Taking Pole Position by David McMahon

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I was on my way up the hills recently (March 2010), in the almost-complete darkness of a stormy evening. As I climbed, a flash of colour caught my eye and I had to find a place to pull over safely to assess the scene on the western horizon.

Luckily I had my camera on the passenger seat, with my 300mm lens fitted, because my standard 18-125mm lens would have captured mainly blackness, with only a hint of these pastel shades.

I shot this without even getting out of the car, because I was in a hurry. The old-fashioned telephone pole was actually a huge help, because I chose its silhouette to emphasise the brief flash of colours before darkness swathed the horizon.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot without a tripod, using a Pentax K100D fitted with a Sigma 70-300mm lens. F5.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 800, focal length 300mm.

Featured in THEME THURSDAY, FEATURE FRIDAY, November 2010.




sunset, clouds, david mcmahon, autumn, sky, australia, horizon, wires, dusk, telephone pole

Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at

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  • Tomi10
    Tomi10over 4 years ago

    wow, magical shot David. where was this?

  • Thanks Thomas – foothills in the vicinity of the Dandenong ranges.

    – David McMahon

  • Sean Jansen
    Sean Jansenover 4 years ago

    Awesome lighting and color David……looks wonderful !!

  • Thanks very much, Sean – that pole was perfectly placed!

    – David McMahon

  • Jordan Miscamble
    Jordan Miscambleover 4 years ago

    Beautiful colours David.

  • Thank you, Jordan – they were only around very briefly, so I was very lucky.

    – David McMahon

  • Merrilyn Hunt
    Merrilyn Huntover 4 years ago

    My favourite thing about this photo … knowing that through your eyes, David, the world is indeed a beautiful place and we should be grateful for every moment.

  • Very grateful for that wonderful observation, Merrilyn. You’re spot-on.

    – David McMahon

  • Shubd
    Shubdover 4 years ago

    Brilliant skies David ..great capture !

  • Thanks, Shubd. It was literally a small fraction of the horizon. I would have missed it if I had to change lenses.

    – David McMahon

  • JennyMac
    JennyMacover 4 years ago

    Wow… colours like that would make you stop that’s for sure! Well done… : ))

  • Thank you, Jenny. Lucky I was able to pull over safely, or else I would not have stopped, not even for those colours!

    – David McMahon

  • Jen Wahl
    Jen Wahlover 4 years ago

    that is awesome! the colors are stunning!

  • Thank you, Jen. Funny thing is, it had been a really grey, cloudy afternoon and evening – and then this brief burst of colours!

    – David McMahon

    JUSTARTover 4 years ago

    beautiful , great colours

  • Thank you, JustArt – amazing that it followed a dull, grey evening!

    – David McMahon

  • AliceDoodles
    AliceDoodlesover 4 years ago

    Your cohosts Cee and Chris

  • Thank you, Chris and Cee.

    – David McMahon

  • ellismorleyphto
    ellismorleyphtoover 4 years ago

    Joanne and Ellc

  • Thank you, Joanne and EllC.

    – David McMahon

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