Tag Archives: sunset

A summer storm

A cumulus tower

A cumulus tower

Summer storms are a fact of life where I live. They seem to pop up out of a clear blue sky. This one is no exception. I hear it first, a low rumble in the distance outside my window. There it is, a vast cumulus tower, its curves bright white in the sun. A look at the radar shows we’ll probably be in its path.

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Here it comes

When the sky grows dark I go outside to watch its progress. The soaring thunderclouds are invisible now, the sky a uniform deep grey blanket except for that ragged leading edge, like fingers dragging a cloak of cloud in their wake. Lightning flashes all around me, sometimes high up in the cloud, making it light up inside, sometimes a spear of brilliance stabbing into the ground.

I count the seconds for the thunder. One… two… and then the rolling bouncing rumble like a bowling ball in the gutter. Or the sharp ear-bursting cymbal crash followed by a drum roll.

The very air is electric, making my skin tingle. There is no wind down here, but there is up there. The finger fragments have passed me, now heading for the sea. Now the first heavy drops of rain begin to fall, leaving a polka dot pattern on the hot paving. And with the rain comes the wind, bending the palm trees and swirling around the veranda.

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Lightning now well out to sea

I retreat under cover and watch the sky show as the storm surrounds us with noise and fury. Bolt after bolt of lightning hurtles down, thunder bangs and crashes while the rain beats down with an added timpani of hail.

The seconds between the lightning bolts and the thunder lengthen. The storm is gone almost as quickly as it developed, leaving 22mm of rain in as many minutes.

Not long after, the sun breaks through, bright as a searchlight on the trees. Of course there’ll be a rainbow. And there is, along with a brilliant sunset.

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Ord River buzz

A lake ArgyleThe highlight of our visit to Kununurra was a trip on the Ord River. After all, without the Ord River, Kununurra wouldn’t exist. The town was created in the sixties, when one of the visionary Duracks, who originally opened up the area, persuaded the Government to dam the river. If you’ve been following my journey, you’d know that year-round water is a huge problem up here. There’s the Wet and the Dry, and the Wet is very, very wet and the Dry is very, very dry. In between there’s fire, which clears the land ready for the next wet. But traditional crops like wheat, cotton and sugar cane don’t grow like that. So a dam was built and Lake Argyle was created. You can read all about it here.

It’s hard to give an idea of size when talking about lakes and things. I’ve often heard descriptions involving Olympic sized swimming pools and football fields. But sometimes even they become insignificant. In Australia we have our own term of measurement – Sydney Harbours. Sydney Harbour holds a big lot of Olympic swimming pools (don’t ask me how many) so we have an idea that’s an enormous amount of water. Lake Argyle holds about 15 Sydney Harbours in normal times. At the height of the 2011 floods it held 44 Sydney Harbours and the flow over the diversion dam that feeds the irrigation area is also measured in Sydney Harbours.

Yes, there’s irrigation, but the other use for all that water is hydro electricity, which requires steady water flow over the turbines. So the line of isolated waterholes that used to mark the course of the Ord River in the Dry is now a fast flowing, all year river.

That’s it for context, folks. Let the journey begin. We caught a bus up to the main dam, stopping for a scenic glimpse of the lake. From there, we piled onto a jet boat – very fast, with very shallow draft to get over the shallow, rocky bits, but able to drift very comfortably in the deep bits. And off we went. The very knowledgeable driver stopped often to let us take pictures of wildlife and reflections.

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A rock wallaby watches us from high on a vertical rock wall. They are very agile little critters.

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Red rock, blue sky, water. Gorgeous.

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We stopped for afternoon tea. This was taken from the river bank in late afternoon light.

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Paperbarks line the bank.

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A pair of pelicans enjoy the sunlight

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A Johnson river crocodile basks on a reed bed

Guys, this was the bestest trip. Loved the boat, loved the river, loved the red rock almost glowing in the sunlight, loved the reflections, the bird life, the crocs, the botany lessons. If you get a chance, go do it. And at the end, back at Kununurra, we watched the sunset from the boat.

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A frozen moment of time

Those of you who know a little about me know I enjoy taking photos. My subjects tend to be creatures that fly and maybe I’ll talk about them another time. This time, I want to talk about sunsets. You might think sunsets and flying birds don’t have much in common but there is one thing. With a camera, a photographer can capture one moment in time, an event which will never happen in quite the same way ever again. Oh, a bird will fly, a sun will set but the chances of ALL the circumstances being exactly the same – you’d have a far better chance of winning the lottery.

So share with me this wondrous sunset on the shores of Hervey Bay.

I went to a spot I frequent, where a creek flows into the bay. We have large tidal rise and fall and there is a vast tidal flat exposed here at low tide. I arrived before sundown and watched the people and the dogs – and a few birds – enjoy the ambience.

Then the sun set in the West (as it does). It’s just above the tops of the trees. Notice the high cirrus cloud, hardly affected by the sun.

The sun starts to sink below the trees

So intent was I on the sun sinking in the west, I ignored what was behind me. A short time later, I looked over my shoulder and saw this. I’m looking at the eastern sky, with the sun just set behind me.The eastern sky is alight with colour

And then I turned around again. And captured a river of light reflected in a river of water. A truly amazing sight that it is my privilege to share with you. Three incomparable, never to be repeated, moments in time.

A river of light in the sky reflected in the water

Please enjoy – and if you wish to share these, be my guest but I ask that you acknowledge my copyright by attributing me.

Sunset at low tide

picture of sunset on the bayWater and light. In this shot the setting sun is to the left of the picture, its last rays reflecting from the clouds onto the shallow water of the bay. Night is minutes away. There is no lingering twilight in these latitudes. © Copyright Greta van der Rol

When I’m not writing I take photos

I’m feeling a tad introspective at the moment. Since I don’t have anything wonderful to say, I’ll show you something wonderful instead.

I live near a beach. I go there quite often, always that same piece of beach. And every single time, I see something new, something different. This was one of those times; low tide, near sundown, warm, calm… This is my idea of peace on earth. © Copyright Greta van der Rol

Please enjoy.