Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

Posts Tagged ‘clouds

Anniversary of a Dramatic Sunset

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One year ago today I created what may be the most dramatic sunset photographs I’ve ever made.

We were staying at a bed and breakfast northeast of Tucson, Arizona, at the home of a couple that had some land. Therefore, I had some open views of the surrounding landscape, which includes the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Saguaro cactus plants are a mainstay of the Sonoran Desert though they tend to do best on steep, rocky slopes.

Our hosts had a number of tall saguaros and I walked around their property looking for a suitable one to use to frame my images.

There was a cloud cover that was, fortunately for me, moving on. Ken said those clouds would yield a nice red sunset.

He proved to be right. The skies to the west were clear, but the edge of the cloud cover was still overhead.

That was key because it is not the sun itself but the reflection of light from the setting sun that creates the spectacular and dramatic colors that give a sunset its stark beauty.

From a scientific perspective, what we see  are light rays reflecting and then scattering after hitting particles of dust, water droplets and ice crystals.

Scientists say that the colors produced by light depend on how far it has to travel and at sunset that path is farther than it is in the middle of the day.

In short, what we are seeing is a filtering effect. Colors tend to be more vivid in skies that are dry, clean and contain smaller particles. This image was made in October when the air tends to be drier and cleaner.

From a photography standpoint, I’ve noticed that getting good sunset images takes patience as well as the ability to react quickly.

The dramatic colors of sunset don’t last long. They can peak and be gone in a matter of minutes. Maybe it is my imagination, but they seem to vanish much faster than they appeared.

But that’s probably a result of the run-up time to the sunset, which is often going to be long as you have to get in position for nature’s show and then wait for it.

And what a show nature can put on when conditions are right.

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Cactus and Sunset

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The sun will soon be going down over the Santa Catalina Mountains that surround Tucson, Arizona, and the host of the bed and breakfast where we were staying has indicated that it should produce a spectacular sunset.

That will occur in a few minutes, but in the meantime, I’m trying out some other angles to capture the last of the sun on this splendid October day.

This three-image sequence works with two separate saguaro cactus plants to show the progression of the sunset.

I was fortunate to have the edge of a cloud cover that moved on at the right time. It would be the presence of those clouds that would make this sunset so dramatic.

Tracks to the Sun

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We were staying at a bed and breakfast in Tucson, Arizona, that is operated by a guy who has passion for trains.

He and his wife own an expansive piece of property and Ken has placed a garden railway on it.

The tracks thread their way over the desert floor around cactus and other plants.

The sun will be setting soon and the rails appear to be beckoning travelers to take a journey toward the sunset.

Anchors Aweigh

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The original lighthouse in Vermilion, Ohio, on the shore of Lake Erie was razed years ago, but the town has built a replica.

The lighthouse stands in front of what was a museum, complete with a ship’s anchor on the lawn.

Both were standing watch over the lake during a recent visit that I made.

Playing Dodge Ball With the Clouds

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There are probably some photographers who never venture out unless it is a bright sunny day with nary a trace of clouds in the sky.

I didn’t have that luxury on the day that I made this image.

We were having lunch at a rest area along Interstate 70 in Pennsylvania not far from the Maryland border.

There was a pleasing view of a valley in front of us from our picnic table. There were also a lot of clouds in the sky.

If I wanted to make an image I had to be patient and put up with some cloud shadowing.

This was about as good as it was going to get. I once lived in central Pennsylvania and scenes such as this is what I envision when I think about the Keystone state.

Trace of Clouds at Sunrise

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I had arisen early to photograph the sun rising over the Santa Catalina mountains east of Tucson, Arizona.

I was hoping for something as dramatic as I had recorded the night before at sunset. It would not turn out that way, but was still worth the effort.

A sliver of clouds catches the early morning sunlight. It will be a few minutes before the sun climbs over the mountains.

The desert can be a place of extreme contrasts. Later on this day the temperature would climb into the 90s. But at the moment that I made this image, it was cold enough to wear a jacket.

It was Actually Quite Harmless

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I was driving with a friend recently when it began raining. There was no thunderstorm, just rain. I thought this cloud formation looked interesting so I made a photograph of it as we drove along.  With a little imagination, it slightly resembles a funnel cloud forming and descending to create havoc on the ground. But it is just rain falling.

Written by csanders429

August 14, 2017 at 7:23 am