Winter is perhaps my favorite time in the Sacramento Valley. Not only do we have millions of waterfowl populating the valley floor, but there are also some of the most amazing sunsets to be seen. The flooded rice fields double the intensity of any sunset by creating perfect reflections (click on images to enlarge).
|Sunset reflected in rice fields west of Gridley (click to enlarge)|
I initially drove down to Live Oak and around the north side of the Sutter Buttes to see how flooded Butte Slough was. And though I found a good location, it was clearly posted, so I turned around and headed back toward Gray Lodge Wildlife Area and north toward the rice fields.
The Colusa Highway was still flooded from the storms of the previous week, but right at the end of the road I found a wonderful complex of rice fields right by the highway
Even before the sun set, clouds and the colors in the sky were very dramatic. And the still waters of the fields made for stunning reflections.
I also has a great view of the Sutter Buttes to the south, which made for several beautiful images.
But the most amazing part of the sunset was where the sun went down. Incredible colors that changed minute by minute. The colors lasted for nearly 20 minutes before finally fading away.
Days like this are what make photographing the Sacramento Valley worth it.