Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunset Over The Klondike

I Found Pure Gold - In The Dawson City Sky

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


On my first full day in Dawson City, Margaret Goodwin of Yukon Tourism suggested that I might enjoy a trip up to The Dome, the highest point above the historic gold rush city.

We got up to the top of Midnight Dome Road just as the sun began its descent into a sky daubed generously with clouds that instantly became a pool of contrasting colours. I stepped out of the car and began shooting immediately.

Right through my Yukon trip, I used two cameras, a Pentax K200D with my 70-300mm Sigma lens, and a Pentax K100D with my 18-125 Sigma lens.


Accustomed to the rapid disappearance of the sun in Australia, I quickly shot more than 30 frames with the long lens - with interesting consequences, as I’ll tell you shortly. Every other photographer and tourist was atop The Dome, but I chose to shoot from the car park area, because I was able to use silhouettes of the surrounding foliage.

With the sun almost at its zenith, I decided it was the perfect time to scramble up to the very peak of The Dome and start shooting with my other lens. I’m a pretty fit bloke, but I noticed I was breathing a bit heavier than usual when I joined the others up the top.

That’s when Margaret, an Australian-born Yukon resident, asked me if I’d noticed how long the sunset was taking, compared with Australian evenings.


That’s when it occurred to me. The reason I was puffing was so simple. Because I never use a tripod, I always tend to hold my breath if I’m using my 300mm lens, especially when the exposure time is slightly longer in low light.

This helps me hold the camera steadier, because the centre of gravity while using a long lens is further away from your body when using a standard lens. It's a simple yet practical method, even when using the camera's built-in shake-reduction option.

Because I’d spent almost 15 minutes shooting with the long lens at the car park level, I hadn’t really been breathing normally for a while - hence the lungs were working a bit harder!

Interestingly enough, when the sun had finally disappeared from sight, the light on the surrounding hills took on an immediate and distinct bluish hue, so I had to get this final view of the sky, the hills and the shimmering Klondike River far below.


I thought I was finished for the day - but just when you think that you’re done, another stunning view always presents itself. Just before I got back into the car, I shot two final frames that can be seen at Spruced Up.

Just one of those (many) days in the Yukon, where the sights are (literally) breath-taking!

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

48 comments:

Hilary said...

Wow, beautiful. True Yukon gold.

Jo said...

Gorgeous! I have seen those very same skies over northern British Columbia and Alaska. It's magificent country, isn't it?

Moannie said...

I wonder if the picture is there for you or if you are there for the picture...what I mean is you see magic everywhere...I guess we can all see it in a sunset but you see it a...a...bicycle...a fire hydrant...probably in a plastic bag. I'm all fired up David, you and Merisi and all those wonderful pic posts. I'm out with my fuji ordinaire and clicking away. Watch my space I'm on my way...well, soon.

Jules~ said...

Wow that really does look like liquid gold.
I wonder too if the elevation difference had anything to do with your breathing. Even though I hike around here all the time, I sure felt a difference a few years ago when we were in Yellowstone.

Akelamalu said...

Oh my those shots are just so beautiful! :0

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

my gosh David, these are fabulous..the last one, has 'magical' qualities indeed, as moannie says...the composition is amazing..thank you!!

Sandra Ree said...

Oh... so gorgeous!

leslie said...

Liquid gold indeed! You inspire me to travel around my own country instead of for thousands of miles to elsewhere. I have always wanted to drive the Dempster Hwy but hesitate to go alone. Anyone????

Daryl said...

Too bad you cant get FF miles for all the photos you took while away ... ;-)

:-Daryl

Abraham Lincoln said...

These are stunning views, David. I suspect even more spectacular in person.

My Sky Watch Friday blog is at my Canon Pixels blog. If you have time I would appreciate your having a look at the sky peeking through the oak tree leaves.

SandyCarlson said...

I have never seen gold so pure, David!

Photo Cache said...

