Photographing a sunset isn’t difficult. A 4-year-old with a smartphone can accidentally take a decent photo. But capturing a great sunset image, with the right lighting, composition and color can challenge even skilled photographers. And sometimes, talent isn’t enough — it takes a bit of luck, too, such as clear skies and the right location. The following photographers definitely got most everything right with these stunning sunset images from some U.S. national parks.
10. Purple Haze
The famous purple haze of the aptly named Smoky Mountains provides a surreal contrast to this fiery sunset. Tim Lumley took this photo at Morton Overlook off Highway 441, one of the most popular sunset-gazing sites in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
9. Storm Warning
Saguaro National Park’s cacti appear to be easy targets for jagged lightning during a storm just after sunset.
8. Silhouette Soldier
The Sun silhouettes the monument to the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade at Gettysburg National Military Park.
7. Light’s On
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park is one of the most popular spots in the entire National Park Service system to photograph a sunset.
6. Sunset Drive
Night falls along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The road drew more than 15 million visitors in 2016, making it the second-most-visited national park site (Golden Gate National Recreation Area had 15.6 million visitors).
5. Steam Dream
A sunset highlights steam vents in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin.
4. Golden Arch
The sun’s rays flare around Delicate Arch in Utah’s Arches National Park.
3. Peak Sun
The Sun drops behind Lassen Peak in Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California. Mount Lassen last erupted in 1917; Mount St. Helens was the only other volcano in the contiguous U.S. to erupt in the 20th century.
2. Light and Dark
Enormous dunes in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park are bathed in light and shadow at sunset.
1. Ice and Fire
Jay Huang captured this spectacular image at the Reverse Tunnel Viewpoint in Yosemite National Park. The frozen waterfall at left provides a sharp contrast to the fiery Horsetail Fall on El Capitan at right. The famous firefall happens only a couple of weeks each February. The day must have been warm enough to melt snow to fuel the 2,000-foot falls, and clear skies are required, for the sunset to reflect off the rock and set the water ablaze in color.