Image of the Week: Key West Sunset—Pointing Home

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How great are the sunsets in Key West, Florida? Even one taken by a total hack with an iPhone 3 from a Westin Hotel suite patio with an obstructed view is spectacular.

The hack, of course, is me. Despite three years of high school photography and another year at it in college, I never became more than a mediocre photographer. Photo journalism, at least for me, was not an option. I knew that long before I finished college.

Still, this image of a Key West sunset with yachts in foreground, taken during the Super Boat International Key West Offshore World Championshps earlier this month, resonates with anyone who’s been lucky enough to see one. As the sun melts into the horizon, the afternoon wind seems to pause just enough to get your attention to what’s happening before your eyes.

For the record, there is no “green flash” that occurs when the sun meets the horizon, unless the green flash is the temporary vision impairment you get when you stare at a Key West sunset too long looking for the green flash. Some will ask you earnestly if you saw it. Don’t bite. Otherwise, you may find yourself on a snipe hunt later that evening.

I have been to Key West maybe a dozen times—I really can’t remember exactly—on writing assignments for powerboat world. I’ve seen the feral cats. I’ve seen wild roosters walk the streets at sunrise. I even saw the late Hunter S. Thompson once. And I’ve seen lots and lots of sunsets. Breathtaking as they are, the best part of them for me has always been something simple.

They point the way home.