Fleeting Beauty (1): Darwin

A few days ago one of my photo friends, The Meanderer, in response to my first recent post about the rainbow in Naves, France, aptly described the moment as “fleeting beauty.”  I was immediately intrigued by this perceptive term, and resolved to add it as a new category, highlighting some of the photos I have made that required fast thinking and fast action before the brief window of opportunity had passed.  In fact, I’d been planning to call it “Think Fast!” but this struck me as much more clever.  Thank you, Meanderer!  This is my first offering in the new series.

It was September 24, 1994, and I was on the job again, in Australia.  I had just finished a long drive from Queensland up the eastern coast on my first (and, to date, only) visit to the Northern Territory.  I arrived in Darwin just as the sun was rapidly sinking toward the horizon, wanting only to locate my motel, stow my bag, and find a hot meal and a cold beer.  Just as I approached the sign for the city limits, I saw a field stretching off into the distance toward the setting sun, which at this point was only a couple of degrees and a couple of minutes from reaching the horizon.  I grabbed my camera (no time for the tripod) and sprinted across the field to get close to a few sparse plants that I could see in silhouette at the edge of the cliff that dropped down to the sea.  As the sun began to disappear, I dropped to my belly in the grass, took a deep breath to slow my breathing and my racing heart, and had time to squeeze off only two frames—one focused on the plants and another on the distant water and the sun’s reflection—before it sank from sight.

Darwin 09-24-94-02  Darwin 09-24-94-03
My camera was a Pentax PZ-1, my film Fuji Provia 100.  I shot these at 1/90th of a second and f/5.6 (to minimize depth of focus) with my Pentax 100-300 zoom lens, at a focal length of 200 mm.  BTW, I’m not asking for votes on which one you prefer.  Each one stands alone, and I like both!  Please click on a photo for a higher-resolution image.

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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10 Responses to Fleeting Beauty (1): Darwin

  1. seekraz says:

    Yes, it was fleeting…and quickly…but you captured it wonderfully, both times. :)

  2. Meanderer says:

    Two very beautiful images, Gary. You caught the fleeting beauty of the moment perfectly!

  3. Vicki says:

    Sorry Gary, but I have to ‘rave’ about the first image. I love it. I love the colours, the light and that super sharp focus on the grass.
    It’s so full of atmosphere and the magic of that time of night.
    (I know you didn’t want votes on which one I prefer, but I just can’t help it – my fingers did it).

    • krikitarts says:

      Apology accepted, Vicky, though there was no need for one–no worries! That has long been one of my very favorite shots, and I’ve presented it to a few good friends and even sold it a few times as well. There really was magic on that night. I remember almost nothing else about my only trip to Darwin, but I sure remember this incredible moment! I only wish I’d had a little more time to use a tripod…but there was probably enough wind that it wouldn’t have made much difference. Have you been to Darwin? I had the chance, a day or so later, to have a brief peek at Kakadu, near Katherine, and I’d surely love to return some day with more time.

  4. Mike Powell says:

    Wow. It’s amazing to see how fast the light was changing–there were only mere seconds of opportunity and you made the best of those seconds.

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