Friday, 27 April 2012

Dawnwatch 29/01/2012 Phoenix Dawn

Dawn from an East-Facing Balcony in Sydney
Know your angles.  By now I know exactly where to stand on the balcony and point my camera to capture the various views of the dawn for best framing purposes, but back in January I was just beginning.  From the debatable best of a collection of sorry photographs you can still make out the truly spectacular dawn that took place on Sunday, 29 January 2012 and that gives rise to this dawn’s name:  Phoenix Dawn.   

Phoenix Dawn:  Sunday, 29 January, 2012
According to my notes, this dawn was hot and humid with no wind, yet the clouds moved...which was just as well, because the initial pre-dawn pinks were masked by low and thick clouds.  Maybe the humidity explains why half the photographs were out of focus.  Anyway, with little morning light, the long time exposure to take the initial photographs ensured that they would be blurry.

Moving along, the stippled clouds at the back turn gold.  This dawn was almost called Gold Nugget Dawn - until I saw how badly the photos had turned out.  I’ve seen this gold nugget effect, as I’ll call it, in several dawns, but I have to say that Phoenix Dawn is the finest example of it.

At the spectacular height of this dawn, you can see those gold stippled clouds dominating the sky with gold tendrils in a phoenix-like design.  Simply fantastic.

I sob now looking at the paucity of photographs I took.  Always, always shoot off at least three photographs exactly the same, for the first one or two may not turn out.  If you know that one of those photographs didn’t turn out quite right, take another one or two.  On occasion I’ve taken four photographs in rapid succession and none of them turned out properly.  And do remember to capture the scene with as many angles as possible; you won’t know until after afterwards, when you blow up the pictures and carefully study them, which angle or photo is the best.

The greatest dawns contain stages, each of them magnificent in their own way.  Phoenix Dawn is one of them.  Beginning with the pre-pinks, then the golden nugget climax, and now we enter the third and final phase, Painted Dawn.  The incredible last photographs of this dawn look as if they have been painted.  And you can see the sun rising behind the painted clouds.  A memorable finish to Phoenix Dawn, terrible photography notwithstanding.

See the entire video of Phoenix Dawn 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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