Fire & Fog!

Location: Russian Ridge 
Time: Sunset
EXIF: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV | EF 70-200mm f/4 USM | 98mm | f/11 | 1/25s | ISO 100

One of those rare Summer days where Escaype predicted a good & colorful Sunset. There is no way I was going to miss it. The question, as usual, was to decide where to go. In the Escaype forum, Russian Ridge came up as a good spot for Sunset. So, I decided to head out to Russian Ridge and a couple of my friends wanted to join me.

We met at one of my friend’s office so we could park our cars there and carpool. The drive took us just about 45 minutes. In terms of distance, it’s only 20 miles or so but the road up the hill is with full of twists and turns. This is the second time I am heading up this road. The first time around, it was for Sunrise and that’s the day when a) my 7D stopped working and 2) I felt so nauseated that I almost threw up. I was worried about the trip up the hill but luckily I went up the hill without any discomfort.

Since none of us have been to Russian Ridge, we didn’t know where to go. One of our friends gave genera direction as to where to park and which trail to take. One of the Escaype members pointed to the same trail. We got to the parking lot about an hour and half ahead of Sunset time. We started walking up the Ridge Trail.

The first spot we stopped at was beautiful. We could see a thick layer of fog completely covering the scene in front of us. Actually, fog was not too high so a good portion of the foreground hills and grass were visible. We weren’t sure if we should stay at this spot or continue walking.

We saw a guy standing about half a mile away and we thought that may be a better place to stand for Sunset. So, we started walking towards him. When we got to where we thought he stood, we couldn’t find him. But, we saw that the trail we were on went up the hill to a corner. We thought that would make a good spot to setup for Sunset. When we went there, we realized that location wasn’t ideal but we didn’t want to keep searching for a better spot.

We setup our tripod and started taking test shots. The light was quite harsh so I knew that none of the shots were going to be good but I wanted to see what kind of comp I could get. We just waited and chatted as the Sun went down. What we realized was that clouds started dissipating, which was not good.

I took this shot when the Sun was behind the horizon. As you can see, there are only few wispy clouds. When we walked into this location, there were lot more clouds. We didn’t get the burn or the colors we had hoped for. But, I was able to bring some color in post processing.

Unfortunately, I did not have my ND filter with me. Let me take that back. I had the ND Filters with me but I didn’t have the adapter rings for the lenses I had that day. I wanted to use a 10 or 16, or even 19 stop ND filter to see if I can get the rolling fog but I couldn’t. Well, there’s always night time.

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