Golden Sunset

Amman, Jordan

Flocks of pigeons swirl in the orange sunset over Amman, Jordan.
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The sun was setting at the end of a long, hot day and I found myself at the Citadel, atop a one of the seven hills at the historic center of Amman, Jordan. The view at this high point was astounding. The Citadel has structures and ruins from several historic civilizations, dating from before the Ancient Romans built on this site at the center of the provincial capital city they called Philadelphia.

The sky was orange, silhouetting the hills with minarets rising over the apartment blocks, office buildings, and trees. Bird-keeping is a time-honored pastime in the middle east, and I was lucky enough to capture two flocks of pigeons returning to their roosts as the day ended.

The nearly unbelievable thing about this image is that this is exactly how the scene appeared to me in that spot at the time. I took a number of exposures, bracketing exposures and adjusting every combination of polarizer and neutral density filters. I was lucky, and one of my last attempts actually got what I saw. I even got lucky with the birds. (Nikon D200 with Nikon 18-200mm zoom at 200mm, ISO 100, f7.1, 1/180 sec. shutter, with both polarizer and ND4x filters.)

I wanted to stay in that spot until the sun was down. But the guards were beginning to shoo the tourists out of the citadel and my taxi driver was waiting ….