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Sunrise and Sunset at Hickory Knob

When was the last time you stopped to watch a sunrise or sunset?


As much as I love nature and consciously make space for it in my daily life, I have to admit that the most beautiful parts of the day usually escape me. It’s easy to miss them when I’m busy worrying about starting or ending the workday and rushing around trying to get things done.


During my recent artist’s residency, I had the rare opportunity to enjoy uninterrupted sunrises and sunsets, watching beautiful scenes like this unfold. It was such a gift to start and end each day with quiet reflection and observation on the docks or the shore of the lake.

Sunset at Hickory Knob State Park

For me personally, location has a lot to do with a sunrise or sunset’s power to grab my attention. When I lived out west where there were expansive mountain views around every corner, it was hard not to notice sunset and sunrise. Nearly every morning when I drove to work, I’d be stunned by a glorious display of color and clouds as the day’s first light poured over the front range.


But now I live in an area with lots of hardwood forest, where trees often block views of the sky and horizon. Even on clear days all I can see is a hint of pink or orange sky peeking out from behind the treetops. Unless I happen to be passing by a lake or a large clearing in the trees, it can be easy to forget that anything beautiful even happens when the sun rises or sets for the day.


With all its lake views, Hickory Knob State Park was a great place to watch sunrises and sunsets. What a nice change of pace to be able to enjoy clear views of the sky and horizon! I loved seeing the different shades of orange, pink, and violet reflected in the water.

Sunset at Hickory Knob State Park

Sunset at Hickory Knob State Park

Sunset at Hickory Knob State Park

Sunset at Hickory Knob State Park

Loved these exposed roots

Of course I couldn't resist taking close-up shots. No matter how beautiful the big picture is, there are always some interesting little details that catch my eye.

Tree branch silhouette at sunset

Bluebird silhouette
A little bluebird stopped by for a sweet silhouette


Osprey fly-by at dusk
Osprey fly-by at dusk

Something I love to do when I have time is to take the same shot at different times. It can yield some interesting comparisons.

Sunset at Hickory Knob State Park

Moments before a storm at Hickory Knob State Park
What a difference a day makes. Same view, but another night, moments before a downpour.

The majority of these photos are from sunset, as I tended to get distracted by all the bird and animal activity in the mornings. At sunrise, the colors tended to be a bit more muted. But I loved how that combined with the mist over the water to create a softer feeling in the photos.

Sunrise at Hickory Knob State Park

Sunrise at Hickory Knob State Park

And now that we're getting into afternoon thunderstorm season, I'm glad to have these photos to remind myself of how beautiful the light can be on a clear morning or evening. I'm already looking forward to when the weather cools down enough that I can head out and watch a sunrise or sunset again.



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