Calendar Photo of the Month – Morning Twilight
Oh, March! Many of you are growing weary of winter by now and understandably so. Here in Eastern Oregon, March brings a mixture of days, rain, snow, gloom, mud and even sunshine. But please don’t let those things alter your perception of the beauty that these last days of winter can bring. Honestly, March is one of my favorite times of the year. The days are growing longer and more of them are sunny. The snow depth in the mountains is at its maximum depth, and last but certainly not least… my daffodils are pushing their way up through the last of the autumn leaves and any crusty snow that remains in my yard. My daffodils are a powerful force that reminds me that soon enough, Spring will be coming, no matter what.
The March calendar images are two of my favorites. They are my favorites because of the time of year they were taken and because they were taken at one of my favorite places, Anthony Lakes. Being out on the mountain when night fades and morning begins is such an amazing experience. There is never anyone out there but me. It is a humbling experience. It is so easy to believe that I am the only person on Earth. All I experience is extreme peacefulness and solitude. The air is so clean as I draw it in deeply to my lungs. My ears detect no sounds except perhaps a soft wind whispering through the trees. I am in awe that I am completely in sync with this landscape. I belong here, even if only for a small blip in time.
Did you know that there are three degrees of twilight? Astronomical Twilight is closest to night. Your eyes may not even detect the change in light, but the camera does. The next degree is Nautical Twilight. By now, your eyes will see light rising on the eastern horizon. Lastly before Sunrise is Civil Twilight. In Civil Twilight, the stars begin to fade as the sun comes nearer to the horizon.
The trick to getting beautiful images with this soft glow is to be out there during Astronomical and Nautical Twilight. Not only do you get to experience the peacefulness I mentioned, but you get an opportunity to capture the transformation of night to day with your camera. The color of the sky begins to transition from black to a warm magenta color and most of the stars will still be visible. Often, if you’re lucky, high clouds on the horizon will pick up the pre-sunrise glow of the coming sun. It is an amazing thing to witness.
The main calendar image is of Gunsight Mountain with Van Patten Bute in the distance. Many of the stars were still visible as the high clouds began to reflect soft pinks from the sun just below the horizon. Many of these moments are exactly that… only moments. It is a rapidly changing color show, each as beautiful as the last.
The supplemental image was taken from Mud Lake which I really like, even though the name doesn’t do it service. It is a very shallow lake surrounded by tall grasses in the summer but in the winter, it is a pure white palette of snow. From my vantage point on the far side of the lake, I can photograph a wide perspective of the whole area, from Gunsight Mountain to the Ski Area, all bathed in a glorious pre-sunrise glow. By now, I can begin to hear the happy sounds of humans preparing for a fun day of skiing and I know that a hot cup of steaming coffee is waiting for me at the lodge. There is no better way to start your day!
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like to read about the February Photo of the Month.
I would love to hear your questions and comments. If you’ve got something to say, please do! 🙂