Sun Rising Behind Mount Hood: A 16-Year Journey

I used to go up to Rocky Butte often to watch the sunrise. One time I was up there and the sun rose very close to Mount Hood. That was February 11th, 2006. Ever since then I’ve wanted to try to capture the sun rising directly behind the mountain and to see the shadow that the mountain casts across Portland, Oregon. The difficulty is that the sun rises in a different spot each day of the year, and the time of year it rises in the right spot it’s normally overcast. Well today, I finally got the shot:

I love how the summit begins to appear inflamed as the sun shines through the snow being blown over the top. The photos were taken with a Google Pixel 6 Pro. There was another another photographer (San Seng Saechao) up there standing next to me who took this:

Here’s what I saw sixteen years ago that inspired me to keep coming back:

Sun rises to the south of Mount Hood as seen from Rocky Butte. The mountain casts a shadow to the north.

I took this photo with a Canon PowerShot SD110 way back before I had a smartphone—really before smartphones were even a thing. I just had a flip phone which could take a max resolution photo of 640×480 like this I took of the sunrise on Jan 9, 2009:

Sunrise over Willamette River on January 9th, 2009

I think this was taken over the Willamette River, but I can’t say for sure because naturally my flip phone camera didn’t do geotagging! (Nor did my PowerShot for that matter until I got Eye-Fi in 2010.) My old flip phone had a 0.3 megapixel camera and now my Pixel 6 Pro has a 50 megapixel camera: 166x better in 16 years.

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