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Tenerife Teide Night #1

Underlit billowing cloud with Mount Teide in the background and the planet Venus in the sky. Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

The story behind this image

During the week that my wife Liz and I spent exploring Tenerife in the Canary Islands in February 2017 we enjoyed seeing some amazing scenery, mostly at high altitude in the Teide National Park.

We were staying in a resort on the south coast of the island, and at sea level the weather was nice enough, but with quite a bit of low level cloud that cut down on visibility and took the edge off the spectacular sunsets we were hoping to see.

Hence the excursions to the Teide National Park, with roads and viewpoints above the clouds at around 6,500ft, not to mention the huge 12,000ft high cone of the volcano Mount Teide which dominates this other-worldly landscape.

With a bit of forward planning, and the help of my Photographer's Ephemeris app, I worked out that a really good spot to watch the sunset from would be to the northeast of Mount Teide, and a good look at our map of the island led me to investigate the view from the Mirador de Chipeque viewpoint.

Wow! Was I in for a suprise when we pulled into the car park and got out to check out the scenery.

Looking out over a sea of roiling cloud, submerging the Forestal cloud pine forest below and with the summit of Mount Teide reaching up into a clear blue sky as the sun was starting to set in just the right place, I was struggling to come to terms with the raw beauty of what I was seeing.

But photographic discipline prevailed, and I got to work setting up my camera and tripod to record the 1000+ still frames I needed for my time lapse video of the sunset and ensuing dusk.

I spent the next couple of hours in a happy daze, making adjustments to my camera's exposure settings and just marvelling at the changing light as day gave way to night.

Towards the end of the shoot I noticed something strange happening.

The roiling sea of cloud, which earlier on had taken on the cool blue tones of the twilight sky above, was now turning slowly orange in patches in an extraordinary and quite beautiful lighting display.

I soon realised that the thin layer of cloud was being underlit by the orange toned lights of Puerto de la Cruz below, and as the sky above became darker the effect of the cloud lighting became more and more pronounced.

Eventually, with the sky now fully dark after the passing of astronomical twilight, I finished up shooting my time lapse sequence.

A myriad stars filled the sky, and with the planet Venus hanging like a single pearl in the cosmos to the side of the majestic peak of Mount Teide I knew I just had to capture this scene as a still image, to highest quality possible, before finally packing everything away and heading back down through the cloud to our resort.

So to that end I re-configured my camera and took four seperate images of the scene at a range of ISO values in order to fully capture the extremes of brightness between the brightly lit clouds below and the inky blackness of space above.

Processing the files in Adobe Lightroom and manually blending the seperate exposures in Photoshop gave me the tonality, colour and quality of image I was looking for.

Just looking at this constructed image brings that truly wonderful evening in that amazing location back to mind.

Image data

Filename - tenerife teide night 01.jpg

Camera - Canon 6D

Lens - 24-105mm zoom @ 24mm

Exposure - 15 secs @ f5.6, ISO 800, 1600, 3200 & 6400

Filters - None

Location - Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

This image - 800x450px JPEG

Conversion - Adobe Lightroom

Comments - Final image is a manual blend of different exposures