Behind The Shot: “Twilight I” by Gerard Smith – Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

evening sun rays cascade over slopes in mount hood national park oregon

“Twilight I” by Gerard Smith

I was having a lazy day towards the end of July last summer, and around lunchtime my wife, Joanne and I rallied with the dog and headed out for a hike in Mt. Hood National Forest, towards Bald Mountain and McNeil Point, we met a few other hikers on the way, and another photographer I met was headed up to McNeil Point to catch the full moon over Mt. Hood and Illumination Rock.

I felt keen to have a look at the landscapes on the way as I hadn’t been here before, there were great views of the valleys leading towards the glaciers running off the mountain. The sun was still fairly high, and I was taking more abstract shots, zoomed into the features of the valley—the rocks, cascading waterfalls and glaciers. Meanwhile, our dog Sara was coaxing us along further up the trail, and eventually we stopped for a late afternoon/early evening lunch. Mount Hood was looking very grandiose in the sunshine, but I decided as the sky was clear blue I wasn’t really going to get the shot I was after of the mountain, and we also wanted to get back to the car before nightfall.

Reluctantly, we packed up and headed down the trail as the sun started to go down. I had strapped my tripod back to my pack at this point, but still had my camera around my neck “just in case.” I came round the corner and just before the trail re-entered the forest I saw this great view. The sun had dipped low enough that the last evening light was casting amazing rays across the valley. Joanne and Sara continued hiking as I stopped and took a series of compositions as quickly as I could before the moment passed and the sun set for the day. At the time, I felt I got caught up in the moment and wasn’t really sure what I had until I got back home.

Just goes to show that you need to be aware of opportunities when they arise, and they may not be what you are expecting, but welcome them with open arms. I decided that a black and white conversion suited my vision of what I had seen that evening, and it brings back great memories of a wonderful day. – Gerard Smith

This image is available as a print here. See more of Smith’s work at his website, Long White Cloud Photography. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and his blog.

Equipment and settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L telephoto zoom lens – 70mm – 1/160th @ f/11 – ISO 100