Sunset Before A Storm

The sky didn't look very promising when I set out after work to climb Mount Rubidoux. The high ugly cirrus clouds huddled thin and stingy in the east; the sunset side of the sky looked bereft and parsimonious, giving nothing.

Still, I wanted to try to get a shot. I visit this place so often and photograph it so much because it's my home place; I'm building expertise in how and when best to shoot here.  To build that knowledge, I have to visit often and always do my best.

This time, I brought my Canon 5Dsr, a 16-35 f/4L IS II lens, a large carbon fiber Manfrotto 190PRO with a ball head, a B+W 10 stop neutral density filter, and a cable release for bulb mode. It's a lot to carry, but if you're striving to do the very best you're able to do, and get the highest quality you're able to get, you carry what you need.

During the sweaty clamber up to the top, the weather shifted impressively. As the sun crept toward the horizon, rain clouds rushed in from the east, alternately cloaking the sun in shadows, then abruptly revealing it. I spied a magnificent double rainbow. (These always appear with their centers 180 degrees from the sun -- in fact, they can't appear anywhere else in the sky -- and are a sure sign it's raining, at least in the distance). At this point, I knew I'd come at the right time.

As I waited for sunset the light continually changed around me, transitioning from a luminous glow to a tentative chiaroscuro and back again. I made many exposures of the Peace Tower. The light, its colors, developed surreal edges. In the image below, I didn't dare enhance the colors in post production in any way. I left them at the default because they already looked so intense.

Then suddenly, the light was spent. The sky opened up and it began to rain. I packed up and hiked back to the car, wet and as happy as I have been in ages.

 Canon 5Dsr, EF 16-35 f/4L II IS USM @ f/22 and @30mm, ISO 100, 10 stop ND, 120 second exposure

Canon 5Dsr, EF 16-35 f/4L II IS USM @ f/22 and @30mm, ISO 100, 10 stop ND, 120 second exposure

 Earlier: Canon 5Dsr, EF 16-35 f/4L II IS USM @ f/18 and @30mm, ISO 100, 10 stop ND, 44 second exposure.

Earlier: Canon 5Dsr, EF 16-35 f/4L II IS USM @ f/18 and @30mm, ISO 100, 10 stop ND, 44 second exposure.