Sunrise with Crepuscular Rays

Sunrise with Appearance and Disappearance of Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular rays are a fairly common occurrence at sunrise (especially) and sunset here in Albuquerque. Sometimes I wonder if they happen even more frequently than I realize. The vivid colors of sunrise are brief, but these “fingers of God” rays are even briefer. The images in this gif are from 6:35:50-6:37:33.

crepuscular rays
Watch the Appearance and Disappearance of Crepuscular Rays in this Fiery Sunrise

This image is from 6:35:32, and shows the layer of clouds over the Sandias, most of which never developed vivid colors (sometimes the whole sky lights up). I do not see distinct rays in this image. They began to appear in less than 30 seconds. I just happened to be out, hoping for a colorful sunrise.

Sunrise at 6:35:32

All images in this post are jpgs, with cropping only. Yes, sunrises here really can be that colorful. I was glad I was up to catch this one. I hope you enjoy the gif.

Quote for the day:

β€œSerenity is when you get above all this, when it doesn’t matter what they think, say or want, but when you do as you are, and see God and Devil as one.”
~ Henry Miller

12 Replies to “Sunrise with Crepuscular Rays”

    1. Hi, Lavinia. Nice to see you. Thank you! Don’t you love it when they appear? Several years ago Tim and Laurie and I were out on one of our “photographic expeditions” and on the back side of the Manzano Mountains as the sun was going down. The was a very brief spectacular moment when we rounded a curve. I couldn’t stop soon enough to catch the peak of the display (it’s in my head, though), but it led to what we all called a “true New Mexico encounter.” I think Tim put it on his blog.
      Thanks for stopping by this morning, and wishing you more “fingers of God.”

    1. Hi, Dennis! Thanks for stopping by this morning. Just as Albuquerque has so many more spectacular sunrises and sunsets than many other places on earth, I think we may have more of these also. One of the prettiest sets I have ever seen was looking *east* to Santa Fe from Los Alamos at sunset, with a very soft pink and blue display over the Sangre de Cristos. I think that must have been the day I began to get really interested in them.
      Nice to see you here!

  1. This is interesting because from where we are few miles north on the valley floor, the top of the Sandias were covered with clouds, and any color to the south was blocked by the trees that line the south side of the property. We had a gray misty dawn with little color this morning.

    1. Hi, Tim. You once again make the point for people who don’t know this area that places not too far apart in distance can be worlds apart in basic things like temperature, the look of the sky, the vegetation, etc., etc. It also reminded me personally of the “Strawberry Moon,” for which you had a clear, straight shot view, and from here it was hidden by trees until it could be seen as an ordinary full moon. That was a major disappointment for me, in a couple of years in which I had great views of many celestial happenings.
      Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  2. For some reason, those rays are common at sunset in Charleston when the prevailing winds are anywhere from the southwest to southeast.

    1. Hi, Carol! It is so nice to see you here. Thank you for coming by. Thank you also for the observation about Charleston. The more I watch the sunrises and sunsets, the more I am beginning to wonder if these are quite common in many places, but just aren’t “seen” too often because they last for such a short period of time. Some day when I have time (ha!ha!) I think I might go back through some of my old sunrise and sunset images, and see if there are a lot with these rays, that I just did recognize as such at the time. They are definitely interesting and fun to see.
      Thank you again for dropping by and leaving a comment. πŸ™‚

  3. Lovely photos, Susan! The reverse crepuscular rays can also be quite exciting, if you can catch them! There’s a place up in the mountains in NSW where sunsets regularly supply them. You just have to remember to look behind you! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi, Mel. I always appreciate your dropping by! Reverse crepuscular rays were the ones that made me come home and start searching for information about what I had seen. That woke me up to the phenomenon that I now believe I probably had seen many times before without realizing it. (I know that sounds weird and unaware, but I still think it is true.)
      I’m going to tell the story of a special weekend. I want to write it, but please don’t feel compelled to read it. It’s just that your comment sparked a remembrance. For Fall Equinox, 2013, I was fortunate to have a pass to drive my own car at my own pace through the Valles Caldera, something allowed only rarely and to a limited number of people.
      We drove up through the Jemez the day before with plans to spend the night in Los Alamos (yes, the birthplace of the atomic bomb; I had to show ID to get into AND out of Los Alamos, even though now it kind of a little town).I stopped on the way up to photograph a church at San Ysidro (not the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales), which my mom and a friend could not understand why. Later on, I pulled over to get out and photograph one of the major burn scars from devastating wildfires 2 years before. The others stayed in the car. When I looked up, I saw a most magnificent bird above me. It was magical. I did not know what it was. I had the 24-105 lens on, because I was planning to photograph the burn scar. I got three pics, and then the bird was gone. When I got home, I blew it to visible pixels, but I could ID it then – an immature bald eagle. Eagles carry a lot of spiritual weight in the SW, and I had felt that, even though at the time I did not know what the bird was.
      A little later, just as where we were passing was where we would turn into the Valles Caldera the next day, this huge thunderstorm with wind, rain, and hail came out of nowhere. I don’t think the people with me had any idea just how scary the next 20 minutes or so were, at least for me as the driver. But, almost as suddenly as it appeared, it cleared and the sun came out. Clouds were still around.
      We got settled in our motel, and went to dinner. When we came out, the sunset to the west was one of the most spectacular – golden, not orange, tumultuous rolling clouds, brilliant – I have seen, and you know that is saying a lot. As it faded, we drove back to our motel, which had a clear view looking east to Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountains. That is where the reverse crepuscular rays were, filling the entire eastern sky above those mountains. The sky itself was a pale blue and the rays were pink. The sky was clear in that direction – no clouds. So it appeared like a pastel fan over the entire eastern sky. (Of course my camera was in the motel, where I had left it when we went to dinner). I did not know a name for what I was seeing, but I knew I had never seen anything quite like it before. I don’t think I’ll see anything quite like it again. But, when I got home I started looking things up, and that is when I learned about crepuscular rays.
      Maybe someday I’ll have an opportunity to visit those mountains in NSW, and perhaps see another set of reverse crepuscular rays as beautiful as the night before autumn equinox, 2013, over Santa Fe, New Mexico.
      Sorry – in a way – for the ramble, but that is a weekend deeply etched in my memory. My world seemed normal at the time. πŸ™‚

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