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!

Morning Rainbow to the West

6 Replies to “Crepuscular Rays”

    1. Hi, Tim. Hasn’t this been a great year for monsoon skies? I’m seeing things that either I did not see before or did not appreciate before. Nice to see you this morning!

    1. Hi, Pearl. I just found this, although I can see it was written days ago. I apologize!!! I very much appreciate the comment, both for the content and the time you took to look at the images and to write a comment.
      Thank You!!!!

  1. Those are beautiful photos, Susan. Such magnificent skies you have down there!

    There is another atmospheric lighting effect, called the “green flash” or “green ray” effect. Have you ever seen one of these? I have not, but love photos I have seen of them. That might be one I would expect you or Tim to catch in your area sometime.

    1. Hi, Lavinia. First, thank you!
      I have never seen a “green flash” or “green ray” effect, but maybe it is because I did not look for them because I did not know about them! 😉 Thanks for the tip – I’m going to keep my eyes open!!

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