Remember the day
There's something about a great sunset that adds extra memories to your special day.
Winter sunsets have their own unique qualities, too. Crisp temperatures clear the air, cloud formations get interesting, and there's plenty of snow and ice to reflect, and multiply, those glorious colors.
Whether it's a deliberate part of the day's plan, or a spontaneous desire to be at a certain place at a certain time, here's three great ways to get your own stunning sunset.
This is an adorable mountain.
Even the pokiest hiking party, like the ones with kids or on snowshoes, can get up and back in less than three hours. A clearly marked trail, only moderately steep in most sections, and an easy route to the summit and fire tower, adds up to a hike that is very enjoyable for the effort expended.
The elevation is 2,525 feet, with an ascent of 750 feet, and a distance of two miles.
This year, sunset on March 21st (the Spring Equinox, when the days and nights are of equal length) will be at 7:12 pm. It's easy to look up sunset, I did it this way: type "march 21 2017 sunset for tupper lake ny" in the search engine, and it will be calculated for you. You'll want to summit while there is still plenty of light to view the surrounding scenery, and watch the lowering light of the sun change all the angles in the forest and lakes around it.
Mount Arab is situated with water to the east and west, and a large wilderness area to the south. The 360-degree view from the fire tower makes for an incredible vista for picture taking at every step of full sun, twilight, and sunset itself. For best results, brace the camera on a steady object, or bring a small tripod. Low light means slow shutter speeds.
Of course, this plan has a cascade effect on your other plans: Plan for a late lunch and pack in your dinner, or perhaps a late dinner on the town will round out your plans. You will want to bring headlamps to get back safely after dark. You'll want to make sure you have enough layers to compensate for a sunset temperature drop. Hand warmers are always a good idea, too.
The advantage of a sunset peak experience, as opposed to a sunrise one, is that the hiking back part in the dark will be over a path already traveled. Bonus easy points: it is downhill. Add trekking poles, and you are well-equipped.
This locally famous spot is a very short drive from town. Everyone calls it Moody Bridge. The tricky part is that the old steel bridge isn't there any more, so you shouldn't go looking for it.
Head south along NYS Route 30 from the Village of Tupper Lake. There's three spots around the causeway for parking. Depending on what time you get there, you can also find it by seeing people already parked and getting their cameras ready.
The many Moody areas in Tupper Lake are named after the famous Moody family of river guides. The steel bridge (now gone) was constructed in 1894, and before that, this area had a bridge made of logs. At times of abundant rain, the carriages would cross with water up to their plank seats. "Uncle Mart" Moody was also the hotelier in the family; building, promoting, and selling them off.
This stretch has wonderful terrain advantages. It is where Big Simon Pond, Raquette Pond, and Tupper Lake (the lake) all meet. The parking spots offer a water view almost anywhere we turn. The bracelets of little islands around, and supporting, the road supply some nice nature touches for perspective and silhouette interest.
If you are planning an album of the trip, either online or as a printed gift, a distinctive sunset picture is almost required. If you have been disappointed with the difference between what your eyes saw and what came out of the camera, here's some expert tips:
- Think ahead - be there a half hour before to pick the right spots and take advantage of lighting changes
- Crop close - the sun is just half a degree across so try to make it, and its reflected light, a large part of the picture (don't look into the sun with the camera lens!)
- Add details - the outline of a tree, mountain, or person adds interest and shape to the image
- Change angles - putting the sunset off-center might get more of those beautiful cloud or snow reflections
Another tip, if you have a camera which gives access to this control, is to take the camera out of "Auto" under "White balance mode." While this is helpful in keeping fun sun pictures from washing out or losing color values, this setting can reduce the warm golds you want to see in your sunset picture. Pick ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’ settings instead, and see if that helps you take one of those "wow" shots you've been wanting to get.
Find more scenic drives with our blog post, Drive On Up!
Tupper Lake Municipal Park
There's mountain, there's water, there's... easy. Tupper Lake Municipal Park has a number of vantage points all along the shores of Raquette Pond.
This giant-sized park has a Waterfront Walkway, a gazebo, a pavilion, and two covered fishing overlooks. This adds up to an amazing number of possibilities. There's restrooms and plenty of parking. There's a whole album that could be taken here, and the facilities to do it without extra equipment or winter hiking gear.
Another advantage is the streetlights in Tupper Lake, which are of a sensitive design which does not wash out the night sky. This benefits the Adirondack Public Observatory, and it also helps anyone taking sunset pictures.
You start with an "unfair sunset advantage" anyway. You are in the Adirondacks. We have the forest air, the mountain ranges, the glacier-dug lakes, the crystalline snow, and the people who love all these so much they have created wonderful ways for you to enjoy it.
Even when the sun goes down on a great day; the thrill doesn't go away. It simply shifts gears. You can sigh with the beauty of it, and then turn to a wonderful meal, live music, and fresh-brewed beer. Kind of the way the lumberjacks used to.
Or wished they did.
Find out more about these natural lighting advantages with our blog, Extreme stargazing.
frosted sunset -- Adirondack Daily Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley