There’s a reason I always go out around sunset just to see what I can see. Especially when I’m in new places I like to be out around sunset to watch the sky change. Sometimes I get really lucky and come across beautiful little places like this river in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where the sun dropped behind the many arched bridges along the water. It was a silent and peaceful evening along the banks, where steps dropped down so I could sit and enjoy the beauty of central PA. I’m going back this weekend, and I can only hope for something nearly as nice.
Seeing views like this in New Jersey is something unexpected but always welcome. The beautiful views from High Point State Park are unmatched in the state in my opinion. They call it Skylands for a reason. Hiking up the steep ridge in the morning fog to find a view of the sun coming up over the smoky mountains northwest New Jersey was an amazing feeling. I could have stayed there all day, but as the sun got higher I moved on. The views persisted, but never rivaled those few moments of peaceful, silent beauty at this overlook.
One morning last year I woke up in an AT shelter in North Jersey before sunrise and then had a transcendent morning of hiking through High Point State Park as the sky changed colors all around me. From the vantage point higher than anything in New Jersey I could see rolling mountains all around and a sky bigger than I knew New Jersey ever had. Watching from the overlook tower while the cool morning breeze dried the sweat on my face, I was involuntarily smiling the whole time. It was one of my favorite moments.
Morning in the midwest had such epic beginnings when the sunrise began nearly an hour before our star crossed the horizon. The pillowy clouds stretched on for miles in the sky, carrying the soft morning glow from around the curve of the earth and lighting our pre-dawn drives. The great expanses that make up the middle of the country are quiet except for the occasional roar of tractor trailers on the interstate and the thoughts in our heads as we watch the day unfold.
Due to my being very sick over the past weekend and having to travel for work, I haven’t been able to post any new photos and I’ve been slow getting this one posted. I actually haven’t had any desire to take new photos with how I’ve felt, so I went back into the archives and pulled out this one from the roof of the Divine Lorraine in Philadelphia. This was one of the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen, partially because of the colors and clouds but also because I was sitting on top of this gorgeous old relic of a building in center city Philly looking west over the whole town along with a handful of other adventurers who found their way up there on a warm autumn night. Perfection.
The midwest has an emptiness that becomes hypnotic while driving through it. Endless fields lead out to distant horizons, dotted with a few trees and tumbleweeds rolling across the highway. The manmade structures are often the most dominant thing in view, and wind turbines are quite beautiful to me. The way they spin separate from each other and the silhouette against the orange sky at sunset is something I’ve always liked seeing when we pass through the vast open spaces that allow for their use.
There are so often random amazing spots in places you aren’t looking for it. One of the best parts about being in a new place every day is discovering these little spots and feeling somehow comforted by the ubiquitous beauty that exists everywhere if you can appreciate it. This one happened to be on a disc golf course in South Carolina. As the sun was going down, the well-designed and fun course was challenging us, but I was holding my own. Can’t get mad at a missed putt with these surroundings.
On our way through Texas we had a chance to stop in El Paso for a day, and it was a really nice time. We checked out the art museum, which had some great local art and a focus on female artists. Along I-10 and driving through the city we could see this large X across the border in Juarez. It was created by Chihuahuan artist Sebastian, and it represents the mixed heritage of Mexican culture as well as the troubled history between the border cities. It was an imposing figure on the horizon as we drove past the bridge into Mexico and headed farther into Texas.
Hiking in Utah has plenty of rewarding views, and they’re often mixed with amazingly fun climbs. In Capitol Reef National Park we did what we could with the short time we had there, but that was a good amount. We hiked up to a wide canyon between two high walls that allowed us to explore several side canyons to climb up into. It was enough fun just playing in those, but the climb back out to the main trail was this great silhouette of rocks in front of the colorful sunset sky. We are so lucky to get to see these things regularly.
After spending a week in one place it starts to feel a little like home. I’ve gotten used to the roads here and the pretty mountains are a little more normal to me now. I ventured out a bit today during our down time playing card games and went for a run along the trails around the hills. I ran along a creek and saw a herd of moose on a hillside before passing over several small bridges and then this ranch. The sun had fallen below the mountains already, but I really loved the silhouette sign for this place. It definitely feels like how the small town could have been before it turned into the major resort destination it is now.
One of the challenges to being on the road is finding a place to sleep every night. Places like Wyoming, which we drove through yesterday, don’t have a lot of places to stop. We set up camp at a rest stop inside a picnic shelter with our tent and it was windy but good. The morning brought this incredible sunrise just outside our tent food. Sometimes you get lucky.
Couch surfing has been a big part of our trips for the past few years. Once we discovered the network of likeminded people who offered their homes for travelers to stay we have been getting more into it ever since. I’ve met some great people that I keep in touch with from all around the country and internationally. This shot is from the deck of last night’s host at sunrise near Lyons, Colorado. Cheri was a great host, and her house was beautifully located high up in the hills with views in all directions. I’ve really enjoyed all of my experience so far with couch surfing, and I can’t wait for more.
