Who doesn't like a good sunset shot? Come on, admit it. The low, reddish light and low angle of lighting does marvels for any landscape. Automatic eye-candy. What's more, the weather of the moment ensures that no two shots will ever be quite the same.
And yet, in some eyes, sunset shots are, at best, endearingly cliché - is there really such a shot that wasn't done before? Can it still make a meaningful, original artistic statement? Surely a sunset shot can have tremendous personnal value as it helps capture and preserve a special moment in one's life, but it can't be worth much from an artistic point of view.
A few months ago I came across a truly unique sunset shot. The first of its kind - taken by one of the NASA Rovers on Mars. I looked at it again today and I just find it so fascinating and full of meaning that I have uploaded it to my stream (being a product of the US Government, it was placed in the Public Domain).
As a landscape view, it is at once familiar and utterly alien. It is our Sun, the one that gives us life. But it is small, remote and cold in the odd scattering effect of the dusty, rarefied Martian atmosphere. We could just as well be looking at some smallish G-class star setting over the horizon of a desolate, nameless planet, light-years from our own. As for the landscape itself, it could be an Earth desert, but only the barest and most lifeless places on Earth could hope to match it.
But the scene also has a pristine quality. It's like looking at the first sunset shot, ever. And isn't it ironic - humans have laid eyes on and marvelled at sunsets on Earth for a couple hundred thousand years, and in only a century and a half since photography was invented, some of us have grown jaded looking at sunsets on photographs. This time, the camera - not the human eye - got first sight. It will be decades or centuries before a live human can watch and experience this scene better than you are doing now.
So I would like to tell our fellow photographers at NASA, who went to such lengths to "get the shot", to rest easy. I have made sure their image appeared on Ipernity. Let me be the first then, to say: "Great capture. Love the colours!"