Quick change / by Mario Mirabile

 Melbourne is renowned for its changeable weather. An old joke suggests that if you're not happy with the weather, just wait ten minutes. While that's a slight exaggeration, when the weather does change, the changes can be rapid and quite dramatic, particularly in summer. Days of searing heat can be ended by a south-westerly  wind change which will drop the temperature 20° in 15 minutes. Storm fronts can dump flooding rain and whip up destructive winds and be gone in 15 minutes.

Modern weather radar can give advance warning of some of the more dramatic and photogenic weather events. Sunday's forecast warned of a windy change about the middle of the day, so I kept an eye on the radar with the intention of going down to a bayside location I'd scouted a couple of months earlier to catch the action. I could see a rain band approaching mid afternoon so I took off with my gear. It didn't look too severe, but I was still hoping for some dramatic shots.

Red Bluff is an aptly named feature on Port Phillip near Black Rock. At around 30 metres high it's not very big, but very prominent due to its color which makes it stand out from the surrounding cliffs. This was the first time I'd been to the base and I scrambled around getting some shots before the show started. Within half an hour, the blue skies and fluffy clouds were replaced by leaden overcast, strong winds and threat of rain. I was hoping the front would roll in at a good angle to allow a good composition of both rocks and weather, but it came in over the bay to the west and I couldn't get a position from which the juxtaposition was possible. The line of ragged low cloud made for good shooting in any case, so I grabbed a few shots before retreating up the beach in time to avoid being soaked.