Yap golden opportunity yields this gloriously golden images. Love them.

CrazyCath said...

Oh wow wow. Sunsets to die for. Or at the least, get breathless for. Love that last shot. They are all gold.
I have another site too so you can find my sky watch at the usual site and a second skywatch on my new site called Cath's Cradle.
Please come see if you get time.

John said...

Cool photos David! Almost got to my standard there! lol

(He typed that himself and is cheeky! Now it is time for bed young man! - Mum)

Lapa37 said...

It really does look like the sky is gold great photos.

willow said...

Marvelous golden skies!!!

Rose said...

Wow! These are gold!

Craver Vii said...

**gasp**

womaninawindow said...

Gorgeous. Nothing beats being outside and just letting beauty present itself.

San said...

David, these were worth the wait. In gold.

scrappysue said...

wow. just wow. love the yellows. breath-taking

Annie said...

Wonderful photos, David. Amazing!

I have some lovely Melbourne skies on the computer here, but cant seem to get them on my blog yet...will keep trying!

Annie

RiverPoet said...

Oh yeah, what Hilary said - Yukon gold! Bet you didn't think you'd strike gold while you were there, did you?

Peace - D

esnorway said...

beautiul pics and good reading to. have nice weekend

reluctantfarmchik said...

Your sky is golden. Stunning.

Gretchen said...

Unbelievably gorgeous!!!

Eddie D. said...

Those photos have some color, color like I've never seen. Awesome!

babooshka said...

A range of colours alas I will never get here. Astonishing. I used to steer clear of sigma lenses, but between you and Abe I'm seeing them in a new light. They really seem to have a sharper edge these days.

Gramma L said...

Wow, amazing sunset!

PJ said...

Thanks for the photography lesson and the beautiful photographs. You're very upbeat and I like that.

To see my SWF posts
Fly here
and
here

Woody said...

Great Photos..Happy SWF

Tommy V said...

wonderful and love the color

Enigma said...

You struck gold, alright! Incredibly rich photos. Thank you for sahring.

Mary Hughes Studio said...

Incredible color!!!!

Louise said...

I love the gold here. Not the most common of sunset colors, and I know you don't alter pictures, so it's what was there. The whole huffing and puffing thing is too funny. My husband and daughter both do it--unwittingly--for all kinds of things. And like you, they wonder why they're out of breath.

angie said...

Your photographs are amazing and your prose is so readable as well. Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to returning.

Vic Grace said...

Really enjoyed your photographs of your trip

Maggie May said...

Thought all the photos were really beautiful. Like liquid gold!

Jules said...

That depth of yellow is so unusual in a sunset. So interesting and of course, as usual, well captured!!!!

vincibene said...

WOW! Gorgeous pictures! So golden!

Tina said...

hey david!

the yellow skies are amazing. such rare and spectacular site. great shots

my very first swf is posted. love you to stop by :)

http://www.mummydiariesblog.com/2008/09/sky-watch-friday.html

i beati said...

Your Klondike Yukon adventures are so picturesque- when is your next trip??

Arija said...

David, your blog is a dear delight.Your pics, angles of view and general vision a joy to my soul, as is your humour and wit. So, when can I expect that novel? I have not much time left , and , being selfish would dearly like to read it befor I go. Just start writing. Jot thins down while waiting for the lights to change, or anywhere there are moments of waiting, I bet you two bob to Murphy's cow it will take over by itself before you know it. The worst regret in life is 'íf only I had'....Good luck

Old Wom Tigley said...

18 Carat pictures for a 24 carat guy.... :O)
Execellent pictures and some simple yet very worth while advice there.

fishing guy said...

David: Sorry I'm late dropping by, I was a little under the weather. Your golden Skies are quite beautiful.

becky voyles said...

Beautiful shots as always, David.

Misty Dawn said...

Now that is gold if I've ever seen gold! WOW!!! You were certainly a 'rich man' to see this golden sunset David.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Beautiful! I love the first and the last!