Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter in the Pacific Northwest: Extra Spectacular Sunsets

When was the last time you couldn't tear yourself away from a sunset?

After missing two gorgeous sunsets in a row here in Seattle, I went to Golden Gardens to shoot the last in a string of bluebird day sunsets. A front was already on its way, so I had to carpe diem. This is February in the Northwest after all.

Winter sunsets on clear days in the Puget Sound region are especially gorgeous.  The sun sets farther south on the horizon, behind the jagged outline of the Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound.

When clouds lay low behind the mountains and clear skies with wispy clouds rise above, the effect is especially aaah-worthy.

On this evening, I arrive about 20 minutes before sunset.  Sailboats on the Sound are getting good breeze, people are playing on the beach, couples are huddled together watching the sun sink, and even a few seals are frolicking just offshore.

After sneaking about a half dozen shots of the couple sharing the blanket, I hear my name when I walk in front of them to the beach.  Ha, someone I know! I love that my big city still feels like a small town. They offer me some of their wine/cheese/fruit, which is a perfectly romantic way to watch a sunset.  

 By now the sun has set and the colors in the sky are starting to heat up.

But the display is just cranking up.  Behind the mountains is a cool backlighting behind the clouds.

By now perhaps you've figured out this blog post is mostly an excuse to throw up a bunch of photos because this sunset just screams for it. No post processing or playing with exposure and color saturation on any of these shots. 

All for reals.

It's hard to tear myself away and stop shooting to just observe the glory happening in front of me, across the Sound.  I take little breaks, but soon the camera is back in front of my face and I'm snapping more photos.

Within another 10 minutes the color starts diminishing, first in the higher clouds, and darkness starts to predominate.

A few of the infamous Golden Gardens beach bonfires are burning bright when I finally take leave, exhilarated.

I never tire of a beautiful sunset. Have you seen a memorable sunset recently?

Happy trail and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons! We're on FaceBook, Instagram, and Twitter as well, so check in for more Northwest images between blog posts.

When You Go
There are many excellent places to watch the sunset from the east side of Puget Sound.  If you're not one of those lucky enough to have waterfront views, some great Seattle area places are Alki Beach in West Seattle, the bluff along Magnolia Boulevard in the Magnolia neighborhood just north of downtown and due west of Queen Ann, Golden Gardens as mentioned above, Carkeek Park in northwest Seattle, and if you're extravagant, atop the Space Needle or while riding a ferry across Puget Sound.

Where are your favorite sunset viewing spots?


JoJo said...

Boy do I miss the PNW and the Olympic Mtns. I loved the Cascades too but the Olys are so craggy. I saw the sunset pics from last week on FB - both KOMO and KIRO were posting them. And here all we have is snow and more snow.

Anne said...

The most incredible sunset ever was last summer when I stepped outside my front door and all I saw was the most vivid pink all over the sky. My first instantaneous thought was that Seattle was one fire. Then I realized that, well, Seattle is mostly cement. So I began to walk to a better viewpoint than my front door and realized that most of my neighbors were outside on their decks watching it as well. It lasted for such a long time, too, I don't ever expect to see something like that again. And yes the sunsets earlier this week were tremendous over the Olympics!

jill said...

Thanks for the comment JoJo. Yes, this was one of the sunsets mentioned on KOMO and KIRO. Glad I can give you a little vicarious visit to the PNW now and then! Stay warm.

Hey Anne, thanks. I remember you telling me about that sunset. I didn't catch it either but just saw some of the sky too.

Lesley said...

Gorgeous photos -- thanks for sharing these. Amazing that they are unedited too! Unfortunately, we just don't get many dramatic sunsets here in eastern Washington.

Sallie said...


Ron Mitchell said...


alpine lily said...

Ahhhh, so lovely. We have been spoiled this winter! There is a special place in my heart for Golden Gardens- I got married there. :) Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos!