This is our second installment for our project, “It’s beautiful where we live”. Today’s installment is Superstition Mountain which is normally a 60 minute drive from us, but today it was only a 45 minute ride due to very light traffic. As a reminder, here are our three rules for practicing safe photography:

  1. All trips must be completed in one day with no hotel stay.
  2. All meals will be brought with us so there is no reliance on restaurants.
  3. All photography outings will be just the two of us, not in a photo group, not even with photographer friends.

Last night we stayed true to our rules with a visit to Superstition Mountain for a sunset shoot. Why did we go last night? Let me explain. Last year we attended a one-day seminar on weather in photography, focusing on what cloud types are best for photography and whether there will be a colorful sky. There was an overabundance of information that I had trouble completely synthesizing. However, I did glean the following that has proven helpful:

  • Low-level clouds are no good.
  • High-level clouds have potential such as cirrus and altocumulus as they often contain ice crystals that reflect the light.
  • Use a simple color-coded map produced by SunsetWx that shows a prediction for color at sunrise and sunset.

Each day we look at the sky to determine what types of clouds (if any) are present. Then we check out the color-coded map to determine if there is chance for a colorful sunset. If the color on Scottsdale is a warm color such as orange or red, orange being a predictor for a good sunset and red a predictor for a great sunset, then it is off to the races. As you can see from the map below, sunset looked to be great.

Sunset Quality prediction for Mar 22 from SunsetWx. As you can see, the color is almost deep red.

At Superstition Mountain the clouds were thicker than we would have liked. We were fortunate that the sun peaked through the clouds at the horizon, producing a beautiful red glow on the mountain face and a smattering of color in the clouds. It was certainly not the “great sunset” we were led to believe, but it wasn’t bad either.

Everything came together: yellow wildflowers in the foreground, saguaro cacti in the mid-ground, Superstition Mountain showing off its fiery rock in the distance, and a colorful sky.

Thanks for reading. And, remember, it’s all about the light!