July Jewels

sunflower

As July 2019 comes to an end, I want to share a few images from the last few days. The flowers here will last through green chile season, which is about to begin. Colorful skies do not occur every day, but they occur frequently! Monsoon season will be with us into September, although thunderstorms may – or may not – be less frequent.

Colorful skies are always welcome.

sunrise
Sunrise July 28, 2019

My love of the Old Garden Rose ‘Mermaid’ is pretty well known. 🙂

It is also well known that sunflowers are among my favorites in late summer/autumn. I did not plant sunflowers this year – too many distractions – but volunteers are appearing. This one is from a cloudy morning when a light mist was falling.

Sunflower
Sunflower in Morning Mist

This sunflower is a volunteer from one of the hybrid sunflowers I have grown in other years. Makes me a little sorry I did not make time to plant more this year…

sunflower
Sunflower

Just as in previous years, crab spiders seem to gravitate to this particular kind of sunflower. Although tiny and kind of cute, these little guys are vicious. From other years I have images of them eating bees they have killed.

sunflower crab spider
Crab Spider on Sunflower

This is a closeup of the crab spider.

Crab Spider
Crab Spider Closeup

Thanks for visiting my world in late July.

Crow and Crepuscular Rays

crow and crepuscular rays

We have had a stretch of cloudless sunrises the past couple of weeks. When I went out to pick up the paper this morning, I was thrilled to see some clouds. This sunrise seemed to have the potential to produce crepuscular rays. A few minutes later they did emerge. These are certainly not the most spectacular rays I have seen. You might have to look hard to see them. But the sky was beautiful in this blue hour. So, I grabbed the camera to see what I could get.

I did not see the crow until I looked at the image on the computer. It was one of those surprises that can just appear. The icing on the cake… It was a beautiful New Mexico way to start the day.

This link has a short video of the American Crow in flight.

New Mexico Skies, June 2, 2019

stormy skies

New Mexico skies, as many of you know, can be amazing, spectacular, beautiful, menacing… Add whatever word you wish, and you will see it here one day. These two images are from June 2, 2019. I haven’t been out looking for crepuscular rays at sunrise since I fell and smashed my glasses and face in December 2017. Fortunately, the camera and lens, which hit the driveway first, were completely fine. Way to go, Canon! By the way, I had been out chasing sunbeams at sunrise. On June 2, I went out to get the newspaper. What greeted me? Crepuscular rays! These aren’t the most beautiful or magnificent ones I have seen here, but I was thrilled to see them after such a long time. I grabbed my camera, hoping to be able to capture them.

Crepuscular Rays
Sunrise with Crepuscular Rays, and Clouds Below Sandias

This was such a wonderful Blue Hour with the crepuscular rays and clouds below the Sandias. It made me feel alive in a way I had not felt in a while.

Later that afternoon, stormy skies moved in over the Sandias. At my house I didn’t get much rain. However, I enjoyed watching the clouds and thinking how different the sky was from sunrise that morning.

stormy skies
Stormy Skies, Mid-Afternoon

Both images were taken in my front yard, facing the Sandias to the east. The angles are a little different, but you get the idea.

As I looked at these, I could not help remembering the skies of the 2009 Monsoon Season. Night after night after night we saw blazing sunsets. I always love the New Mexico skies, but part of me hopes the 2019 Monsoon Season can rival that of 2009…

Stormy Sunrise

A Stormy Sunrise

stormy sunrise
Stormy Sunrise

A stormy sunrise had accurately been predicted by the Weather Service for several days. The prediction was correct. Although the sun was trying to peek out between the clouds and mountains, the clouds soon won out. As predicted, we had showers later in the morning. The sun broke through in the afternoon. Now, however, a light rain is falling again. Those of us who live here are happy for the rain!

The neighbors behind me have two friendly, wonderful dogs, Sampson and Inoki. They always greet me when I’m out. Inoki is a born model, and I have posted images of him before. Sampson is a little camera-shy. This image is not sharp, but it is the only one I have. Sampson brightened a stormy sunrise!

dog
Sampson, My Neighbors’ Friendly Dog. He and his brother, Inoki, always greet me when I am out.

Just an ordinary day in New Mexico…

Crepuscular Rays: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

crepuscular rays

Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular rays, as many readers of this blog know, are common in Albuquerque. The jagged edges of the Sandia Mountains combined with frequent clouds over the mountains provide an ideal setting for their development. However, I rarely show images of anything taken from my front yard. That view will always contain driveways and vehicles. But, every now and then, I find something especially interesting or beautiful from that view point. Sometimes something can override the driveways and cars. For that reason, every now and then I will show an image taken in the front yard. On a recent weekend, the color of early sunrise was already gone. But I found this a remarkable display of these rays. I hope you enjoy the image, looking up the street, driveways and all.

crepuscular rays
Crepuscular Rays as the Sun Rises in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A beautiful day in the neighborhood…

Mammatus Clouds in 2018 Monsoon Season

mammatus monsoon clouds

Monsoon Mammatus Clouds

Monsoon mammatus clouds do not happen all that frequently here. This week had two storms with mammatus clouds. I could not resist a few photos before the storms hit. Each storm produced hail and, at my house, 0.75 inches of rain. In the past week I have received 5.5 inches of rain. The plants are happy, and I’m even going to have a lawn to mow. 🙂

What are mammatus clouds? “A cellular pattern of pouches hanging underneath the base of a cloud…” Those of you who read Tim’s Off Center and Not Even have seen his view from Corrales. These are from my yard. The first three are from July 31 and the fourth from August 1.

monsoon mammatus clouds
Mammatus Clouds. This storm produced hail, as well as 0.75 inches of rain in a short time.
monsoon clouds
Monsoon Storm Rolling in Over Sandias. This storm produced hail and rain. The light you see in the cloud is lightning; there were relatively few ground strikes that night.
mammatus monsoon clouds
More Mammatus Clouds
mammatus monsoon clouds
Leading Edge of Storm August 1. The following night we again saw mammatus clouds at the edge of the storm. This storm also produced hail, but not as much as the previous night.

