What a difference a day makes...
Or in this case less than 15 minutes! I had actually gone to St. Catherine’s in order to recce a possible sunset shot over Watershoot bay looking towards the Needles but as we were driving through Godshill I could see the potential of rainbows in the air!
On parking the car I left Sharon strapping our 18 month old son into his back carrier and sprinted down the footpath nearly going flying as my foot hit a rabbit hole. Lungs burning I desperately unclipped the camera bag, dragged out the camera and took a shot without the tripod or even checking exposure just in case the light died without notice.
Thankfully the sun and raincloud were moving somewhat slower than I had just been and so I regained my composure (pun intended) and set up the tripod.
Over the course of the next 15 minutes the colour and quality of light went through some of the most stunning transitions I think I have seen in my years as a landscape photographer.
This first image was taken at 6.02pm – about half hour before sunset - where the light was just beginning to give a hint of warmth on the white stonework of the lighthouse, accentuating the brooding sky behind.
With this second image taken at 6.07pm I shifted position slightly and zoomed in as the inevitable rainbow formed over the sea. The colour and quality of light was now an intense contrasty yellow – a little harsh I thought for my purpose but thought (hoped!) that the contrast would lower as the sun sank.
This is my winner of the four images. Taken at 6.15pm the warmth on the stonework is at its strongest, but the contrast has now become more subtle, allowing detail in all parts of the scene to shine through. The rainbow and raincloud has started to glow a gorgeous orange hue.
The final image here was taken just 1 minute and 9 seconds later! The sun has now started its decent through a thickening cloud bank on the horizon, draining off the blue end of the spectrum and lowering the contrast further, leaving this concentrated orange blaze, which for my tastes is a little too strong.
The frantic run around to Watershoot Bay two minutes later was in vain as the sun had all but gone. Just goes to show you don’t always get what you plan for!