09/10/17
Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular rays are a phenomenon that occurs opposite a rising or setting sun. I first became aware of them on the weekend of autumnal equinox, 2013. After dinner, looking down from Los Alamos across to Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo mountains was something I had never seen before, and it was spectacular! To the west were huge, roiling, golden clouds, remnants of a storm I had driven through earlier. They were also precursor to a new forming storm. But the view to the east was calm. The sky was blue, and soft pink rays seemed to emanate from the middle of the Sangre de Cristos. It was breathtaking. At the time I did not know what I was seeing, but I knew I was fortunate to be seeing it. Camera? It was in the motel.

Anticrepuscular Rays in Albuquerque

Fast forward to Albuquerque, summer 2017. Those of you who read here often know that I have discovered how frequently crepuscular rays occur here. I just have to look for them. As an early riser, I can prepare for what looks like a promising sunrise long before it happens. I watch for it to develop, and have the camera with the right lens handy. One day I had “hit the wall” and overslept until 6:30am. Bright orange light coming through the blinds and curtains awakened me, heralding a colorful sunrise. By the time a sunrise is orange, it is almost over. I had no time to waste. Grabbing the camera, which still had a 100mm lens in place, I ran out. No time to change to a landscape lens, I thought. It should be more or less OK for the typical shot east from my back yard.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Then I turned and looked west. You never know what you might see. This is what I saw. I thought it was pretty, but I did not yet realize what I was looking at.

anticrepuscular rays

Moon at Sunrise

I went into the front yard to pick up the newspaper, and this is what I saw. Was I kicking myself for not changing the lens before I went out? Yes.

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

I returned to the back and took another shot looking west. Note how much lighter the sky has become. Total time elapsed from the first sunrise image to this last one? 5 minutes, 6:45am-6:50am.

Anticrepuscular Rays

Anticrepuscular Rays

More in the Future?

Many of you have seen the variety of crepuscular rays I have posted here. Now that I have seen anticrepuscualr rays here, I’m hoping that all it requires is an awareness to begin to see them more often. And, if not, well, I was fortunate to see them for a second time.

08/19/17
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?

07/13/17
stormy sunrise

Stormy Sunrise

Stormy Sunrise: Pink to Orange in Less Than Three Minutes

Stormy sunrise this morning, bringing at least the hope of rain. I did not get rain at my house, but I did enjoy photographing the sky. The gif is made with jpgs straight from the camera with no photo editing other than cropping.

stormy sunrise

Stormy Sunrise

stormy sunrise

Stormy Sunrise

This may not be as impressive as the crepuscular rays at sunset a few nights ago. Nevertheless, as we enter our monsoon season, I am looking forward to seeing – hopefully – many spectacular skies. Some actual rain would also be nice. πŸ™‚

03/5/17
sunrise

Sunrise: Two Views

Sunrise: Two Views

Sunrise, with two views – one from my back yard, one from my front yard. These are separated by a few steps and two minutes. Note the change in colors during that short period and short walk.

sunrise

Sunrise from My Back Yard, 6:20:15

sunrise

Sunrise from My Front Yard, 6:22:32

Many of you are regular readers here and at Tim Price’s blog, Off Center and Not Even. Tim and Laurie live around 10 miles northwest of where I live, and we frequently comment on how very different the views are of the sky and its various phenomena. Today, I thought I would show what a difference a few steps and two minutes can make.

Some Sunrise Quotes

A sunrise or sunset can be ablaze with brilliance and arouse all the passion, all the yearning, in the soul of the beholder.”
~ Mary Balogh, A Summer to Remember

β€œHEARTWORK

Each day is born with a sunrise
and ends in a sunset, the same way we
open our eyes to see the light,
and close them to hear the dark.
You have no control over
how your story begins or ends.
But by now, you should know that
all things have an ending.
Every spark returns to darkness.
Every sound returns to silence.
And every flower returns to sleep
with the earth.
The journey of the sun
and moon is predictable.
But yours,
is your ultimate
ART.”
~ Suzy Kassem

β€œThere is, I have heard, a little thing called sunrise, in which the sun reverses the process we all viewed the night before. You might assume such a thing as mythical as those beasts that guard the corners of the earth, but I have it on the finest authority, and have, indeed, from time to time, regarded it with my own eyes.”
~ Lauren Willig, The Garden Intrigue

β€œSunrise looks spectacular in the nature; sunrise looks spectacular in the photos; sunrise looks spectacular in our dreams; sunrise looks spectacular in the paintings, because it really is spectacular!”
~ Mehmet Murat ildan

02/26/17

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

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

02/11/17
New Mexico sunrise

Just Another New Mexico Sunrise

Just Another New Mexico Sunrise

Just another New Mexico sunrise…

New Mexico sunrise

New Mexico Sunrise

Although this one was soft and gentle, I nevertheless thought of the words of D. H. Lawrence:

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.

