A long time ago, somewhere in the depths of my childhood, I remember reading a story saying how the Norse goddess Frigg, wife to Odin and mother of Baldr, clued the cosmos in on her state of mind in a truly stellar fashion: if she were sad, the sunset would be dull and nondescript, but if she were happy, the world would get a pyrotechnic show this side of a 4th of July grande final. Don’t you love it when people take the guesswork out of the equation?
It’s a good question as to when I became obsessed with sunsets — maybe I just hate waking up early to catch the dawn — but I noticed that, going through my photos collections, I seem to take pains to snap a lot of twilight moments. But hey, why not? Nothing against the black-and-white beauties of Ansel Adams, but I have always seen the world in vibrant Technicolor, and a good sunset has some of nature’s best.
I’m not alone; if you can get over that drama queen in the foreground, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” is all about the sunset. And did you know there is such a thing as a sunset party? In Carmel-by-the-Sea, arguably California’s most underrated artistic capital, the views over the Pacific can be so spectacular that people literally drop everything and head to the beach for the impromptu colorporn.
It’s the same in Haywood County, North Carolina. I was there the last year covering the eclipse, but was witness to a far more common cosmic occurrence later the very same day: a sunset over the rolling green gorgeousness of Appalachia. Locals take to the Blue Ridge Parkway to various lookouts points for the best views.
But it’s not all about land- or oceanscapes. Inspired by “Impression, Sunrise” Monet, I grabbed this industrial shot in Antwerp:
And when I was in Pattaya, most famous (some would say infamous) as the city the Thai sex industry made, I beheld this tranquil vista over the Gulf of Thailand:
And sometimes I am REALLY, REALLY ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY lucky, like when I was on a plane over the Adirondacks, looked out the window, and saw this (points to me for putting my camera in my carry-on, by the way).
And that’s the great thing about sunsets (and sunrises, for that matter): From the ground and all the way up into orbit, they happen everyday. Provided the colors are vibrant, the weather permits, and you don’t take a pic directly into the shinning sun and overexpose the photo, even amateur photogs like me can whack out some pretty impressive work.