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IN A MISTY PINK SKY the sun, reduced to a pale disc by dust in the atmosphere, hovers over the War Museum. On the left, the stepped outline of the office building Quay West merges with the shape of the Rank Hovis facility behind. The roof of the War Museum Air Shard, visible through the Lowry Bridge, falls off at roughly the same angle. Cutting through the from right to left, and silhouetted in the shimmering reflection of the sun from right to left, a group of four rowers are followed by their trainer in a motor-powered boat. The rowers are based at the Salford Watersports Centre, located on Central Bay near the Galleria.

EWM says: There are many reasons to visit the Quays: The museum, the shopping, the walks and the sunsets!

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera

THE SUN FALLS LOWER in the sky in a path running parallel with the roof line of the War Museum. The curved roof sections of the War Museum are framed inside the upper arc and straight walkway sections of the Lowry footbridge. The irregular rectangle of the air shard cuts throug the arc and into the pale lilac sky. The two gantries carrying the footbridge weights and pulleys appear roughly equal in height to the tip of the Air Shard.

EWM says: Looking at this scene for the first time, you might have difficulty in identifying exactly what - and where - these structures are: America? Australia? or maybe another planet!

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera

THE SUN HAS DROPPED low in the sky and is visible through the outline of the Lowry footbridge.The superstructure of what may well be the last ship to be renovated in the Manchester Dry Docks is visible beyond, along with fuel containers. A coach is parked next to the War Museum site with its rear towards the water. The bow of the Bronington can just be seen on the left, the globe-shaped waterfront lights on the Salford side are already illuminated. (Image captured early 2002)

EWM says: Not quite as spectacular as a Quay West sunset - i.e. one seen fro the end of the Keys in Florida - but still impressive.

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera

THE MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL and Trafford Wharf seen from Trafford Road Bridge look almost unreal when set against a fiery pink and bluish grey dusk sky. The lights along Trafford Wharf and on the Lowry footbridge are reflected in the grey choppy waters of the canal. The air shard exterior is covered by metal sections and spaces in between, allowing us from this angle to see through the structure from one side to the other.

EWM says: After seeing paintings by Manchester-based painter Liam Spencer with their amazing pink and blue Manchester skyscapes, I have to say that this is definitely a 'Liam Spencer Sunset'.

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera

WHERE ARE WE? Defocusing the view creates an abstract pattern, a blurred view which could perhaps be anywhere in the world. The lights on the left look like a string of overlapping pearls and the pair of structures straight ahead, could be two giant heads facing each other. A pinky purple smudge for a sky and an inky blackness at the bottom complete the picture. What does this inkblot psychological test make you think of? Trafford Wharf by any chance?

EWM says: Places become so familiar we stop seeing them with fresh eyes. One way to jog our powers of vision is to defocus the view - Our brains then have to reconstruct the scene and in doing so we learn to see again.

Tech: Nikon Coolpix 990 digital camera focus set to macro

THE SUN IS ABOUT TO SET in the gap between the War Museum and the Lowry. This is where the sun sets around May every year. On the left are the now familiar outlines of the office building Quay West and the War Museum, and on the right, the silhouette of Victoria Point and the Galleria. The sun leaves a long trailing reflection in the water.

EWM says: When I was a small child my dad used to draw the setting sun reflected in water using red and blue ballpoint pens. Maybe that's where I get my fascination for sunsets over water, plenty of which can be seen at Salford Quays.

Tech: Nikon D100 digital camera

THE SUN IS ABOUT TO DISAPPEAR below Trafford Park, and we are left with a clear blue dusk sky, empty apart from an aircraft vapour trail. The ensemble of Quay West, War Museum, Lowry footbridge, Victoria Point and Lowry Galleria are silhouetted against a bank of thin clouds, still tinted pink by the setting sun.

EWM says: Who could have imagined 40 years that the Manchester Docks would look like this. I love Salford Quays, but it still has a long way to go before it achieves its full potential.

Tech: Nikon D100 digital camera

As the sun sets on another day we may wonder what new architectural landmarks and attractions will appear on the Quays in the months and years to come. Keep visiting Eyewitness in Manchester to find out! I'd like to express my thanks to the kind and helpful staff at the Tourist Information office Salford Quays for their useful insights and background information.

All photos and articles ©Aidan O'Rourke

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