Saturday, 24 March 2012

Dawnwatch 26/02/2012 La Stupenda Dawn

Dawn from an East-Facing Balcony in Sydney

Rain would have kept many from watching this dawn, which is why I take photographs from an undercover balcony.  Not unconnected, this was also one of the worst dawns for mosquitoes.  They landed on my hands whilst I tried to hold the camera steady for just a few seconds to take photographs, and I was forced stop at times and move about in attempts to shake off the mini bloodsuckers.  Potential dawnwatchers should note that mosquitoes are an occupational hazard.

La Stupenda Dawn:  Sunday, 26 February 2012

Today’s dawn was hands down the most stupendous dawn of February 2012.  Yet it began with every indication of a washout, with the sky blanketed by cloud.  However, if you look closely at the telegraph pole horizon, you’ll note the gap there.  This gap was all-important in allowing the rising sun to shine through.

It began with pink striations across the sky.  Just plain lines, nothing fancy or of much interest.  Then the sun found that gap good and proper, and began pouring through, bathing the entire sky in golden light.

ABC News 24 played a viewer’s video of this stupendous dawn taken at the wharfside unit conversions down at The Rocks.  Panning along the silhouette of the wharfs, the video showcased the dawn sky as an opera curtain backdrop of pure molten gold.  It was gold, gold, fiery gold, from one side of the horizon to the other.  The news presenter described this dawn as “awesome”. 

I say it was freaking incredible.  You had to see it to believe it.  That’s a cliché, but honestly, I had no idea a dawn could be anything like this, or like many of the other fantastic and very different dawns - Old Masters Dawn, Gold Nugget Dawn, Lava Dawn, Apocalypse Dawn, Old Gold Dawn, Lobster Dawn, China Dawn - that I have witnessed in the space of just two months.

Also appreciating La Stupenda Dawn was a bird that alighted on the telegraph pole.  At the very climax of the dawn, when the molten gold curtain covered the sky, he chose to pose for photographs.  I must tell you, any bird that perches on that telegraph pole during sunrise will be photographed.  Simply irresistible.  He’s not in the video, so I’ve posted his picture here.  I admit that the bird diverted me from taking panoramic shots at a crucial time.

Smudgy slanted lines on clouds indicates rain.  It rained intermittently all morning.  And I’m sitting snug and dry on an undercover balcony.  Did I say smug?  No?  All right, let’s keep moving.  The rain created an aurora borealis type effect, and in the video I’ve shifted to a portrait shot in order to capture the full glory of the spectacle.  Sorry, I know it’s awkward, but I deemed it worth shifting from landscape to portrait and back; imagine the video sequence without this shot. 

When the light begins to fade, there’s still a show to see - the golden remains of the rainy aurora borealis contrasts against the grey-clouded sky.  Eventually, it does fade away, to leave a dark, cloudy grey morning for those who rise and look at the skies after 6.45am.  I retreat indoors and stick my mosquito-bitten hands in the freezer.  But for a full memory card in my camera, I reckon it was worth it.

Judge for yourself.  Watch the video on YouTube here.

Souvenir posters and mugs of this dawn are available from the Gagothicfunk store at as displayed below:

Don’t forget your humble photographer also writes fantasy adventure fiction under the name of S E Champenby.  Paperbacks and epubs available from at S E Champenby’s store.

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