I have a friend who owns a flat in Hallmark House, a recently renovated building in the center of downtown Joburg. Hallmark House is one of the best places in the city, if not the best place, to view the Jozi skyline.

View of Jozi Skyline from Hallmark House balconyThe view from my friend’s balcony. This friend wishes to remain anonymous, as I’m sure you’ll understand. Otherwise she’d have every photographer in the city trying to bang her door down.

A couple of nights ago, the anonymous friend invited me and a few other friends to photograph the sunset from her 12th-floor balcony.

I’ve taken lots of photos of the Jozi skyline before, from lots of different buildings. In fact I’ve been to Hallmark House multiple times and to this very balcony more than once. But there was something special about this particular night.

I’ve certainly see more dramatic sunsets than this, with crazier clouds and more dramatic colors. But the light on this evening was perfect and so was the city.

City from Hallmark House
View of the city around 5:30 p.m., before the real show started.

It had been cloudy all day with on-and-off thunderstorms — weather conditions that bode well for sunset. As the sun went down behind the buildings, the clouds cleared just enough to put an orange glow across the city and create all kinds of crazy light combinations.

Here’s what happened.

Late afternoon light on the streetLate afternoon light.

View toward HillbrowThe view toward Hillbrow.

Hillbrow Tower from Hallmark HouseHillbrow Tower.

View of Ponte Tower from Hallmark HousePonte Tower and the high-rises of Hillbrow, with the sun shining just so. (You’re welcome, Vodacom.)

Sunset behind the Joburg skylineThis city.

Sunset view of Hillbrow TowerI kept shifting my attention back and forth between the CBD view to the west and the Hillbrow view to the north.

Jozi skyline at sunsetI think this one is my favorite. I love the way the buildings and balconies and cars and and washing lines haphazardly pile up against one another. This is the way Joburg feels.

Life in this city is so complicated and so freaking beautiful, just like this skyline itself. It makes me cry sometimes.

Hillbrow skyline at duskThanks again to the anonymous friend.

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