Sundown over Granada

A Night on the Mountain

I’ve been meaning to spend a night on the mountain for a while now, but the twin realities of freezing temperatures and the prospect of a five mile hike with a ton of extra camping kit have prevented me. Until this week. The weather being clement and snow still to be found up high, it seemed like a good plan to go for it.

The Trip

We ( I went with my friends Richard Hartley and Kiersten from Spanish Highs) arrived around 6:30pm, and were in position with tents pitched and cameras ready by 7pm. Much easier than the trip to Mulhacen! It was still warm and I got some pictures of the Sierra Nevada in the golden glow of imminent sundown.

Evening Sun on the Ski Station at Sierra Nevada
Golden Hour at the Sierra Nevada Ski Station

This was about a mile away from the camera as the crow flies, so I was pleased, even with a tripod, that my 70-200mm lens got so much detail. A little help from DxO PureRAW to make this RAW file as good as technically possible before editing.

A Night on the Mountain - Moonrise and Sunset,Sierra Nevada
Moonrise and Sunset, Sierra Nevada

As the sun went down I grabbed the obligatory shot of the tent – can you spot the moon? This was taken with a 16-35mm lens to get the foreground and sky in, the moon is small but sharp!

The best was yet to come, I woke around 2am to find the tent was making a bit of a noise, I zipped up the entrance and it seemed to calm down, but when I woke up again around 3:30am the noise was back with a vengeance, I thought I’d better check it out and clambered out into the teeth of a stiffening 20mph breeze! By 6am we were looking at gusts around 35mph and I was seriously concerned that the tent would soon become an expensive kite, and the others were in the same boat!

Well, the tent stayed firm, just about, and with help from Richard & Kiersten I dismantled it and packed it all away. Actually under the circumstances I was impressed with the tent, a MSR Hubba NX. Loads of headroom, exactly the right size and weight for me and my kit. Recommended.

Sunrise striking Veleta, Sierra Nevada
Sunrise on the Veleta

The dawn was fantastic on the mountain, streaks of warm sunlight catching various ridges and slopes. Absolutely stunning.

Once the sun had risen a little, it began to light up the hills in the Granada direction and over the course of an hour, I took various pictures, both of the Sierra Nevada and the view towards Granada itself.

Dawn over Granada
Dawn in the Sierra Nevada

I think the expedition was a great success all things considered. I slept most of the day after I got home, so that crazy wind had a lot to answer for!

Photography Notes

Camera and Lenses

Kit was my usual setup of Canon 5Ds, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II, Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II and Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II.


Feisol CCT-3342 with Acratech Panoramic Head and Levelling base.

A note about tripods – if you want to get sharp photographs of distant objects, there is no choice but to use a tripod and a proper, rock solid head. I’ll be releasing a video series soon on my YouTube channel about Sharpness featuring convincing proof of this.

Camera Bag

I used my F-Stop Tilopa 50L DuraDiamond back pack for the trip – I always use this for camping as it is deceptively large and very comfortable.


All images were preprocessed with DxO PureRAW 4 and finished in Adobe Lightroom.

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