Friday, May 29, 2015

Salt Flats of the Guadalupes at Sunset

It rained all day.  After walking out from the dunes after a non-sunrise it rained all day.  I explored a few areas along the edge of the Otero Mesa but the overcast and rain made for a wet and rather uninteresting day.

The rain had made the road to the dunes impassable so I knew there was no chance to even think about going back out there.  Plus there was zero indication of a chance at a sunset.

Late in the afternoon I decided to go back to Pine Springs Campground by the park HQ for the night.  I lollygagged along the road and thought I would stop by the salt flats to see if there might be a sunset, but held little hope for anything.  

As I drove the rain began to taper off.


Socked in
I got out to the edge of the salt pan and could see the day of rains had left pools of water on the flats.  The mountains were completely socked in and there was still occasional sprinkles.  I parked the Element and took in the whole scene.

I began to notice the clouds looked to have a few holes in the west.  Soon the cloud layer began to slightly break up in the west and then the mountain peeked out of the clouds to the east of me.  I knew something magical was going to happen.

I walked the edge of one of the pools of water with two tripods and two cameras.  I had a rented Sony A7R with my 17-40 Canon lens and then my Canon 5D2 with the 70-200.  I started taking pictures.  At first there was just a peek of the mountain.

As the afternoon drifted toward sunset the western sky began to break up and clouds began to fall away from the Guadalupes.

The light got intense and the sky was dramatic.

I was getting yet another chance to witness a great sunset at the salt flats for the fourth year in a row.  West Texas is a land of big sunsets.  However sometimes even here a sunset goes off the charts.  I have been lucky enough to have seen one each of the last three years from this same spot and I knew a fourth one was about to happen.


I could not believe my luck.

When I saw it has been dreary and overcast all day, I meant it was just downright bland with zero indication there would be anything but that until the next day.

However, as it often does in the Guadalupes, the the weather was going to rapidly change right at sunset.

In an hour we went from socked in to an epic sunset.

I worked two cameras capturing the view both wide and long.  The mountains lit up with dramatic light while still half covered in clouds.  The sky was filled with light and clouds.

I kept moving from camera to camera wishing I could move faster and get more images.

As the sun sank below the horizon the light changed and the Guadalupes went reddish pink.

The light after sunset kept going and the sky took on color.

It was another day I stayed long after sunset taking in the scene.  Much as I had done several times before I had witnessed a truly epic sunset here and as before I was elated and exhausted.

I stayed until I could begin to see the Milky Way in the western sky and even got a few images before I finally called it a day and finished the drive back up to the campground.

All I could say was wow.........


No comments: