Sunsets Aren’t Free – 261/365

This morning as I drove into work, there was an incredible, and enormous disk shaped cloud formation in the sky. When I say enormous, it must have started somewhere near Manchester, and by the time I got to the North Wales border, it was still stretching off into the distance. That meant it must have been about 50 miles across, or more!

It really was incredible, and I was disappointed I didn’t have the time to capture an image of it. It reminded me of something out of the Independence Day move.

Unbelievably, when I left work, almost 11 hours later, it was still there! This time I didn’t miss the opportunity, and stopped at the first place I could to take a photograph.


I actually took the image from the same spot I took photographs of the solar park from, way back on day 7 of this challenge for my post “Sun Trap“. You can only see the edge of the cloud formation, of course, because it was so massive.

There wasn’t much to construct a composition from, so I just used the tree line on the left and a corner of the solar park to create some leading lines, and exposed the shot to capture as much detail in the incredible sky as I could.


Having grabbed the images, I spun my car round and drove off. Now, it was a race against time to get back home before the girls went to bed, I hate not being there when they go to bed.

On the journey home, the scene in my mirrors was out of this world; the earth was in shadow, as was the sky due to the thick blanket of cloud, but the sun was now low enough that it had emerged from the edge of the cloud, and its full power was being concentrated in the slither of space between earth, and cloud.

It was, like nothing I’ve seen before – however the cost of stopping and capturing it would be too great, so I didn’t stop. I would have missed the girls going to bed, and that is a high price to pay for a photograph.

I did have an errand to make on the way back though; Holly had asked me to get some milk on my way, and so I had to take a slight detor to the shop, before landing home.

Now, if that detour went well, if the traffic was favourable, and the shop wasn’t busy, I might have 2mins to stop on the way from the shop to home, to grab an image of the sunset. Thats if the sun hadn’t dipped below the horizon by that point.

Anyway, the traffic was favourable, and in the shop I grabbed the milk and there was only one person being served, before it was my turn.

Errand done, I checked the time and I had 3 mins to spare, I thought. I set off from the shop, and as I rounded a bend near home that has a good view over frodsham and the cheshire plain, I threw my car onto a grass verge at the side of the road, jumped out, dialled in some settings I thought would work, and took some shots.


If you think about it, the first images here I took 30miles or so away from the last images. 30 miles of thick cloud that was being illuminated very briefly by the full power of the sun through a shallow window next to the horizon. What an incredible thing to have seen!

More importantly, I made it home in time to see the girls before they turned in for the night. I wouldn’t trade all of the most magical sunsets in the world, for even a single good night kiss from my girls, that price would be just too high.

So you see, not even sunsets are free, everything has a cost and we all have to weigh up what really matters, all of the time. Try not to be blinded by the lights on the way.

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