“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” Mahatma Gandhi
As dusk approached I went to the local viewpoint (featured image). The short row of shops and lunch restaurants had been closed for several hours. Tourists had mostly gone to their accommodation or out for dinner, a small group of Asian tourists soon left. Farmers and their vehicles were absent – the time of the year when crops are largely left on their own to grow and mature. There was a television cameraman at the viewpoint taking some stock footage while I was there, but he was busy, quiet, concentrating on the job in hand.
It was that time day when the crows, daytime animals and other birds had gone to their overnight resting places, and before the night team had emerged. The clear blue sky was gradually getting darker. There was no wind here although over the mountains behind you could see the volcanic gas moving slowly horizontally – perhaps trapped below an inversion layer. In front the sun was slowly setting, already long shadows stretching across the fields of soba (buckwheat) and grassland, lighting some woods, and the distant town in the valley behind. Silence and calm. A drone briefly broke the silence – another local cameraman taking footage of the farmland and rolling hills.
I had almost forgotten how resetting this time of day is. A time that’s worth enjoying for itself, no camera needed, there’s much more than photo opportunities here. Sometimes the only sound is your own breathing and the constant chirping of the cicadas. A time not to reflect on the day’s efforts, not to worry about tomorrow’s schedule, a time to be still, breathe the clean air slowly, open your eyes, and just be in the moment. A time to be at one with the environment and who you are.
The following evening I returned with my cameras – an M3 loaded with FOMA classic 50mm lens and red filter, and an MP loaded with FP4 also with a 50mm lens but yellow filter. Films were subsequently stand developed in Rodinal 100:1.Apart from cropping and spotting, only minor changes to the contrast curves were made – the FOMA and red filter with some underexposure did a grand job of adjusting the curve on their own.
The day had been even hotter than the day before – over 35deg – and although generally sunny there were some summer clouds floating around, becoming more serious over the mountains as the evening progressed.
This day for photography was better – a cumulus cloud near the sunset point added a little more drama compared to the night before.
Why black and white for sunset? Because colour is loud, disrupting, aggressive, totally unsuitable for the mood of the evening. Colour is reality; black and white is emotion, the world of dreams, the spirit of time held prisoner.
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