In Big Bend National Park there is a feature called The Window, which is an opening in the mountains surrounding Chisos Basin. The Window is on the west side of the basin so it is an interesting place for a sunset. There is also a hiking trail that takes you down to The Window if you don’t mind climbing over rocks and getting your feet wet. I set up on a high part of the trail for sunset on last Friday night in hopes of a nice sunset through the Window.
The Chisos Basin is sort of an oasis in the park as it is higher in the mountains and has trees and more wildlife than the surrounding desert. While waiting for sunset, I did almost walk up on a few deer that seemed to be very comfortable with humans. The deer looked at me occasionally but they spent most of their time foraging about 10 feet in front of me.
There was also a bird on a cactus that I thought was photogenic against the mountain backdrop.
The sky was a clear blue without a hope of clouds, so I knew that sunset would not be very spectacular. I did talk to several other people along the trail, took pictures for them and discussed various places to visit in the parks. Big Bend was quite busy this time of year as it is still cool and there are some flowers to see in places. Chisos Basin is a particularly happening place as there is a large campground, a lodge, a park store, and several trailheads near by.
As the sun dipped below the line of mountains near the window, I was able to start taking a few photos without shooting directly in to the sun. The image below is an HDR merge to get the bright sky and shadowed landscape in the same image.
As you can see, there are very few clouds to be found, but I did get some nice light across the landscape to the right. I think that by mid-summer, the sun should be setting in the window from this vantage point. I wish it wasn’t such a long drive for me.
After the sunset, the sky had tones of orange and a visible layer of dust as it was a very windy day. Below is a shot that silhouettes the mountains around the Window with the orange post-sunset sky in the distance.
If you are wondering what The Window looks like from the other side, below is a photo from the next afternoon taken from the Castolon Road. As you can see I had another day of clear skies on Saturday. I guess this is why it’s a desert.
After this I headed out to Sotol Vista for some sunset picture over the desert that I will feature in a coming blog post.
That’s The Window. Tell me what you think in the comments.