Independence Pass, Colorado thumbnails only

Dealing with Wind During an Independence Pass Sunset Dealing with Wind During an Independence Pass Sunset
Independence Pass is at 12,095' elevation on the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range in Colorado. The top of a really tall mountain is often a great location choice for photographing (or just watching) a sunset, but the best photo (or view) is not always directly into the sun to the west. Really great sunsets also light up the eastern sky and on this particular evening, a storm to the east provided great color over the stark landscape at this pass.
 
A wide angle landscape photo composed of rock and clouds and captured on a tripod generally would not need ISO increased to 200 to maintain a 1/25 second exposure just to retain sharpness. But, the wind was ripping across the top of this mountain and I was not comfortable even with this 1/25 shutter speed.
 
There are various ways to deal with wind when photographing, but a solid tripod setup is the first key. Without any other protection from the wind available at the location I was shooting from (such as a vehicle or building), I opted for my frequently-used technique of holding my coat open around the camera and much of the tripod. The coat greatly reduces the amount of wind hitting the camera, yielding a potentially much sharper image – though it leaves me quite cold sometimes. The picture lasts far longer than my coldness.
 
16mm  f/8.0  1/25s  ISO 200
Reflections at Independence Pass, Colorado Reflections at Independence Pass, Colorado
A great way to make a good scene better is to add a reflection and water is perhaps the most common reflective surface used in landscape photography. At least relatively still water is needed if what is reflecting is to be recognizable and, when shooting in extremely windy locations (this one qualifies), small bodies of water tend to be most still.
 
Shaded water often provides a better reflective water surface than water under direct sunlight. At the top of Independence Pass, the setting sun shines horizontally across the landscape and casts a shadow evenly across this small alpine meadow pond. The dark water nicely reflects the great clouds overhead
 
This is a manual HDR processed image with a subtle increase in reflection brightness being the result.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/30s  ISO 125
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