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Themes : Sunrise, Sunset

Photography is all about Light. Seriously. Without light, there would be no photographs! But light is a funny thing. Sunlight, for example, doesn't always look the same.

It always comes from the same place, so why is it different? Well, for one reason, check out the technique discussion on morning glow. It's one of the most dramatic times of day for photography.

So that's what this page is about. We have included links to some of our favorite shots that show the dramatic light of early morning or late evening.



"Fading Sun Behind the Hoodoos"
Arches National Park, Utah
Big Picture

Hoodoos?

Yes, that's what these unusual stone formations are called. You can look it up if you don't believe us. This particular picture is from a tour of Arches National Park. This version of the picture shows the red-pink-purple hues of the later stages of a sunset.



"Before the Dawn"
Arches National Park, Utah

Wonderful things happen just before the sunrise. The horizon turns light blue, then shades of pink, and then — if you are lucky — the most amazing combination of orange, yellow, red, and gold. This picture was taken before the sunrise in Arches National Park. The shadowy outline is a stone formation called the North Window, the other formation is called the Turret Arch.

As the sun rose on this particular morning, the sky began to get more and more interesting. The next shot shown below was taken about ten or twenty minutes after this one. The sky is much lighter, and the red stone has started to reflect the interesting colors from the sky. This picture has become one of our favorites from this trip.




"Early Light on Turret Arch"
Arches National Park, Utah

You don't have to have the most expensive camera in the world to be able to take pictures like these. You just have to get up at 4:30 in the morning, drive to the park, hike a little ways, sit around freezing while waiting for the sun to come up, and pay attention. Oh, and since early light is often faint, you will definitely need a tripod to get shots like this.



"Washer Woman Shadows"
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Big Picture

Light can do funny things. The two previous shots show the faery quality of early dawn. Once the sun comes up, everything can turn golden. But since the sunlight is still coming in at a sharp angle (since the sun is just over the horizon) you can see some of the most interesting shadows.

Case in point, this image. Rather than being a picture of something that is lit up, it is a picture of something in shadow. Can you find the four different levels of shadow?

The darkest level — in the foreground — is a famous stone formation in Canyonlands National Park (Utah) called the Washer Woman Arch. To her right is Monster Tower, and behind them both is Airport Tower. Since Airport Tower is further away, the level of shadow is not quite as intense.

We kept one of our most dramatic shots for last. The very first picture in this tour — "Fading Sun Behind the Hoodoos" — was taken in the Spring of 1997, at Arches National Park. The following picture was taken in the fall of 1999 at nearly the same place. The sunset, however, was pretty spectacular. We'll let you review the photo and decide for yourself.




"Hoodoo Sunset"
Arches National Park, Utah
Big Picture

Many of the pictures on this page came from our trips to Utah. If you would like to see more, we have an entire area of our site dedicated to Utah content for you to review. New content is generally posted every month. If you would like to be notified when we update or post new content to our site, please sign up for our subscription service. Thanks for stopping by.
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