When I started photographing sunsets, I thought they were about the sun. Naive! Just as love stories are not about love but about the obstacles in the way of love, so sunsets are not about the sun but about clouds. Here’s an example of a sunset that would be almost a yawn with an unimpeded sun — well, almost, because the Golden Gate Bridge adds interest to anything. It’s the low, bulging, almost boiling cloud that supplies the main drama here. The larger cloud canvas also contributes:
This could have developed into a massively fiery sky, but the angles weren’t right, and a glowing margin is all we got. Predicting photogenic sunsets is doable in principle; we just need to know the elevations of cloud cover all the way to the horizon and a few degrees beyond, and the relative humidity, air quality, and a few other things. Of course, we don’t, so the photographer can only show up and wait.