Horton Plains NP, Central Province, Sri Lanka by Vasantha Jayasooriya

A stunning view, as the sun sets over the Horton Plains National Park. The image was taken from the vicinity of the 'Maha Eliya' bungalow (run by the Department of Wildlife Conservation). The Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. The plains are a mix of montane grassland and cloud forest with Rhododendron arboreum (as seen in the image) being the predominant tree species in the park. Considered as a super biodiversity hotspot, the plains are often shrouded in mist and the picturesque environment makes for excellent hiking. The weather is usually cool, crisp and windy but can be bitterly cold, especially during the nights and early morning. With an annual rainfall of over 2000mm, there is always the threat of rain throughout the year, though January to March are considered dry months.
While the plains are home to many species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, the most commonly seen animal is the Sambar deer, which occur in large numbers. Sightings of the Sri Lankan leopard, though rare, are becoming more frequent.
This image was captured on the evening of the day of our arrival, for a three night stay at the Park. The evening was cool and dry and as we were relaxing outside the bungalow, the sky showed signs of developing into something special, before lighting up suddenly in brilliant shades of gold and yellow!
Technical issues: Deciding on the composition and managing the highlights. I eventually decided to zoom in, to both reduce the area of view and isolate and draw attention to the tree on the left, silhouetted by the glorious sunset. I was also successful in obtaining a decent JPEG exposure, which did not require too much adjustment in Lr / Ps.

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