Breathtaking Sunset View from the Al Hada Cable Car




After seeing the Al Hada mountain road earlier today, aside from daydreaming of photographing this amazing landscape at night for some night shots, I was fantasizing about some drone shots of this mountainous place. I thought some 'looking down aerial shots' of the road snaking along the mountain would make awesome large prints. Except that I didn't have a drone (or will ever be allowed to use one here).

Read: Al Hada: Things To See When On the Mountain Road




    Al Hada Cable Car (aka Telefric/Taif Cable Car)

    Not quite a 'looking down' experience but the Al Hada Cable Car will give you a similar chance to capture high perspective images, and I'd say so much more since you will personally be having an amazing view of the mountains beyond and the roads that you would not see from the ground.

    While the Al Hada Mountain Road looked amazing during the morning to afternoon, the light at such time is harsh and not as beautiful as it is when the sun is nearing the horizon or during the golden hours.

    Sunset View from the Al Hada Cable Car

    Pre-sunset is the best time to ride the Al Hada Cable Car. Based on the photos' timestamps, our ride took around 45 minutes.

    Check out your weather app (or the Maghrib prayer time from the Muslim prayer app) to know the time the sun will be setting and plan your ride so you will be up there in time for the sunset, ideally 15 minutes before.























    The soft, warm light was just really breathtaking.





    Around this time, some parts of the mountain were 'lightly' reached by light and I had to up my ISO.

    Aside from the natural view, I was in a state of wonder how they built the whole thing. How safe it is. How many years it took to complete. (I did some googling for facts but it's been a while).







    Some mesh and cement spray for reinforcement.



    The Ramada Hotel still visible (top left)

    Alkur Amusement Resort

    One end of the cable car is just outside the Ramada Hotel, and the other lower end is at the Alkur Amusement Resort.







    The fee also includes the entry for the Alkur resort, and if you want to, you can get off the car and stay in the resort and even swim. Aside from we were not ready and did not bring any extra clothes, it was winter!








    By the time we reached the Alkur resort, the sun had completely set and it was starting to dim.







    The cable car operator.








    Dusk

    It was the day before our anniversary. How I wished my ex-girlfriend was with me during those fleeting, magical moments...

    Lights from the lamp post and the traffic starting to become more apparent and the rocks and mountains gradually fading into the dark.

    Taking photos got more challenging with the available light. Grains!



    Throughout Saudi Arabia, it is not uncommon to see parts of mountains, hills, or even sand dunes (less common) that are paved to make highways.





    At this point, you would just be more focused into staring at the disappearing remaining lights.

    The golden, warm light is gone. Goodbye golden hour, hello blue hour.

    Blue hour should be photographed with longer exposure (stationary, slow shutter), otherwise, you will either have blurry or grainy photos.

    This is one of those "fuck-the-camera-and-just-enjoy-the-real-thing" moments... after indulging with some more shots, of course.

















    The mountains soon would disappear into the darkness.

    Or not.

    Later that night, I went to photograph the highway light trails and experienced something in the dark that I will never forget.


    Travel buddies

    Thanks to the group of people the two of us know, I and another colleague were able to tag along and get to see and experience this part of Saudi Arabia.









    Conclusion


    Seeing the mountains from ground level (the road) or from the viewing areas of the Al Hada Mountain but riding the Telefric will give another level of excitement and literally new perspective. A must when visiting Taif or Al Hada.

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    Travel Period: January 2017
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