I took photos as quickly as possible, fiddling with the settings to try to reproduce the gorgeous fiery oranges and golds that my eyes were seeing. (My sunsets have gotten loads better since I did a photography course a while back but they still need work.) Meanwhile moving around getting the best shot possible was made more difficult due to the fact there were at least a billion ants all living right where I was standing and they were all really miffed about me standing there. I hopped around swearing some more, getting bitten, trying to brush the little buggers off while also trying to avoid the stabby rocks and shoot the sunset, which was disappearing rapidly. I spotted a small, antless pile of rocks right at the edge of the dropoff and jumped onto it (no snakes – phew), and stayed on my safe little island until the last of the blazing sun dropped behind the range.

Fiery orange sunset
Going… going…
...and gone.
…and gone.

So while I am SO SPEWING I missed a proper shot of that incredible magenta sun, I am SO STOKED I gave up vacuuming for this. Thank you husband!!!

Notes for next amazeballs sunset/lightning storm/photoworthy event:

  • Floor it straight up to new secret lookout and hope no one has built there yet.
  • Bring the tripod.
  • SOAK LEGS IN BUG REPELLENT. Or take a jerrycan of kero and a flaming torch so you can light a protective circle of flame around you. Except… that won’t work because the ants would just surface inside the circle… okay fine just stick with shoes and bug repellent.
  • Remember to look up once in a while. And if you forget, let yourself be reminded.

And here, just because I love it and the song title is perfect –

– Michelle

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Robyna says:

    We had a beautiful sunset here the other day – a rainbow reflected back into it. I had the same reaction – grabbing the camera and running. I just wish I was a better photographer and could really capture it.


    1. Michelle says:

      Me too… do you know Sean Scott’s work? AMAZEBALLS. Whenever we have an incredible sunset or lightning storm or incredible sunset DURING a lightning storm his photos never fail to take my breath away.


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