Sunsets are perhaps what I love to photograph best.
One can easily see why. The setting of the sun is a natural highlight of a day’s cycle. Sunsets embrace seemingly familiar landmarks in an exciting new light. And, unlike many of the landmarks themselves, sunsets are simply beautiful and a pleasure to watch – as well as to photograph. There you have it.
So devoted am I to sunsets that, before embarking on yet another trip, I usually check for scenic sunset spots at the destination. The main trick is to avoid the obvious tourist traps. Take Santorini’s Oia, for example. Presented as the “World’s Best Sunset”, it offers little as far as the “best” experience is concerned – on top bundling it rather unpleasantly with crowds of similarly fooled fellow tourists. If I were them, I’d check Santorini’s Ammoudi village downhill from Oia instead – or indeed the Pyrgos village offering a spectacular sunset view over both of banana-shaped island’s two ends. You would kill two birds with one stone: avoid the crowds and enjoy a Santorini sunset more breath-taking than Oia will ever dream of.
In short, if you are serious about sunsets, it is important to choose the shooting spot carefully.
Somebody asked the other day what my most spectacular sunset of all time was. Hmmm. Memories came flooding in as I recalled scene after scene of majestic, multicolour light displays. It would be impossible to choose one “best” sunset, so many great ones there have been. After some more thinking, however, I managed to select a quarter of a hundred – twenty five perfect sunset moments I will never forget.
See for yourselves why.
Located on the Ebro River in Zaragoza, Spain, Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar) is reputed as the first ever church dedicated to Virgin Mary (image: October 2009)
The River Daugava (Russian: Западная Двинa, Belarussian: Заходняя Дзвіна) rises in the Valdai Hills in Russia and makes a journey of over one thousand kilometres before discharging into the Baltic Sea in Riga, Latvia (image: January 2009)
Ever wondered about that river flowing under the famous Ponte Vecchio and Santa Trìnita bridges? Notorious for its irregular flows sometimes resulting in major floods, the Arno River in Florence, Italy, is central Italy’s most important after the Tiber (image: July 2010)
Some recent additions to the panorama of Tbilisi, Georgia, have been less popular than others: the gleaming new Peace Bridge was quickly re-branded as “Always Ultra” thanks to the perceived similarities with a certain sanitary towel (image: July 2010)
New Belgrade (Serbian: Novi Beograd) in Belgrade, Serbia, has recently become the city’s new financial centre and its fastest developing area where many businesses have moved to – despite continuing to score low with less business-minded visitors (image: September 2009)
Parc Güell in Barcelona, Spain, provides a spectacular view over the city’s major landmarks – including the TV tower Torre de Collserola – and is a popular sunset watching spot (image: January 2010)
When Chelsea Bridge in London, UK, was painted red and white in the 1970s, a number of Chelsea F.C. fans complained about the “Arsenal colours”; blue has since been added to the palette (image: January 2010)
Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) in Lisbon, Portugal, was originally built on an islet in the Tagus River but is now nearly touching the shore thanks to the slowly shifting shoreline (image: January 2008)
MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Unknown to most foreigners, the island of Evia (Εύβοια), Greece, is in fact the country’s second largest – both in area and population – after the much more frequented Crete (image: September 2008)
OVER THE SEA
The Western side of the Koh Samui (เกาะสมุย) island, Thailand, may lose to its Eastern counterpart on the partying front – but wins hands down with its stunning over-the-water sunsets (image: April 2007)
That Thessaloniki sunset is perhaps the closest I will ever get to perfection. I still keep hearing from the locals along the lines of “I have seen your sunset pictures on Flickr. I remember that day. Was it March 2008?”
Truly unforgettable moments.