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. 🙂
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.
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.
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!
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:
The day ended with a gently beautiful sunset:
What more could anyone ask from a day of monsoon skies?
Crepuscular rays intrigue me. Most of the images I have shown you from my back yard are from sunrise, over the Sandia Mountains. A couple of nights ago, this was the view looking west. I knew trees and houses would be in the image, but I did not care. I could not get what I wanted to get without including other things. This was another spectacular New Mexico sky!
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. ~ Jawaharlal Nehru
The Sky Tonight; and It Is Not Even Monsoon Season Yet!
The sky tonight was reminiscent of Monsoon Season The monsoons are more than a month away. The wind was definitely blowing, but no rain fell in my part of town. But the clouds and the colors provided a spectacular end to the day. Those of you who read here regularly know the view from my back yard, looking west. I usually avoid photos in the front yard, because the “view” is basically of houses and driveways and parked cars. But the clouds and color to the northwest were spectacular enough to demand a photo. This is one of those evenings I long for an unobstructed view. Nevertheless, I remain grateful for what I do see here.
Colorful sunrises and sunsets are something we almost take for granted here. Monsoon season especially can provide spectacular skies. But even “ordinary” days here can end with a sunset like this one!
Sunset, snow, mountains: compare this sunset over the Sandia Mountains less than 36 hours after the very fiery sunrise in the previous post.
Late afternoon was cold and very windy. But the image appears calm – at least to me – compared to the fiery sunrise. The weather that morning was relatively calm (on the ground) and warm. I also watched this one as it developed, and had my camera and coat ready. I felt cold only when I was back in the house. This view, like most of those shown here, is from my back yard. 5:30pm. I see an old man with a Pinocchio nose in the cloud. Do you?
I rarely show photographs from the front yard, because the view is of a street of houses, driveways, and parked vehicles. Every now and then, though, I have to try because something special cannot be ignored. This is the same sunset looking east to the Sandias at sunset. This is toward the north end of the Sandias, with the collection of towers. 5:29pm.
This week is one of wind, along with cold compared to the winter we had had so far. But, I am not complaining, because the weather has brought the kind of sunrises and sunsets I love.
Waxing Supermoon, December 2016, Rising over Sandia Mountains at Sunset
The supermoon of December 2016 is not quite as impressive as November’s. However, it would take an expert in moons to really be able to tell that with the naked eye, at least in the waxing phase.
Full moon will take place on December 13. Here in Albuquerque, moonrise is set for 5:09pm. But, about another 30 minutes or so is required for the moon to clear the mountains. The sky will be dark for the full moonrise. Photographing moonrise in daylight is so much more fun. The alpenglow on the Sandia Mountains at sunset, combined with a very bright waxing moon, was too beautiful not to photograph and share.
I hope you can see the moon where you are in the next few days.
A dramatic sunset, that appears to be stormy. The afternoon and evening were actually quite calm. In this case, looks were a bit deceiving.
The sun has clearly moved farther north, as we approach the equinox.
Tonight’s sky and its rainbow were rare, even by New Mexico standards. Although this view from my house shows a boiling sky with much turbulence up above, there was no wind at my house and, sadly, no rain. Other places nearby, however, got both.
Several things were unusual about this rainbow. First, it was essentially a single rainbow, in contrast to the many double rainbows seen frequently in Albuquerque. Even triple and quadruple rainbows are not unheard of here. A single rainbow is relatively uncommon.
On close inspection, the rainbow appears not to have a smooth edge or smooth curve, in contrast to what is usually seen. Low clouds were passing by, and light from the sun in the west was broken up in different places by these clouds, giving a somewhat jagged appearance. At one point, the rainbow appeared to be cut in half by a passing cloud.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about this rainbow was the length of time it lasted. I do not know how long it was out there before I saw it. I began photographing at 7:15:29 pm, and stopped at 7:36:13 pm. Remnants were still visible near the base when I came in. A minimum of 21 minutes is a very long time for a rainbow to remain visible, at least here in the desert!
Of course, the dominant feature in the sky was the cloud/clouds. For all of that upper level turbulence, it was calm on the ground at my house. And, the whiteness at sunset is somewhat unusual for clouds, even looking east to the Sandia Mountains.
Once again, Albuquerque and New Mexico had an amazing sky. Thanks for your patience with this oft-used phrase, dear readers.
Fading light, at the end of a beautiful day. The light here in the high desert of New Mexico is so clear and brilliant that even an “ordinary” sunset here is extraordinarily beautiful. Even from the time I was a child passing through on family vacations, the light here has always touched my heart and soul. Fading light – a phenomenon in itself, but also a metaphor for many other things; almost anything you want it to be.
The fading light at sunset last night was nothing extraordinary for here. It was quite peaceful and soothing. The first image, with the sky itself still in various shades of grays and blues shows the pink alpineglow of the Sandia (“Watermelon”) Mountains. This image was taken at 8:11 pm, MDT. The second image, taken at 8:21 pm, MDT, shows the Sandia Mountains already almost dark, but the clouds still with a wonderful pink glow.
It should be noted these images were taken looking east toward the mountains, rather than the more typical sunset images taken looking west toward the setting sun. Here in Albuquerque we are fortunate to often have multiple views of changing light at sunset.