People either love or hate the desert. No in-between exists. From the time I was a child, passing through on family vacations, I knew at some level my soul resided in the Southwest. New Mexico has many economic problems, but no state can match it for sheer natural beauty, day in and day out.

Most of the sky images I show here are from my backyard. This one, however, is from my front porch The best show was to the northeast, rather than east. I was happy I looked. πŸ™‚

01/23/17
sunrise

“Fire in the Sky” Sunrise

sunrise

“Fire in the Sky” Sunrise

This is the kind of sunrise photographers anticipate, wait for, and photograph quickly when it does materialize because sunrises like this will not last long. I stood, looking out, with camera on hand and set for my usual sunrise settings, for about 15 minutes. When the color appeared, I started photographing at 7:02am. I stopped at 7:10am. This image is from 7:07am.

More stormy weather is on the way, and it is already windy. But the sunrise was worth being up for. πŸ™‚

10/28/16
moon and jupiter

Moon and Jupiter

Moon and Jupiter: What a Beautiful Pre-Dawn Sky!

Moon and Jupiter are among the brightest objects we see in the night sky. The rising sun, with its brightness, washes them out. Just before sunrise on October 28, 2016, they appeared close together.

moon and jupiter

Moon and Jupiter Just Before Sunrise

The skies here in Albuquerque have been clear at sunrise recently, and I have missed the colors. Today, at first, though, I was a little disappointed to see the moon and stars somewhat obscured by light clouds. As the sun began to rise, however, I was delighted to see the reds, oranges, and blues develop above the silhouetted Sandia Mountains.

I have much clearer images of the alignment of Venus, Jupiter, and Mars from several months ago than of today’s phenomenon. But for sheer beauty, at least to my eye, I’ll take today’s pre-dawn Albuquerque sky.

08/11/16

Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular Rays of Light – Beauty and Brevity

Crepuscular rays of light, “fingers of God,” and other names are beautiful atmospheric optics. August 2016 has been remarkable for their appearance over the Sandia Mountains. I’ve been able to photograph this phenomenon at sunrise twice in less than a week. Of note, many images on the internet were taken at sunset rather than sunrise, and the rays will appear pointing down. (The rays are actually parallel, but that is another discussion.)

This was the first. It was the most dramatic example I have personally ever seen.

crepuscular rays

Crespuscular Rays 6:20:25 am

This is the second. This sunrise was more typical. The rays and sky were “gentle.”

crepuscular rays

Crepuscular Rays 6:25:48 am

Phenomena like this do not last long. Within two minutes, the rays were almost gone.

crepuscular rays

Crepuscular Rays 6:27:34 am

Note that the days are getting shorter. Compare the time of the first image to the time of the second image, just a few days later.

Photographers in Albuquerque know the skies during monsoon season may present even more wonderful opportunities than usual. Many of us remember the summer of 2009 as being full of marvelous skies. This year, friends are capturing amazing images of the lightning storms we have had recently. Sunrises, which I have enjoyed for many years, are proving to be even more remarkable to me this monsoon season of 2016.

Edited to add: Added bonus: a rainbow to the west a little later in the morning!

rainbow

Morning Rainbow to the West

11/5/15

Better View

A Better View May Be Behind You. Be Sure to Look in All Directions

“A better view may be behind you” is taught in photography classes almost as much as what “aperture” means. Over the years I have definitely learned to look around. I may not always find “a better view,” but sometimes I will, and will often find something worth photographing in addition to the “main attraction,” whatever that is.

The first freeze of the season is predicted for Albuquerque tonight (November 5). Yesterday morning as the first of the storm appeared, we were treated to a glowing sunrise, stormy, with fog and clouds drifting in and out of the valleys on the mountains, separating them into layers.

better view

Sunrise as a Storm Approaches, Fog and Clouds in the Valleys of the Mountains

When I glanced around, almost by accident and not really expecting much in the western sky, there was a rainbow! I’m not really suggesting that the rainbow could outdo the sunrise, but, as common as rainbows are here looking east toward the mountains in late afternoons, they are relatively uncommon in the morning. The rainbow was an unexpected surprise, and a reminder to always look around to see what is there!

better view

Rainbow to the West at Sunrise

New Mexico skies – always beautiful, never boring, and no better view anywhere. πŸ™‚