Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the second most visited national park in the United States. The park has outstanding viewpoints that have attracted many photographers, especially at sunrise and sunset. Among the best sunset viewpoints is the Morton Overlook, named after Ben Morton, a local civic leader and staunch advocate for establishing the national park. I travelled to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the spring, partly to photograph wildflowers and capture images from viewpoints. I knew beforehand that the sun would be setting down the valley stretching west from Morton Overlook at that time of year. I also knew many people gathered at the Morton Overlook to enjoy and photograph sunsets.
So throughout several evenings during my visit, I went to the Morton Overlook well before sunset to get a parking space and set up my camera. Clouds obscured the sunset most of these evenings. But the clouds parted as the sun neared the horizon on the evening I captured this image. I shot several series of photographs of this scene at different focal lengths while manually bracketing for high contrast. I kept the sun out of the frame to help reduce the exposure's contrast. I chose this image from the series partly because of the lines of receding mountain ridges, the sunbeams backlighting the ridges, and the clumps of yellow trees climbing up the valley. A few minutes after I captured this image, most of the ridges in the foreground dropped into the deep shade as the sun set behind the mountains.Upload YOUR Picture • WIN $200 Cash
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor