There’s been some ‘golden hour’ inequality on this site recently, with slightly too much sunrise favouritism. It’s time to redress the balance, and as sunsets on St Helena, in the South Atlantic are as impressive, sharing a few from there would even the score.
“The light is looking poor” was the forecast offered by a St Helena tourism contact, who shall remain anonymous just before Aaron, and I began our race across the island to capture the descending sun. Hardly inspiring, and when he added we needed to return 30 minutes earlier than planned, the race against the fading light became even more challenging.
The plan was to take the 4×4 Mitsubishi van to South West Point, as this is where my expert driver/guide recommended photographing nature’s spectacular event. Aaron drove along the narrow, often steep island roads like a rally driver, honking his horn at every blind corner to warn oncoming traffic that we were speeding in their direction.
He wasn’t reckless, even under pressure, his task made more challenging by my insistence on stopping several times to grab a few images as the sun dropped from the sky. It descends rapidly, and even a delay of a few minutes, risked a late arrival at SW Point. Before long however, we were bouncing along rutted, rocky, and grass tracks, balancing the van at seemingly impossible angles while I continually jumped out to open, and close a number of gates.
Arriving with the sun quickly sinking towards the horizon, the tripod was soon setup, and a suitable viewing spot was found. To Aaron’s dismay this was someway down a slippery slope at the top of a long drop into a rocky shoreline. He may have practiced suitable explanations for losing a travel photographer in the crashing surf of the Atlantic.
While the sky is the spectacular equal of sunrise, with deep hues of orange, and vibrant yellow, the landscape reacts in an entirely opposite manner. The golden glow of the last light recedes, as the blanket of night descends over the rugged terrain. Insidious shadows creep across fields, filling in crevices with an inky blackness, and shrouding fences, gates, bushes, rocks. Providing sanctuary for nesting birds as all the detail gradually disappears from view.
The great advantage of sunset is that it doesn’t require rolling out of bed at an ungodly hour. With the possible exception of a few places which experience especially short days at certain times of year. Both are spectacular, and obtaining images of each will greatly enhance any portfolio. Taking a chance, even when conditions don’t seem ideal can often provide some pleasing results.
Aaron eventually returned us back to Jamestown, almost in time to meet our newly arranged deadline. These images are the result of this race against time, and fading light, what do you think, was this a waste of time due to poor light?