The light at Mission Peak was amazing this afternoon.

In honor of my previous post linking to my first-ever Mission Peak summit, I decided to head up there again this afternoon. Oddly enough, after days and days of storms and other climactic obnoxiousness, the skies cleared up and revealed the absolutely best time to shoot the peak — late in the afternoon, in winter (it’s apt to be too hot and dry the rest of the year). The sun dipping in the western sky does a wonderful job of lighting up the peak’s west face.

Won’t be much need for hiking descriptions — I did the basic Stanford Avenue route to the top, though I did go around to the back side, which yielded excellent views of the snowy high country in the Diablo Range around Rose Peak.

The pix:

Blue sky, finally

Try this in the morning and the background gets all blown out.

Tree and sky

You know my thing with trees. I think this one’s alive, though.

Snow in the Diablo Range

I took the back way primarily because I’ve been sitting on my arse too much of late and getting a bit out of shape, and felt a bit too tired to take the direct route to the peak. The view on the back side was very nice.

Traces of snow

Even a bit of snow on the shady side of the peak.

From the summit

More great views from the summit.

Summit post

The Summit Post, with Mount Diablo far in the distance.

Summit post, again

My favorite shot of the day.

Greens coming back already

Note the date: Jan. 28. Hard to believe how much green there is already.

Colored rocks

I’ve passed these rocks dozens of times and never noticed the colors before — mainly because I’d never been this way with this light.

Cow, setting sun

Unwritten rule: cows must be included in Mission Peak photo essays. Well, I guess it’s written now.

Same tree from earlier

That same tree on the way back down.

Nothing profound about this outing, though I am beginning to see why the better photographers often return to the same settings — the more you see of a place, the more you see subtleties missed on previous visits. Even works for a hack like yours truly.