Arizona Golden Hour
Writer Grace Hill
Photographers Karen Raahauge and Cheyenne L. Rouse
When people think of Phoenix, they don’t think of green pastures or of golden prairies. They definitely don’t think of white winters or of blue ocean views. While the Valley doesn’t showcase those specific views of color, it does provide shockingly vibrant colors in a different way: in the Arizona sky.
Arizona sunsets are some of the most beautiful in the world. With the rainbow of colors contrasted against the monochromatic desert, viewers get to watch nature create a masterpiece that bursts forth from the heavens above.
No matter where you are in the Valley, this view will take your breath away. Of course, there are certain spots that provide the best views of these amazing sunsets. Whether you’re a lover of outdoor adventure or a supporter of all things indoor, there’s a special place for you to enjoy nature’s brushstrokes in the sky — a place during Arizona’s Golden Hour.
You know this kind of person just by looking at them. These individuals just can’t wait to be outside. From rock climbing to bungee jumping, their bucket list includes as many outdoor adventures as possible. Their best sleep happens while camping in the middle of nowhere, and they feel most at peace standing on the edge of a cliff, looking out into the great wide world. For them, nature is not something that surrounds them so much as it is a part of them.
Because they have already witnessed many sunsets from many different vantage points, finding a new place might be a challenge. Go Paddle AZ’s full moon campfire paddle tour might be exactly what they need. Departing from Pleasant Harbor Marina, kayakers will paddle towards Honeymoon Cove. As they do so, they’ll head right into the sunset.
Nature’s Calm Admirer
There are those who still enjoy the outdoors, but like to sweat less and observe more. They find the slower pace of walking on the beach or lying in a hammock under the stars a perfect way to spend an evening outside. To them, the peace that nature provides is much more appealing than the adrenaline rush it provides for the outdoor enthusiast.
A sunset music cruise on Lake Pleasant makes for the ideal experience for this type of person. The two-hour cruise delivers a top-notch experience by presenting music by Valley artists of different genres. What could be more relaxing than listening to good music while enjoying delicious adult beverages under a magnificent sunset?
Indoor Only Please
Whether they stay indoors all year long or just during the summer months, these individuals would rather enjoy the view away from heat, bugs, sweat and any other less than pleasant aspect of outdoor life. Thankfully, there are countless places that provide optimal sunset views in a more secluded (and air-conditioned) location.
You just can’t beat the view found in the Compass Arizona Grill. As Arizona’s only revolving rooftop restaurant, it’s become a prime spot for not only admiring the sunset, but also taking a 360-degree look at the Valley. For those looking to observe the sunset without any obstructions while staying indoors, this location beats all others.
These are just a few places that provide spectacular views of our beautiful Arizona sunsets. Try one or try them all. You won’t regret it — we promise!
Share your sunset photographs with our Images Arizona Facebook or Instagram pages using the hashtags #iamAZproud and #imagesAZ.
Hometown: I grew up in the Dallas, TX area, but lived most of my adult life in Denmark.
Current Residence: Northeast Mesa, AZ.
Photography experience: “I’ve been interested in photography for a long time, but didn’t start taking it seriously until we moved to Arizona a few years ago. I was completely captivated by the beauty all around me, and I have a natural love for the outdoors, so being able to combine that and capture how a particular moment makes me feel, has become an ever-evolving goal.”
Your advice on photographing sunsets: “I’m always looking for clouds, since the sky can be a bit dull without them. Sunsets during the monsoon are the best in my opinion, especially after a day of rain. And try to stick around 20-30 minutes after the sun sets. A lot of times, the sky really lights up then and gives you a show.”
Favorite Arizona sunset location:“We live just a few minutes from the Tonto National Forest, the Lower Salt River and Usery Mountain Regional Park, so those are my go-to spots. I would say the Wind Cave Trail in Usery has some of the most expansive, stunning sunset views in the Valley.”
Your thoughts on digital retouching: “I feel some editing (in landscape/nature photography) is necessary at times in order to convey what the eye can see. Our eyes are capable of perceiving colors and tones that no electronic device can even come close to. My objective is to share how I see a particular moment, and how it makes me feel.”
Cheyenne L. Rouse
Hometown: Miami, FL
Current Residence: New River, AZ
Photography experience: “As a professional photographer since 1989, I spent 20 years shooting adventure sports photos for stock photo industry. I owned Ancient Light Gallery in Old Town Scottsdale from 2010 to 2012, then decided to take my show on the road. I now travel the West doing over 45 art shows and festivals each year, selling my fine art photographs.”
Your advice on photographing sunsets: “Just be there. Get out of the house when the clouds and light look like they are going to put on a show and shoot, shoot, shoot.”
Favorite Arizona sunset location: “Depends on the season, but I love the quiet places with not many people around: Bartlett Lake, Cave Creek, Lost Dutchman and my quiet New River neighborhood.”
Your thoughts on digital retouching: “I think whatever you have to do to make your vision come to life in your photograph you should do it. I tell people when they come into my booth at my shows that they are not only looking at a photograph but a moment in time that spoke to my soul. They are seeing exactly what I saw and how I was feeling when I shot that photograph. That is the art of photography. Photography is an art, and the art is being able to express your passion for what you are photographing through your photograph.”