I sat lotus style in the warm sand, enveloped in a dome of rose tinted light. The magical glow transformed and penetrated everything in sight. The waves crashed against the steeply sloping beach with just enough ferocity to claim my audible universe. As I gazed straight ahead — my eyes transfixed on the dimming yellow orb that was sinking below the multicolored horizon — my conscious mind unequivocally proclaimed “This is the greatest show on Earth!”
Pink, rose, violet, lavender, orange, yellow–I never tire of contemplating the ever-changing colors of a gorgeous sunset. It’s a time to savor one of nature’s most stunning displays of magic.
As photographers know, it’s all about light, and the brief periods just before sunrise and just after sunset are to be prized and maximized. When I worked in the movie industry, the vernacular used to describe the last exterior scene of the day was ‘the magic hour shot.’ Film directors know that everything must be set in advance for such scenes because the light is fleeting.
And perhaps that’s the most magical part of a sunset — its impermanence. The colors build to a crescendo and then begin to dim, sometimes making a reprise, and at other times all too soon, fading to black. Nature’s ever-changing skies guarantee a completely new and different show each night.
While I’ve gleaned hours of inspiration observing sunsets at locations all across our planet, some of the most beautiful I’ve experienced were during my 6-month stay in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico in 2016-17. There’s something just right about that area’s crescent shaped bay, the latitude’s quality of light and the broken clouds that dance on the trade winds from the Pacific.
While Puerto Vallarta and its gorgeous Bay of Banderas proved to be too packed with tourists for my long-term tastes — not to mention my one foot out the door syndrome — by early 2017, it was time for me to head further south.
Enjoy the sunsets wherever you are. Just let nature be your guide.