Today I went on a hike at sunset and took a couple of pictures just as the sun had dropped below the horizon. There’s something magical about this time of the day. It makes taking a hike just that much more beautiful when you can witness the sunset colors in the sky.
Sunrise and sunset hikes are my favorite because of how the colors light up the sky, clouds, and nature. I can take some amazing photos, stop and take in the beauty, and sometimes I feel amazing.
In this article, we’ll explore what makes these hikes my favorite and why you might want to do more of these hikes yourself. Using your smartphone, you can take some awesome photos to share with friends and family.
Are Early Morning Hikes Worth It?
Does the early bird get the worm? Sometimes. Morning hikes give you the opportunity to get your morning off to a good start. When you are up before sunrise, you may be feeling sleepy, but as your body warms up and your heartbeat quickens, you’ll be able to enjoy the rising of the sun.
Most people out this early are in their cars, off to work, but get to enjoy the tranquility that comes as you see nature wake up. You may start hearing birds beginning to sing and then the sun.
Depending on the morning, your sunrise will be enjoyable or awesome. I suggest taking some time to stop your hike and enjoy just sitting and watching as the sun peaks over the plains, hills, or mountains where you live. Take some deep breaths and enjoy.
Why are morning hikes nice?
- Sometimes, it will be nice, and other times, you’ll have those special moments where you’ll say to yourself, “This is what life is all about,” because the experience is that good. That’s when getting up early is definitely worth it.
- Either because of the beauty or the endorphins you feel when hiking, sometimes early morning hikes put you in a good mood. It’s like when I sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” I sometimes imagine seeing the flag in the dawn and how that represents freedom, and then I can feel gratitude for how lucky I am.
- Another reason sunrise hikes are nice is the peace of having the trail all to yourself, or at least most of the time. Sometimes, I’m at the trailhead and I can’t hear anything; that stillness is worth it just by itself. It can clear the mind of worry and stress.
If you do go on a sunrise hike soon, plan for a nice time and hope for a great one.
Are Sunset Hikes Worth It?
You’re tired and ready to relax for the rest of the day, or maybe you have a lot left to get done. Is the evening the best time for a hike?
Maybe this is just what you need to put things into perspective from time to time? As the sun sets, the view of the world in a different, more beautiful way can transform your state of mind.
It’s a nice time to sit, relax, and slow down and let the world go at it’s fast pace while you take a moment and push the pause button. The warm colors of sunset will help you get into the mood of seeing things just a little different.
Whether you’re on a mountaintop, hiking, or sitting in the woods watching the sun set through the trees, an evening hike can have a wonderful way of turning an ordinary walk into an exceptional moment.
At the end of the day, life is about experiences, and hiking and watching a sunset is one of the healthiest experiences we can have.
Photo Tips for Sunrise and Sunset Hikes
It’s not hard to take good photos with your smart phone outside in the light, but sometimes a sunrise and sunset can use a bit of adjustment to get them just right. Here are a few tips to get started:
Stay a Bit Longer: When I took the photo above, I waited a little while after the sun had set to see what kind of photo I could get. Sometimes, you can get a nice picture. Unfortunately, in this picture, my hand wasn’t steady enough to get a clear picture.
Use HDR Mode: Many phones come with an HDR mode that can take multiple pictures and combine them together to get a dynamic range of light. On my phone, you need to click the yellow icon and touch the layer icon to enable my HDR.
Adjust Exposure Manually: On my phone, all I have to do to adjust the exposure is tap above or below the horizon. I can also slide my finger up or down to get just the right amount of light for the photo I want.
Keep it Steady: Sometimes with low light, blurring can occur. The camera takes just a little longer to take a picture, which means any hand movement will cause blurring. Using two hands, placing the phone on a steady base, or sitting down are some options I use.
Silhouette Shots: Here’s a pretend photo of a hiker. You can achieve a similar effect by adjusting the exposure by touching above or below the horizon. You’ll need to place the person in front of the sun to create various levels of silhouette.
Rule of Thirds: Pretend there are three sections on your screen and place the subject of the photo in one of those areas. Some phones have grid lines to help you align subjects. Experimenting with various angles and divisions can help you get a great shot.
Experiment with Filters: Many camera apps and editing tools offer filters that can give you the artistic look that you are looking for. Check your phone’s filters for some fun shots.
- Take Multiple Shots: I sometimes take too many photos, but I’m almost always glad I do. I often get better pictures than others I’m with just because I experiment and take more pictures.
- Edit with Care: My photos are saved to Google Photos. I use their enhance photo feature. This makes almost all of my photos look better.
- Share: Sharing your photos can be a great way to help encourage you to go on more hikes and have more fun taking awesome-looking pictures.
At the end of the day, hiking is a great way to get some exercise and feel closer to nature. You can benefit from enhanced mood and share all your great experiences with others through your sunset/sunrise photos.
I think you will enjoy sunrise and sunset hikes just as much as I do. Nature isn’t always friendly, but you can’t go wrong with the beautiful scenes that the sun provides each day. Be careful if it is dark and bring your headlamp to prevent stumbling.
The tranquility of these hikes can have a calming effect on you and are definitely worth it as often as you feel like it.
So, whether it’s early or late, make your next hike a sunrise or sunset hike and see how you like it. Maybe you’ll capture a stunning photo that you can share and get more motivation to get out and hike and enjoy the health benefits that come from hiking more often.