Mt Washington Winter Sunrise, Oregon, USA by Steve Giardini

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I love photographing during the winter. There are fewer people, I enjoy the extra physical challenge, and even the most iconic summer locations look extra special in the winter.

I took this image from the top of Santiam Pass near Sisters, Oregon, USA. I arrived early to a nearby snow park and suited up for what was expected to be a relatively long cold wait for sunset. On went the snow boots, heavy jacket, snow pants, hat, two pair of gloves, snow gators, snow shoes, and the camera gear backpack. I felt like an overstuffed coach as I step into the virgin snow. My planned photo location was only 500 yards from the car but it was straight uphill.

After finding a flat spot I used the snow shoes to tromp a 5 feet by 5 feet setup area. Off came the backpack and up went the tripod. As expected the tripod sunk into the snow a good distance. After assuring it was stable, I leveled it and began to compose my image. I new the low angle of the winter sun would hit the West slope of Mt. Washington broadside at sunset.

As the sun began to set so too did the thermometer. I loaded the camera batteries I had been keeping warm in my pocket. Assuring everything was operational I began taking some test exposures. It was cloudy but the clouds were moving quickly across the sky.

Shazam! As hoped, the setting sun wiggled its way through the clouds and provided a beautiful pink glow to the snow covered slope! I stayed until I had to turn my headlamp on. By now my fingers and toes needed some heat. I reversed the process and repack the gear. I didn’t darn lean to far forward going down the hill!

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