Mt. Hood from Mirror Lake, Government Camp, Oregon
5DII, 16-35mL f/2.8L II @ 21mm, staggered 3- and 1-stop GNDs
I’d gone past the lake up to Tom, Dick & Harry Mountain to see if the twilight view might be better up there, but I saw that hazy clouds on the distant horizon would be filtering out the sunlight as the sun sank (how’s that for some alliteration?), and I anticipated a hike back in the dark with a subpar photo from the lake would be less miserable and disappointing than a hike back in the dark with a subpar photo from the mountaintop. I made it back in time to set up camp at the most favorable lakeshore spot, after everyone else had left.
As the sun was descending toward optimal altitude, a couple of nice blokes from across the pond (the BIG pond, not this one) emerged from the wounds and struck out for the exact same spot where I was waiting. They shared with me that they were nearing the end of a glorious three-week hike in Oregon, and it turned out they’d been at this same site that same morning to take some shots of Hood at dawn and had wanted to take some at dusk, too. They conceded the vantage point to me, but given the circumstances, there was no way I was going to selfishly hog the splendor to myself. No picture’s worth that kind of guilt! So, I insisted we take turns with our setups so that we could capture the mountain and lake at different phases of lighting, and we somewhat comically took to noting where our respective tripods’ footprints were in the mud so that we could quickly trade spots without having to make a lot of readjustments.
In the end, we all got our shots and went home happy. The clouds on the horizon cleared enough for more direct reflections off the mountain (to the point of almost being blown-out), and the lake surface stayed serene until the sun fully sank. I wished the contrails hadn’t shown up, but on the glass-half-full side I think they lend a little bit of dynamism to an otherwise static scene. You take what you can get, I suppose. :)