You know what blows my mind. This sunset.
How beautiful can nature be? Do we take enough time to appreciate it?
I’ve always thought that I’m one who really appreciates nature, but it still amazes me endlessly. Being in a lock down and stuck in a room for months long now, have made me realize that the sun sets every day. Sometimes, it’s the most breathtaking sight. (It’s not that I don’t realize that the sun sets, but it’s the reality that the world still goes on despite everything that happens).
Those forty minutes are the best part of my day especially on the days when the skies bursts into intense, warm and sometimes pastel shades, if I’m lucky. As the sun sets, the crimson orange skies gives way to the deep gorgeous blue evening skies with streaks of magenta. And this is the best part of the sunsets.
I decided on the name of Sunsets of Singapore ✕ SOS because it was just that, right? Traditionally, SOS stands for Save Our Souls, which I cannot deny how apt it is for this project. I’ve joked with my friends, that watching these sunsets sometimes are what’s keeping me sane. This is especially true when you’re stuck in within four walls for 90% of your time.
I can’t deny that it is most often the best time of my days, when you watch how the sunlight touch, then changes the landscape as it sets behind and beyond the clouds. The sun starts setting around 630PM and for about an hour, it’s a slow, glorious and magnificent show that nature puts on.
You might believe in the concept of fate, I know I do believe in that. When I first moved over to Singapore, I was hunting for a room and the advert for my room stated that it had a sunset view. At that time, I wasn’t bothered by it. I mean, it wasn’t a fact that I factored into my decision making. I wouldn’t spend much time in the room in the evening anyways.
But looking back, this view have allowed me to appreciate sunsets so much more. For that I’m thankful, of how everything falls into place. Funny how things work out that way in the end. Everything happen for a reason and it does.
When I started on this project, I initially wanted to capture the picture from the exact same angle so that I would be able to show that my view was constant and yet, the skies was ever-changing. I thought it’ll be good to be able to illustrate how in life, nature changes our perception. On a day where we are blessed with a magnificent sunset, the view is gorgeous. But on the days that we don’t, does that mean that the view is horrible? Things aren’t meant to be perceived in absolute in a world that ever changing.
But I changed my mind, to embrace different ways of framing my sunset views. You can see from these pictures in this set that, there are many varied angles because I didn’t want to be constrained and limited to a set of self-imposed rules which ultimately doesn’t serve my intended purpose. I hoped I have managed to capture and display how beautiful the skies can be as the sun sets.
What have I learnt from this project?
•°• The beauty of nature
This is so plainly obvious, but worth reiterating on. Just from the gorgeous set of pictures that I have taken, these sunsets are absolutely magnificent. Everyday it’s a different sunset. It’s never the same one and that is the true beauty of nature. I hope this period of time have taught many of us, just how beautiful and blessed we are to live in this world.
It’s difficult to remind us of that when we struggling so much and it feels like no one understands exactly how we feel. That’s true, but chin up and look out the window for the sun sets for us. A new day comes tomorrow.
•°• Capturing starburst
I have never been a technical photographer but I understand the basic three aspects of photography—ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture. Then, I recalled reading about shooting at higher aperture to get sunburst effect and that’s what I experimented with in some of the pictures. This experience made me explore and think more consciously about how I approach photography.
This should come naturally for a landscape photographer, but for me, being able integrate the elements of it together to get that image I want was quite an enriching. I’ve always been shooting based on “how I felt”, with my default mode to shoot is aperture. That is because subject isolation is more of an important element in creating the final look. But, now I realize that there are more tools to my benefit that I can use.
•°• God's ray or crepuscular rays
What I hadn’t realized back then was that the rays of Sun that I was trying capture were known as God’s rays or crepuscular rays. They are sunbeams that originate when the sun is below the horizon, although I realize that it’s present usually when there are clouds around.
As a kid, I have always drawn the sun with many lines around a circle which meant to represent the rays. But in all of my life, I have never seen rays of sunshine as beautiful as the ones I captured from this project. Now it all makes sense why as kids we all drew the sun that way. Just as how we drew clouds among the Sun, that is how it looks like as well. I believe as a kid, we drew what we saw. I am sure that we were younger and attentive to how our surroundings looked like.
3 years ago
Love the pics and the thoughts. I found your blog while I was watching one of Robin Wong’s videos.
3 years ago
Thanks, John for your lovely and kind words! Hope you’ll enjoy reading my future posts as well.
2 years ago
Some really beautiful pictures, I think. The magenta of the third one is surreal, and the penultimate one is… would we call it majestic? But the fourth one has the pleasing character of an oil-on-board painting that would probably look great in large format on a wall somewhere.
Sunsets of Scandinavia, which would be my own local variant of this theme, are not always as impressive. But sometimes there’s a nice display of colour in the sky and clouds, and the low winter Sun does rather lend itself to dramatic lighting. Architecture can come alive when lit with strong, directional light coming almost from below.
I hope you’ve managed to navigate lockdown and can spend rather less than 90% between those four walls!