Friday, August 8, 2014

Cape Royal sunset

Sunsets aren't as easy to come by here as they were at Petrified Forest. I can't just walk out my door to take a photo when I see color in the sky, partly because I don't see much sky, but also because a wide open view is a 10-minute walk or, in the case of these photos, a 45-minute drive. One day my next-door neighbor asked if I'd seen the sunset the night before; the sky was a kaleidoscope of color due to smoke over the canyon from forest fires, and she'd seen it down near the rim. I didn't see one speck of sunset and felt cheated.

A couple of afternoons later I was peering through the trees at clouds collecting in the west, so with hope in my heart, HH and I hopped in the car and sped off to Cape Royal. As the crow flies, it's probably two miles, but by road it's more than 20. The road is narrow and winding so it takes a while, and then there's a bit of a walk to get to the point. I hustled down the trail and got there just in time. If I'd done the speed limit I would have missed it. Don't tell anyone.

I was amazed when I processed these photos. The color, or lack of, was seen by the camera but not by me.

The formations to the south held a rosy glow for a while.

In the west, highlights of magenta were all that was left when the rest of the canyon went gray...

...then, when the sun was just about gone, nearly all color departed. It makes me think of Mordor.

Finally, an unexpected blaze of color in the sky and on plants in the foreground, thanks to light reflecting off the clouds. I did not see this through the camera. You can draw a line from the sun to where it bounces off the cloud, then down to the plants. What a phenomenon.

When the sun was gone, a near-monochromatic hue remained, fading into dark for the night.

I drove home at a more sedate speed, mostly because we were behind what I could see was a new motorcyclist, but also because I thought I'd stressed HH enough. I could tell by his reaching for an imaginary brake or bracing himself on the dash that he was a little uneasy on the way up but, really, I wasn't going that fast.


Thought of the day: 

A sunset is life's way of saying, Good job! You survived another day! Here's something pretty. - Anon.