Congratulations to Paul Matthews for winning the recent Summer Sunrises And Sunsets Assignment with the image, “Harmony.”
“This photo was captured from one of the trails leading out of the Loowit Overview just prior to reaching the Johnston Observatory in Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument,” says Matthews. “While most people were composing shots of Mt. St. Helens, I noticed that the real light show was happening in the opposite direction. I particularly liked how the sky and the foreground wildflowers shared a similar color palette as Mother Nature was in perfect harmony.”
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Today’s Photo Of The Day is “Sawtooth Range Fog and Moon” by Clayton Peoples. Location: Little Redfish Lake, Idaho.
“Fog layers hang over Little Redfish Lake as the morning sun turns the Sawtooth Mountains a soft orange during sunrise. The moon is visible on the upper left (reflected in the lake on the lower left as well).
Photo of the Day is chosen from various OP galleries, including Assignments, Galleries and the OP Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the OP website homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.
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During the monsoon season of August 2015, I made my first trip to White Sands National Monument, accompanied by a great friend who had kindly invited me to join up for this adventure. The severity of the desert environment during the summer makes the concept of teamwork and mutual support a very wise mode of operation, and when you witness a display like we did that evening, you really are grateful to have a shared experience and someone to whom you can exclaim, “Is this real?” The lines and landforms were surreal, as was their interplay with the light. Remarkably, the image presented here was captured during our very first sunset at the location. Quite a welcome!
We’d intended to use the evening to get a “lay of the land” and perhaps identify interesting areas of the dune field to revisit. Late afternoon had been sweltering. Our tiny footprints on the 275 square miles of gypsum were made as we traversed a virtual heat reflector. Toward evening, after a nice period of softer light, things had turned decidedly dark, and cooler, which was welcomed. We ventured farther out. Now, the monsoonal weather pattern was about to teach us in dramatic fashion how quickly things can change.
Menacing darkness all around was punctuated by lightning from a billowing thunderhead off to our east. This was soon followed by a severe uptick in wind, as outflow from the storm reached us. The wind became gale force and bore a stinging mass of airborne sand. There was nothing to do but turn your back to it and brace yourself. Free dermabrasion! As we adjusted to this remarkable turn of events, hints of sunlight breaking through the cloud cover became apparent. The bursting forth of crepuscular rays seemed to happen all at once, creating a jaw-dropping, otherworldly scene across the dunescape. Severe wind or not, it was time to get the gear out!
Keeping hold of the tripod was a major factor, and I dared not let go. Even using the camera bag as weight, there was tripod movement. Despite the distant sunrays, the scene was actually rather dark overall, and the necessity for a higher ISO to obtain a shutter speed great enough to combat the windshake was evident. Thank goodness for modern full-frame sensors.
There was a dramatic bonus that came with the sandblasting: glowing against the darkness of the distant mountain range, a gleaming wall of sand that must have been hundreds of feet high. In fact, all of the cumulative airborne sand made the light rays that much more diffuse and magical. I found these wide, fanned beams and their interaction with the mountain layers to be one of my favorite shots from the event.
Needless to say, any discomfort was quickly forgotten while shooting this scene, and the trudge back out of the dunes after it subsided was quite satisfying. A memorable start to a great trip!
See more of Tim Williams’ photography at www.tim-williams-photography.com.
Nikon D600, Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD at 170mm, Induro CLT204 tripod and Induro BHD3 ballhead. Exposure: 1/125sec., ƒ/16, ISO 800.
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