Twilight from Clingmans Dome

Twilight from Clingmans Dome

The ridges of the Smoky Mountains as viewed from Clingmans Dome at twilight

If you’ve been following this blog for a while you might recognize these ridges. My favorite sunset spot in the spring and the fall in the Smokies is Clingmans Dome. The panoramic view from there is almost always spectacular. Even if the light show from the setting sun isn’t perfect, the ridges of the mountains below are always beautiful. Even though I’m always striving for new, better, and different, there is something about this spot that keeps drawing me back. There will be more from here.

This image almost didn’t happen. As I mentioned in my last post, I had to choose between the possibility of a spectacular sunset from Clingmans Dome or the certainty of shooting the elk herd at the bottom of the mountain. I chose the elk herd. Then, I drove as quickly as possible up the mountain hoping to catch some of the sunset. As it turns out, I think I chose wisely. The cloud layer you see at the horizon almost certainly blocked any view of the setting sun as it hit the horizon. Fortunately, the afterglow was still beautiful. That’s not unusual. When other photographers are packing up their gear just after sunset, I stick around. Some of my favorite “sunset” images were taken as long as 30 minutes after the actual sun set!

I think I will never tire of photographing the ridges of the Smokies. They seem to stretch out forever and leave little doubt about how the region got its name. The mountains of the Blue Ridge truly have a blue cast to them and the fog in the Smokies certainly can make them appear to be smoke-filled. Enjoy.

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