After the fires this summer, views of Mount Sopris from Carbondale and the surrounding area were sadly hazy and smoky. A few evening rain clouds blew in over Sopris, but there wasn’t enough precipitation or wind to fully clear the air, leaving the views of one of my favorite mountains slightly obscured.
Sopris, Clouds, and Smoke, near Carbondale, CO (12″x18″)
Fortunately, on my last night in the area, the winds changed direction and pushed some of the smoke out of the region. It felt like I’d put on glasses- the view of Mount Sopris appeared crisp and well-defined as the setting sun cast a pink glow on the flanks of the mountain.
Sopris and Evening Clouds, near Carbondale, CO (12″x18″)
As we approached Winfield from Hope Pass along the Continental Divide Trail, the clouds parted near the horizon and allowed a few rays of golden light to shine across the valley onto Emerald Peak, Mt Belford, and Mt Oxford.
Light on Ridge near Hope Pass, near Buena Vista, CO (12″x18″)
I intended to focus my photo shoot on the Sound and the downtown Seattle skyline, but when I arrived at the Jose P Rizal Bridge, an impressive storm cloud was lumbering over the Central District. I shot a few panoramas of the sky as the clouds changed shape, and this is my favorite.
Storm Cloud over Central District at Sunset, Seattle, WA (16″x72″)
As the sun was setting around midnight, I took a walk down to the water among grazing sheep and Arctic terns.
Sunset over Westfjord Cliffs, near Hnjótur, Iceland (16″x”64″)
We scrambled and boulder-hopped onto a small ridge above camp to watch the sun set over the Rincon Mountains. Rock Prow at Sunset, east of Rincon Peak, AZ (12″x18″)
The rain stopped and many of the clouds started to clear off by sunset, so I climbed out of my tent, grabbed my camera and tripod, and rest stepped my way up the hill above camp to photograph the landscape as the sun descended over the ridge the west. I think the panorama with the rock in the foreground was one of my most successful photographs on the trip (first panorama). Although I don’t usually include my own image in my photographs, I also liked the way my shadow falls across the hillside opposite the setting sun (second panorama).
Rock Shadow at Sunset over the Lake, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x44″)
Rising Shadows and Retreating Clouds at Sunset, near Jumla, Nepal (16″x60″)
The setting sun casts long shadows through the tufts of grass and yucca poles in the foothills; the angled light provides a sense of depth to the peaks.
Path to Boyd Sanatorium and Organ Peak, Organ Mountains Natl. Mon., NM (16″x38″)
I took a panorama of the flatiron-like foothills at the base of the Organ Mountains outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. I decided to keep one version of the panorama in color and to convert the other to black and white. I like the color of the sunset, but the black and white has a more subtle, silvery glow.
Flatiron Sunset (color), Organ Mountain National Monument, NM (16″x49″)
Flatiron Sunset (B&W), Organ Mountain National Monument, NM (16″x49″)
I have found that stitching together sunrise/sunset bulb exposures to make a panoramic photograph is quite difficult. Although I maintained the 30-second exposure for each frame in the panorama below, the dusk lighting constantly changed as I composed the separate frames of the image. When I stitched the images together, the tones of the ocean did not match at the edges of the images, likely due to both the changing light as well as the different number of waves captured in each frame. After a black and white conversion, I think this photograph turned out well, but I still need to improve my bulb panoramas at the golden hour. Below the panorama I also included a single-frame color photograph of the waves and the sun at sunset.
Sun, Waves, and Rocks, La Jolla, CA (12″x18″)
I stopped outside Zion National Park to camp in BLM land so I could get up early to hike the Narrows the next morning. Here is the view from our campsite looking back down valley towards Rockville and Zion along the Smithsonian Butte National Back Country Byway.