Sunday, March 29, 2015

Big Bend National Park: Storms & Sunsets

The clouds were very, very kind to me on the first afternoon in Big Bend National Park. They allowed the sky -- which could have been a big, blank slab of blue -- to perfectly complement the gorgeous scenery we were seeing on the ground.

Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park
Storm clouds over the Chisos Mountains.

Sierra del Carmens, Big Bend National Park
A rainbow formed over the Sierra del Carmen range.  I was just barely able to catch a quick shot of it before it faded away.  I normally think of speed being important when shooting wildlife, but sometimes with landscapes the light can be fleeting.  This was one of those times.

Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park
A great deal of the afternoon was spent looking for places to shoot the sunset, and wondering if the clouds would get thick enough that there wouldn't even be a sunset to shoot.

Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park
God rays always amaze and delight me.  If a sunset wasn't going to be in the cards, I was still getting a great show.

Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park
I've seen many articles encouraging landscape photographers to deviate from the wide angle lens sometimes and use a telephoto.  My 18-105 gave me the ability to do both with this scene, and for that I was very glad.

When sunset did arrive, our patience was rewarded.  We set up shop at a vantage point recommended by a ranger at the Panther Junction Visitor Center -- and let me interrupt myself just to say that when a ranger gives you a recommendation, follow it -- and got some nice color and textures over the Chisos Mountains.  The pullout is just past mile marker 6 on the road from Panther Junction to Rio Grande Village, if you happen to be in the area.

I almost got a little too single-minded about shooting what was in front of me.  A few peeks over my shoulder revealed lovely colors on storm clouds to the southeast.  But I just barely shifted and composed in time to catch these rosy hues as the sun disappeared below the horizon.

A truly fantastic introduction to the park.  You don't get conditions in the sky like this very often, or for an extended period of time like we did.  I hope I managed to do them at least a little justice.

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