I am very fortunate to live in the northeast part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. It is quite a large valley. My subject, the Superstition Mountains in the Lost Dutchman State Park, formations that make for a large part of its north-eastern boundary. It can be a good hour drive to get to them from my home, sometimes longer depending on the traffic on the freeway.
There were scattered storms forecast for the valley that day. Watching the radar, popcorn storms started popping up for late morning and early afternoon. I decided to drive from my home at around 2 pm. That should allow me to get to a suitable location to setup and shoot from about 3:30 PM until sunset, at about 6:35 PM. The storm clouds, although threatening, were a sky enhancement for the occasion. So my intention was to make a study of how the changes of light changed the mountains.
To get my bearings more efficiently I use a very convenient app: “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” or TPE. The cropped screen shot below shows where I was roughly standing with the sunset location for that day (the orange line on the left). I find this program useful when I'm planning sunrise-sunset landscape shoots. It show distance between points, bearings, elevation, when the sun and moon will rise, etc. It is available for Android, iOS and desktop.
Looking south, the Superstition Mountains are one mile away on the left and about 2 miles away on the right side from where I stood. I was about a quarter mile down one of the trails at Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, Arizona.
There is some 2,000 feet of additional elevation to the peaks from where I stood. The orientation of the topography is such that it is a wonderful place for sunsets.
This was the monsoon season for Arizona in September 2015. The storm in the first image below was concerning for a while, but it ended up missing us with only a few sprinkles.
I thought it could be worthwhile to see all four images together to appreciate why and how the light changes affected the mountains, and in a relatively short time.
The shooting session only took well under three hours. I hope you liked the results. I enjoyed it a lot.
More articles that might interest you