Spring Color

Spring Color

Spring color is everywhere in Albuquerque. Everything looks so fresh. The roses are a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. Because the weather is not hot yet, the roses haven’t become crispy critters, as they sometimes do. Everything around town seems colorful and clean. Of course, nothing beats a sunrise here! A riot of floral color makes things that much better!

spring color
Miniature Rose ‘Cinnamon Delight’
spring color
Riot of Color with Spring Flowers
spring color
Brilliant Southwestern Sunrise

Stormy Sunrise with Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular Rays

Stormy Sunrise with Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular rays, as many of you know, delight me when they appear. Although the term itself refers to “twilight,” Albuquerque provides a unique setting for sunrises. The uneven horizon of the Sandias to the east, with frequent mountain-capping clouds there, are perfect for these rays at sunrise. The past couple of days have been stormy, which can sometimes make for colorful images.

Crepuscular Rays
Stormy Sunrise with Crepuscular Rays

These rays this morning were short-lived: 2 minutes. I was lucky to see them! Now a light snow is falling. The temperature on my back porch is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.I would be very happy if a heavy snow fell in the mountains! We have had so little moisture this winter. We depend on melting snowpack for much of our water.

While the sky is dreary at the moment, the sunrise definitely made being up worthwhile!

Albuquerque Sky in 30 Minutes

Albuquerque sky

Albuquerque Sky in 30 Minutes

Albuquerque sky in 30 minutes? Well, yes. Especially regular readers here know I love the skies in Albuquerque and New Mexico and all of the desert Southwest. I see something worth noting almost every day. Because late yesterday afternoon was especially noteworthy, I want to share a few images. Most of all, these all occurred within 30 minutes. Maybe this happens every day, but this time I happened to catch it. 🙂

Crepuscular Rays, 6:39pm

Albuquerque sky
Crepuscular Rays

Rainbow and Rain, 7:00pm

Albuquerque sky
Rainbow and Rain

Thunderstorm over the Sandias, 7:02pm

Albuquerque sky
Thunderstorm over the Sandias

Muted Sunset, 7:06pm

Albuquerque Sky
Muted Sunset

Sunrise/Sunset

sunrise/sunset

Sunrise/Sunset

Sunrise/Sunset: how cliche are such images considered by many who have never seen the fiery skies of the Desert Southwest? Oh, but how much the skies speak to those who know and love them. While it is true the depth of beauty will never been seen in a photograph, sometimes the beauty is so overwhelming that just a hint is satisfying. I quote again D. H. Lawrence’s written description of sunrise in New Mexico:

I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have ever had. It certainly changed me forever. . . . the moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Santa Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend. . . . In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly and the old world gave way to a new.
There are all kinds of beauty in the world, thank God, though ugliness is homogeneous. . . . But for a greatness of beauty I have never experienced anything like New Mexico.

Many of my photographer friends remember the magnificence of the skies of the 2009 monsoon season. Sometimes I wondered if I would ever see a prolonged season quite like that one again. Yesterday was almost like a whole season rolled into one.

Sunrise

Back Yard Sunrise 6:17-6:22am

I start each day looking out to assess the potential for a sunrise I would like to photograph. If any clouds at all are above the Sandia Mountains, I make sure my camera is by the door and with the appropriate lens. On this particular day, I did not expect much. However, I have learned over the years that you never know. When it was barely light I went out to water flowers in containers. And then, I saw the pink begin to show. Do I know I really need to use a tripod? Yes, of course. But that is another story. I grabbed my camera, which was in easy reach, and photographed this sunrise as seen from my back yard in the middle of Albuquerque. The first gif loops three times, for those who do not like constant movement on a blog. The second gif loops continuously, for those who like to watch a little more. This was a fairly long display of color over five minutes.

Sunrise/Sunset
Backyard Sunrise
sunrise/sunset
Backyard Sunrise

Front Yard Sunrise 6:25-6:39am

I would have been more than satisfied to start the day with that sunrise from my back yard. Although I can see a small part of the north end of the Sandia Mountains from my front yard, I rarely photograph from there. However, although the basic view is of houses, driveways, and vehicles, the surprise of that sunrise view made me grab my camera!

6:25am

sunrise/sunset
Amazing Clouds and Colors

6:36am

sunrise/sunset
Note You Can Tell Exactly Where the Sun Is Rising

6:37am

sunrise/sunset
Yes, Those Are Crepuscular Rays

6:40am

sunrise/sunset
The Morning Show Is Almost Over

Sunset

What more could one expect from the skies that day? I was more than happy with the offerings of sunrise.

But, I live in New Mexico!

Early sunset gave me this sky, looking west:

sunrise/sunset
The Beginning of Sunset

The day ended with a gently beautiful sunset:

sunrise/sunset
Gentle Sunset

What more could anyone ask from a day of monsoon skies?