With a place in mythology and folklore, rainbows are both mystical and beautiful. Their existence, always fleeting, results from a union of light – a perfect harmonic amalgamation producing a symbol of supernatural beauty, promise and enlightenment. If you’ve never taken the time to count, you’ll notice now, there’s seven colours in the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
On the morning I photographed ‘Island Dreaming’, I’d spent countless hours scouting shots, planning angles, waiting for the right weather, re-shooting over and over again to get the perfect image. I never planned to photograph a rainbow. And, with all the planning in the world, likely couldn’t have chased an image so breathtaking even if I’d tried. With elements always out of my control, be it things like weather and lighting, for better or for worse, I’m ecstatic in the moments when nature exerts control and it works in my favour.
The main element in this image, water, has many implications. Offering a sense of renewal, of cleansing and purification, of transformation. And, in some cases, even as a source of life and helping with metamorphosis, water also has the ability to exert complete destruction. More often than not though, the methodical crashing of waves provides a sense of hope and inspiration.
On this day, I woke up a little late, almost convinced myself to stay in bed and sleep in. I ended up making a mad dash for the car, drove north with no particular location in mind just trying to beat the first bit of light. I arrived at this unfamiliar beach and found this little outcrop of rocks along the shore where the waves seemed to be crashing over them just perfectly.
As I set up my camera equipment to watch the sunrise, I noticed that I was racing against time with a receding tide that would be fully out within the next hour. I hurriedly shot a series of images of this amazing time and place. Satisfied with the images I took, I admired the subtle pinks in the sky, with the water appearing silky and delicate as it rolled across the rocks in the foreground. I knew this wouldn’t last forever as the tide rolled out – only a few more minutes and the water would cease to move across the rocks.
Out of nowhere, as if Mother Nature said “But wait… there’s more!”, this rainbow appeared, taking an incredible image to yet another level. With my initial focus solely on the waves, I was thrilled to incorporate this rainbow into the image. Now though, with the tide further and further away from me, I moved from a consistent expectation of waves to waiting patiently for more powerful surges great enough to force the now distant water across the surface of the rocks.
Then it happened, like a grand finale in a fireworks show, the perfect rogue wave showed up. I was ready and waiting for it, I fired off the shutter and the following 0.8 seconds felt like an eternity as I slowly watched the waves crash over the rocks and softly land on the sandy shore in front of me. Within minutes the rainbow disappeared and the tide continued to recede. An important reminder to me, that I don’t always need to source opportunities as they’ll often find me when I’m ready for them.
Sighting a rainbow has long been believed to be a promise of good things to come. If that’s the case, then let’s just say it’s a good thing I didn’t miss this one!