Can the sky be bright and leaden at the same time? That's how it seemed to me, looking westwards from Te Raekaihau point and along the south coast. There was light cloud over the water but a rather dense carpet of cloud over the land....
There was light cloud over the water but a rather dense carpet of cloud over the land....and, looking the other way, over Lyall Bay.
It began colouring up quickly. It was very golden on the skyline, beyond Lyall Bay and the airport.
A flypast of black-feathered oystercatchers peep peep peeping seemed to emphasise the rich colours of the cloud and sky.
To the west there was a little colour developing, but it was subtle.
But as the sun sank further, behind those hills, the golden colour warmed up the sky on this side too.
I walked along from the Point to Princess Bay, with Taputeranga in the distance in silhoutte against the hills of the south coast. The wind was making pretty patterns of spray on the cresting waves. The colours were intensifying.
At Princess Bay I loved the burnishing of gold on the wet sand at the water's edge.
But the sky kept getting more intensely coloured. I walked along the beach then up along the road above Princess Bay. Over Houghton Bay, it was best described as - whew!
A fiery red over the Melrose hills, above Houghton Bay.
Not hyperbole - it really did look as if it was on fire. But it was a brief flash. The rich reds began to fade and were reflected in the darkening sea - the view from above Princess Bay looking to the south.
Back at Te Raekaihau Point I could see landmarks - the South Island in the distance, Taputeranga, the rocky outcrops by Princess Bay - in silhouette against the fading colours and night-falling sky.
A spectacular lightshow from nature - it pays to spend some time and allow things to unfold.