The Magic Hour

There’s a reason why photographers call dusk the magic hour. The light is soft, colorful, ethereal, even magic. In the mountains the alpenglow can stop you in your tracks. I remember one evening several years ago. My three oldest sons and I were camping at Carolyn Lake in the High Uintas Wilderness Area. We were just puttering around camp getting ready to build a fire, when all of a sudden the light turned golden, otherworldly. We all literally stopped in our tracks. The boys looked at me and asked what was going on. I explained how alpenglow works. We were all amazed and sat in silence for a few minutes marveling at this spectacular display of nature. In a few minutes it was gone.

Earlier this month my two youngest sons and I were backpacking in the same general area, Four Lakes Basin, and had one evening with spectacular light. My 15 year old son took the black and white photo below while I was trying to get a few last casts in with my fly rod before it got too dark to see. It was taken with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the 12-50mm kit lens at 12 mm, 1/3200, f/8.0, iso 320. Slight adjustments were made with Silver Efex Pro 2.

Amy Lake, High Uintas Wilderness Area, Utah; photo by Finn Christensen

I took the photo below about 20 minutes later with the same camera and lens. I typically like black and white for this kind of photo with clouds, but I loved the pink and blue in the sky and reflection so left it in color. (12mm, 1/160, f/6.3, iso 320; slight adjustments made in Lightroom 4).

Amy Lake, High Uintas Wilderness Area, Utah




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