I remember vividly as a child the irresistible urge to look at the sun. I blame this entirely on my mother who would ooh and ahh at spectacular sunsets or the dawning of a new day and would exclaim in delight to her three daughters, ‘darlings, look at that view!’ and then upon seeing our faces turn like sunflowers towards the glowing orb, would quickly add with concern, ‘just don’t look directly at the sun’.
I did of course. I tried looking mere millimeters to the left or right, but I always found myself helplessly drawn into its fiery depths. I imagined the molten lava of the sun’s explosive surface slowly burning my retinas from millions of kilometers away. It sounds very melodramatic now, but as an impressionable child, this vision imprinted itself on my creative imagination like a hot iron stamp. Tell a child they’re not allowed to do something, and you’ve instantly given them a license to rebel. It’s no surprise then that I’ve been starring at the sun (albeit, guiltily) ever since.
Good news is that I’m still perfectly able to read what I’m typing (with the help of a trusty pair of glasses) and I can still look through the viewfinder in my camera (thank god for auto focus). Lucky too as I’ve had plenty of opportunities on my travels and here at home to witness Mother Nature showing off during some spectacular light shows at the beginning and end of each day. And my pick of the lot are the sunsets in Africa. There the sun burns so bright as it dips towards the horizon that the entire sky glows an iridescent red orange.
So whether the sun rises or sets in the east or west or over land or water, here are some landscape shots I’ve taken from behind the safely of my lens, staring at the sun.