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The Superstitions just before dawn

(click to see an extra larger than normal version to really fill your screen)

Back in April we had some good rain on the 9th, so the morning of the 10th I planned to get up waaaaay early and head out to the Superstition Mountains to shoot a beautiful sunrise with gorgeous clouds, cactus and all kinds of juicy stuff.  I was also meeting by buddy Ken Peterson out here and we’d hit the Apache Trail together.

You can imagine the slight disappointment you get when you are praying for awesome clouds in the morning and this is what you see above.

As is always the case, however…nature turns your sour lemons into lemonade by giving you something unexpected and just as beautiful. I sat at my favorite spot along Lost Dutchman Road waiting to meet Ken. And so I sat there watching the sky behind this mountain turn beautiful shades of morning colors. Normally I hate skies without clouds, but I loved all the solid colors here…dark silhouette with these gradient shades of purple and orange.

Plus you have Venus up there (at least I’m pretty sure it was Venus) adding just a hint of something extra.

For those that live in Phoenix, even a silhouette of these mountains is probably easily recognized by most people. I love that about some places…you can just see an outline or a shadow of something and know it instantly because you live there. It’s makes it something special.

(exif: canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 35mm, f/10, iso 100, 5 sec)

Sunset on the Mogollon Rim

I know what you might be thinking…where is the color? This is a sunset right? Yeah…it was, but honestly…if there are no clouds or other excitement, the tones of a normal sunset tend to bore me to tears. At least, when I look at them in photos. In person, it was a beautiful and serene moment from my camping trip late last week.

I’m shooting from atop the Mogollon Rim area, a ridge that stretches across the mid-to-northern areas of Arizona. It’s about a 90 minute or more drive from Phoenix, and what’s amazing about it is being able to go that short distance and see temperature go from 110 to 77. I love it up there!

What struck me more about this sunset scene in front of me was the “layers” of mountains stretching out in front of me…and the edge of the Mogollon Rim coming from the right horizon and dropping into the valley.

That and of course the moon and Venus up in the heavens. Subtle, but they are there, I promise *grin*

I still look at this photo and can’t decide if I love it or if it’s just okay. The camping trip itself was a blast, but the skies were so clear the entire time, I wasn’t excited about most of the shots I took. This sunset was beautiful in person, but it just didn’t translate well to a photo (in my opinion), so the black and white was a way to “fix it” for me.

Technically this is a six bracket, HDR processed with my usual suspects, taken with my Tamron 17-35mm 2.8.