If sunrises are my favorite time to photograph, sunsets are a close second.
“Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I've often said my favorite time of the day to photograph is at sunrise. I love the stillness, a world just awakening, birds singing their morning songs, the temperature still cool, and few people out and about. It's a magical time that I find refreshing, renewing, and allows me to start the day with a clear head while I'm photographing. But if sunrise is all of that for me, and my favorite time to photograph, sunset is a close second.
I find sunsets to be the perfect way to end any day, good or bad. On the good days, it's a celebration of the victories, the cherry on top of the sundae, the exclamation point. On the bad days, it's a reminder that despite the trials and tribulations of the day, it's not all bad. It's a reminder of the beauty in the world, and as Ralph stated above, it's the promise that tomorrow may be better.
If sunrises are the world awakening, sunsets are the world settling in for the night. People slowly disperse, traffic thins out as people make their way home after a long day, the air seems to calm, and water at lakes slowly settles. As the light fades, you can feel the tension of the day draining away as well. I always find myself hopeful about tomorrow after witnessing a sunset.
My favorite sunset photos are the ones I've made when someone I'm close to is with me, whether it's my wife, my children, or friends. These images are permanent reminders of the time spent together and tend to have more meaning beyond the natural beauty I've managed to capture. The memories they evoke help me relive those happy moments, especially in times when life is a bit more difficult.
Sometimes, the memories are of complete strangers. For instance, "Appalachian Sunset II", above, was taken at Clingman's Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on an autumn day last October, with my friend Kristen Wilkinson. The location was packed with people watching the sunset, and we were elbow to elbow with others. Naturally, conversations started when people noticed our cameras, as they tend to do. They ask about our travels, what we've photographed so far, where we're headed next. They ask where they can see our work. Those random conversations are reminders that people are generally good, caring, and kind. I enjoy meeting people and discussing my work, and can't think of a better time to do that than over a sunset.
I always love ending my day photographing sunset. I've included a few of my favorite sunset images here, and I hope you enjoy them. Do you have a favorite?