I love black and white fine art landscape photography, however, there are times when I feel that landscape and nature photography needs to be in color. One of those times is when the light of the setting sun is shining on the snow-capped mountains of the Pacific Northwest. This phenomenon is known as “Alpenglow” and is defined as: “the rosy light of the setting or rising sun seen on high mountains.”
For those of us in Western Washington, we are blessed to occasionally have (when it’s not cloudy) the Washington Cascades with the snow-capped volcanic peaks light up with beautiful warm sunlight just before dusk.
Anytime I’m near Mount Rainier, I always try to plan my day so I’m in a good place to capture the alpenglow on the mountain.
After an afternoon of snowshoeing at Paradise (see my blog post at Snowshoeing in Paradise, Mount Rainier, Washington, 2017), I packed up my gear and started down the road to Longmire, allowing myself some time for some golden hour photographs of Mount Rainier and the surrounding landscape.
During the winter, there are only a few places where one can pull off on the way down from Paradise and take photos. I managed to find one good site to capture the alpenglow on Pinnacle Peak (part of the Tatoosh Range) and another to capture the last light on Mount Rainier. I worked the scene for a few minutes to gather enough images for a variety of perspectives of the mountain (i.e.; close-ups, panoramas, etc.).
I made it through the gate at Longmire exactly at 5:00 PM. One side of the gate was closed and there was a park ranger positioned at the gate, preventing further after hour visitors.
Since there was a little light left in the sky and it wasn’t completely dark, I parked at Longmire and captured a photo of the historic National Park Inn and of the Administrative Building. The light in the sky along with the street lamps reflecting off the snow providing enough light for my camera to capture images of these historic national park buildings.
By the time I was finished shooting photos, it was 5:15 PM. I saw the park ranger lock the gate. I wonder how many people on average don’t make it through the Longmire gate each night.