The sun has just started to move back from its southern most point, but on this New Year's Eve sunset, it is still close to its furthest most southerly point in the sky (at the Summer Solstice, 10 days ago).
Do I make myself clear? In winter, the sun does not pass anywhere close to this wonderful old tree, but sets well around to the right (further north). But tonight it was setting, just on the south-western side of the wonderful old Blackwood tree (when viewed from my back deck).
The sky had been clear during the day, but an afternoon sea-mist rolled in and formed a light cloud cover, enough to diffuse the sunset. The clouds sat above the horizon, so as the sun set, it came out more clearly than it had been shining, giving this golden light wash. The presence of the tree in silhouette makes the picture more dramatic.
To understand a bit more about my affection for this tree, you need to understand that I deliberately positioned my house, with this tree in mind. In fact it is blocking out a particularly large and ugly "mansion" which to my eyes is totally unsuited to the Southern Highlands. But in addition to using this old tree as a screen, I love its shape, and in this case, the way it filters the afternoon light from the setting sun.
Just a few minutes later, the sun had sunk into thicker cloud, and while there was still light, the sky changed to this blue and pink picture, just for a few moments. Then the colour faded. I love the way the soft light allows you to see the folds in the valley below, looking over Belmore Falls, towards the Shoalhaven Valley. The tall trees highlighted by the pink sky are along Myra Vale Road, towards Fitzroy Falls (from Robertson).
This image is a compound image, a "panorama". The "stitching" together of the three images is far from perfect, but if you click to enlarge the image, you will get a fair idea of the wider view out over Kangaroo Valley and the far distant Shoalhaven Valley.
The "Blackwood" in the first image is the open-crowned tree in the centre-right of this picture. The "solid" or darker trees (with pointed profiles) on the right hand side of the image, and just to the right of the Blackwood, are Sassafras trees. They grow very densely, and give a solid profile, unlike the Blackwood which grows into a more open crowned tree, as it matures.
Today I celebrated New Year's Eve with a luncheon meal for David and Petra (a visitor from Germany) and Captain Jim (who took me flying yesterday). Good honest plain food, with a roast leg of lamb, baked very slowly on the hooded gas BBQ, baked potatoes (fresh from Kim's vegie garden) and a salad courtesy of the new Fruit Shop in Robertson. (I haven't told you about this, but it is turning out to be a great asset to the village). Today, while I was in there buying the greens and stuff for the salad, and a lady came in and said to the shop owner: "Thank you so much for opening this shop". She speaks for many of us.
I might even start eating more vegetables from now on. If that passes for a New Year's Resolution (and I never make them) then so be it.
Happy New Year, everyone. Especially to Kevin Rudd and the new Australian Government, and hence to all the people of Australia (plus Leo in Nova Scotia, Canada). And to my loyal blogger colleagues, especially Miss Eagle, and Gaye from the Hunter, and David. And nice to meet you, Petra. And a special Happy New Year to George, and Lucy and her kids (George, Meg and Charlotte), Steve and Celeste and Jasper, Judy B. and Greg, Mike and the rest of the people of Robertson.