Location: Barwon Heads, Australia. Saturday 7 February 2009.
On a day where temperatures in Melbourne, Australia hit 46.4 degrees C (115 degrees F), we headed down to the coast to celebrate a a dear young friend’s wedding. We drove past power lines swaying in the heat.
Everyone sweltered through the ceremony, which took place in a little white weatherboard church in Barwon Heads. The groom and bride – sweaty but stunning, strapped on a guitar and serenaded us with song. In the break between the wedding ceremony and reception, we took half an hour to cool off in the ocean. Standing out there knee deep, clasping our party frocks high, we felt the wind swing around. This picture was taken at the threshold between the culmination of several days baking heat, and a break in the weather. We were so relieved. We went to the wedding party in a beautiful vineyard, toasted young love and the new adventures as a married couple our friends could expect.
On the drive home, we heard over the radio the terrible news that bushfires had broken out across much of the State. Already, at about 11pm, several people had been reported dead. Over the days and weeks that followed, the death toll from the Black Saturday Bushfires rose to 173 people, with hundreds more injured or homeless as a result of the devastation. Black Saturday was the most intense firestorm ever experienced in Australia’s post-European history.
I always think back to the time we were standing in the water, grateful for the cool breeze. The wind change we felt caused some of the bushfires to morph from long and narrow firebands into a much wider fire front. The change in the wind would have such a terrible impact, but for us it was relief, captured in this almost comical image.
See more of this challenge here.