I never really thought about sunset much, about what conditions need to be present to achieve a sunset of startling beauty. From time to time, I look out the window and admire a particularly lovely one, and may even take photos, but there are always rooftops and power lines in the way. So a holiday seemed like a good opportunity to take sunset photographs, from the vantage point of a harbour cruise, or a beach.
We never really saw a good one, though. There always seemed to be a clear sky except for clouds low on the horizon, and I realised that's the opposite of what is needed. The sun needs to shine up from below, onto the underside of layers of clouds, to produce those spectacular sunset colours. I learnt instead to appreciate the subtleties of the gentle tints that we had to be content with. Here are three "not really a proper sunset" photos, taken as the sun was going down.
Port Stephens (I love how the sun appears to be smiling in this one):