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The Sunset After the Storm

Grand Teton Sunset Panorama ©Lynne Buchanan
All Rights Reserved, Watermarked by Digimarc

My trip across the country has been amazing so far and each day I am filled with so much gratitude.  I know I have witnessed problems such as droughts, floods, the aftermath of fires and the like, yet despite the evidence of cataclysmic climate change that I have witnessed there is still such a strong positive life force apparent throughout this beautiful earth.  Since one of my primary objectives during this trip has been to photograph nature, I have witnessed countless sunrises and sunsets, each of which is different and  miraculous in its own right .    Last night I was fortunate enough to see this beautiful sunset before I ate dinner at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park.  

The day had started out beautifully in Yellowstone, but as soon as my friend Tom and I arrived in the Tetons we saw storm clouds begin to form.  I dropped Tom at the airport and managed to get in a short hike to Taggart Lake before the rain came.  The craggy rocks and ominous storm clouds looming created such a sense of austerity and foreboding .  I watched the sky darken and stayed at the glacial lake until I thought it was no longer safe.  As soon as I got back to the car, the rain began to fall...

Taggart Lake Before the Storm ©Lynne Buchanan

I went and checked into my room, only to discover all the restaurants had already closed at Colter Bay Village for the season.  I drove back to Jackson Lake Lodge.   The rain stopped the moment I arrived, so I walked out back and was fortunate enough to witness an amazing sunset with glorious colors and ominous clouds all in one scene.  Both the dark and the light were equally important.  It was too expansive to fit in the frame of my camera, even with a wide angle lens, so I decided to take three photographs and stitch them together.  

God rays were emanating up from the horizon, instead of pointing downwards as they usually do, and the contrast of the suns rays against the dark clouds was extremely powerful.  It was electric and so much more intense precisely because of the gnarly weather that had preceded it. I had the realization that life is not comprised of only sunny days and sometimes what life throws our way is more stark and uncomfortable.  There are dark periods that we have to endure before the light comes, and it is the contrast that makes our good fortune, when it arrives, that much more sacred.