Back before everything was covered under snow we were having a somewhat mild winter. At Brooklyn Bridge Park we climbed out over some rocks past the sign that said not to climb on the rocks. We assumed that was just a suggestion anyway. I liked the silhouettes of sunken detritus around small rock island. Birds were everywhere and people were scarce. It was a nice way to experience the sunset.
While trying to find the “perfect” shot of these smoke stacks, we took a wide route around the nearby blocks looking for any clearings to see them as the sun was rapidly setting behind. This is one of several shots I snapped from across Naval Square. It isn’t precisely what I was looking for, but some of the unintended elements in the foreground ended up working for me. The problem with having a specific idea of what you want a photo to look like is that it almost never turns out that way. You just have to make the best out of what you can get.
I think the Jefferson Memorial is one of the more overlooked of the major monuments in Washington, D.C. It sits a little farther away from the Mall, but the area around the tidal basin is gorgeous (even when there are no cherry blossoms in bloom.) It was freezing with the wind coming across the water, but the sunset was great and I caught this image as we hurried back to the car for warmth. The sky lit up perfectly after the sun dropped below the horizon and let these trees makes some really amazing dancing silhouettes.
Unless I plan to go somewhere to do outdoor activities, the winter will often keep me inside a lot of the time. It’s nice to get out even for just a little while each day for a walk if nothing else. After a nice day of watching movies inside, we came to Roosevelt Park for a walk around the pond at sunset. It’s a beautiful park and the frozen pond made the colors extend beyond the sky. We also got to watch a group of ducks hanging out and walking on the ice!
There are a few places in New Jersey where you can see the sun drop into the water at the end of the day. It’s a nice change since we live on the east coast and normally that’s reserved for California or the Gulf Coast. But since the bottom of the state is a peninsula we have the bay to our west. At East Point the sunset is arguably just as beautiful as some over the Pacific. The sun sets over Delaware and depending on the time of year there are horseshoe crabs lining the beach.
If this looks familiar it’s because it is the same shot from two days ago under snow. It’s also a little earlier in the day so the color is a little less warm. I had a nice walk around the snow-covered trails of the Maurice River Bluffs yesterday, enjoying the new world created by the snow. I like how similar, yet different, everything seems, which is why I chose to share this photo so soon after the other one. There’s always another way to see something; it can be a place or a situation.
The Cleveland waterfront is a great place for sunsets and a great place to find unexpected beauty without big crowds. At least that was the case in early Fall on a weekday. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was closed for the day and there were no sporting events drawing crowds to the area so I had the place mostly to myself to bike around the city, check out a couple of breweries, and enjoy the beautiful weather as the sun dropped into Lake Erie.
Just north of center city Philadelphia there is an abandoned hotel called the Divine Lorraine. While almost unassuming when you drive up Broad Street, avoiding pedestrians and careless Philly drivers, when you get a chance to stop and look at it you’ll wonder how you missed it in the first place. The building itself is magnificent, though the inside has been gutted and is covered in broken glass and graffiti from years of neglect and homeless inhabitation. From the roof, the views are incredible. At sunset the old sign looks over the new city like an elder over her village.
It’s hard to be creative when you’re comfortable. Any situation that requires some difficulty to figure can often yield the best art in my experience. Whether it be a relationship problem or a physical challenge, being outside the comfort zone makes you think outside the box, which is inherently creative. I think that kind of thinking really opens up channels that seem hard to access when one is at ease. This shot came out of a particularly stressful morning coupled with being stuck outside briefly in the cold. Not to over-explain, but I like the dead leaf reaching out toward the tree from which it fell. Never forget.
This is a beautiful sunset scene from the farmland of south Jersey. I am always caught by surprise when I catch something like this and I should really plan to go out to the farm areas for sunset more often. The huge sky and nice silhouettes are perfect for it. Yet another reminder that there is beauty all around if you look for it. I’m always hung up on the flatness of this part of the country since I crave mountains, but there are definitely upsides to it.
Some days you get to see the beauty that’s right in your backyard– almost literally this time. This park is right around the corner from where I live, and it also is right next to the house I grew up in. I spent a lot of time sledding down these hills, riding my bikes around the paths, and throwing rocks into the pond. Seeing this sunrise as I drove by for work so many years later, it felt like a whole different place altogether. Even if things don’t change, it’s the way we look at them that makes the difference.
Driving from Joshua Tree north through the Mojave National Preserve was one of my best accidental decisions. The sun setting over the large desert expanse behind the rows and rows of mountains was an experience I cannot recount through words. Being surrounded by nature of that scope is just a transcendent feeling. I pulled over and just kept looking around as the warm night breeze picked up. The rest of the drive would pitch dark with a sky full of stars and roads washed out from recent floods. Trying as it was, I’m glad I headed off the highways for the day to experience this place.