Myland sunsets : 9th July 2016

Now here’s a thing… I was plodding through the many photos taken while commuting up to Birmingham and back to speak at a hydrogeology workshop, then to and from Peterborough to help celebrate the retirement of Dave Chambers (he of Merlin Magic fame), when I suddenly spotted a pinkish glow out of the window of the study. Pinkish glows around sunset usually indicate that I should be grabbing my camera so I did just that. The sight which met me as I rushed out of the door clutching camera, tripod and folding stool took my breath away. I was torn between running as fast as I could to the local fields, or up to the local park behind the house just to catch something before it all began to fade. In the end I chose the park and even then I wasn’t quick enough to catch the most spectacular aspects (and it is worth clicking on the images to see them at full size – browser back-arrow to return to blog):
Sunset 9 July panorama 2 adjusted 72dpi
Within two or three minutes the sky was darkening and the golden glow was fading from large stretches of the sky:
Sunset 9 July panorama1 adjusted 72dpi
But here’s the thing – there were several people in the park, walking dogs, practicing their basketball hoops or kicking a football around – but no-one was looking at the sunset apart from me. Here was this extraordinarily spectacular phenomenon going on right above their heads but no-one seemed interested. I just don’t get it. People pay hundreds, sometimes literally thousands, of pounds to travel to the far north of Finland to see the Northern Lights, but here was a phenomenon which far outshone those glowing curtains (I know because I’ve seen the Northern Lights twice, once in Shetland, once in Caithness), yet it attracted no interest. If it had been the Northern Lights, people would probably have been rushing out of their houses and commenting to their neighbours about what a spectacular display it was, but here was something equally worth of comment yet it was going largely unremarked – except for a slightly deranged character sitting on his little folding stool in the centre of the playing field gazing open mouthed at the sky while frantically trying to take photo-panoramas with the camera balanced precariously on a tripod. All very odd – and I’m not referring to the slightly deranged character…
Anyway, I then tried sprinting to the fields to catch what was left of the sunset across the wheat fields, but by the time I arrived (no more than 4-5 minutes later) the sunset had all-but ended, leaving a darkening mauve and grey sky which, earlier in the day had been threatening rain within 24 hours:
Sunset 9 July panorama 3 - 72dpi
Perhaps it will rain later tonight, or maybe we will wake to another soggy Sunday. Still, at least the rain is now warm (it being summer)…

Author: Richard Lindsay

Having worked for 20 years in the UK statutory nature conservation agencies as Peatland Specialist in the Chief Scientist Team, I then moved to the University of East London where I ran the nature conservation degrees for several years. Now I mainly undertake research and support peatland conservation activities, including the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, within UEL's Sustainability Research Institute. I also paint.

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