Rejecting the Cliché: Sunset over Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Justin Egli

A fisherman makes his last catch of the day as his wife looks on from the shore

In travel photography circles, sunsets get a bad rap – widely considered as overdone and clichéd. The chances of taking a shot that’s different to the millions of others is slim, yet when the sun begins to set and the colours fill the sky most of us feel compelled to take out our camera. Photography means recording beautiful light. And sunsets are all about beautiful, colorful light – so what’s the problem? Well the main problem is that due to the modern invention of filters, you’re never really 100% sure if what the person shot with their camera is what they actually saw with their eyes.

I had this predicament in Mirissa, Sri Lanka, a few weeks back when I witnessed the most stunning sunset I had ever seen in my entire life. It was absolutely incredible, with the clouds on the horizon appearing to touch the sea. The whole sky looked like a video projection. Out in the shallow waters a fisherman was casting his net, and on the rocks beside him a woman (his wife?) was looking on. The scene was so perfect that all I had to do was click the button on my camera. I didn’t play about with any settings and I didn’t need to add any filters to make it look better. It’s exactly what I saw. Just to prove a point, I also shot some video.

Capturing the beauty of sunsets has been part of artistic expression for centuries: Monet, Constable and Turner painted them over and over. I think today many think taking a picture of a sunset is seen an easy grab at beauty – but when the thing you are looking at is indeed beautiful, I say grab it with both hands.

sunset mirissa


  1. Pingback: Villa Atulya at Ocean’s edge, Mirissa, Sri Lanka | Ikimasho!

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