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Thursday, 23 February 2017


"crepuscular" rays, when you are looking towards the sun. "anticrepuscular" rays when looking down the sun rays.

"It's a show", all right. But as lovely as sunset/sunrise images can be (and yours are) have you ever noticed how inadequate they seem. Regardless of print/display scale and fidelity they pale against the actual witness experience. I've just returned from over a week in the middle of the Pacific, so this is a subject near my mind at the moment. In fact, that's largely true for landscape photographs in general; they are pale mementos of the witness experience. You just can't adequately bottle that multi-sensory stuff.

Anyway, this site should help you with your sunset/sunrise terminology, Mike.

The Finger Lakes have gorges sunsets. Here are some we took near (I think) Skaneatles Lake a couple of years ago. iPhone 4S straight out of camera, no postprocessing. The best camera etc...

Mike, It's great to see you posting pictures!
Just think, that camera is now 50% better than it was previously, and you are a 50% better photographer than previously.
According to an article posted yesterday by TOP that is.
Keep up the good work.

Glad you are enjoying the show Mother Nature puts on in your new neighbourhood. I grew up in Fort Erie, near Buffalo NY. The microclimates around both the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes make for fascinating, and fast moving, skies.

It may be apocryphal, but it's said that Buffalo devotes a higher percentage of their nightly newscasts to weather than anywhere else in the world. Makes sense when you see the wild variability.

It's true, there is spectacular light, and weather, to be found in the Finger Lakes, and good photographs too, if you're ready when it happens. Here's a rather obvious tip; next time you see that 'bluff light', turn around to see what it's lighting up.

If you go to Wunderground's weather page for your area, I used Hammondsport, under the 10day forecast you will see the astronomy section where the different times for sunset and sunrise are shown. Actual, Civil, Nautical and Astronomical are the four shown with definitions if you hover your mouse over the text.

"I've been lax; I should never go anywhere without a camera. Never. Anywhere."

Man...this happened to me yesterday, travelling home. Where is my camera?? Where is my spirit, my good will from the days of youth??

[It's not gone, Hélcio! We just need to stay in touch with it is all. --Mike]

I loved your photos of the clouds, pockets of blue sky and sun rays that beautifully illustrate your "advance" sunsets behind Keuka Bluff. Yeah, just ahead of the "real" sunset at the horizon! And in my rain soaked coastal Northern California, we occasionally have something very similar, caused by a "wall" of fog coming in off the ocean, that looks eerily similar to those grim dust bowl scenes of the 30's. These "banks" of fog normally arrive in late Spring to early Summer. The sun sets behind the fog bank and - as you nicely described - creates a longer period of dusk. It's not quite the same effect because your bluff is solid and the fog bank's edge, in particular, allows some light through.

However, the element of your essay that most caught my eye, and which is also a reflection of my region's "waaaaaaay too early" Springs, were your words "...extremely pleasant as well as naggingly frightening."

I have long said that there is magic in places where land and sea and sky meet. I wrote it about the ocean but it is true of large lakes as well. Dorothea Lange said that "a camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera"
In the landscape , patience is almost always rewarded , picture or not.
Even at the seashore, on cloudy days there is sometimes a moment when the setting sun peeks through and illuminates the clods fro below, and everything is transformed from blue gray to yellow gold for a minute or two.
The trick is to be there in grateful anticipation

Creepy indeed. Here in SE PA, we have 70 right now.

We've taken several family vacations at Keuka, and I've learned always to have a camera with me. Come the last week in August, we'll be there again, this time on East Bluff Drive. While I prefer your side of the "Y," maybe the sunrises will be as interesting as the sunsets - if I get up that early, that is.

68ºF! Just right for black and white developer, then!

Aliens, Mike. Said just like that farmer bloke near the beginning of MIB. LOL.

Cheers, Geoff

The other side of that bluff sunset (it is just bluffing, you know!) is sunset from a plane where you get the opposite effect. I have caught that just occasionally and got a good picture just once. Wonderful.

Cheers, Geoff

Thanks for that. And for the theme of waking up and being present. Some years ago I went from using the camera for illustrative professional purposes to walking around to find what I could find. And as I re-learned how to look, I also began, surprise surprise, to hear things I had never heard before: remarks in the street, the cathedral bells, the distant train going through. So evidently it's not just about seeing.

I live at the northwest corner of Lake Ontario Burlington) , Hamilton is more or less at the very end. Weather is strangely predictable, up to a point. On the top of the Niagara Escarpment where the majority of the residents of Hamilton live it be can cold, blowing snow, whereas down below, no snow at all. Tuesday morning (Feb.21) when this current warm weather pattern was starting to really appear, My whole area was enveloped in a very dense pea-soup fog for most of the day; on top of the Escarpment it was clear, sunny and warm. Blame the closeness of Lake Ontario for some of that fog; and that same evening, was at a favourite location on the top of the escarpment , trackside photographing trains and the sunset was actually wonderful. In the finger Lakes you have at the very north Lake Ontario and then the small narrow lakes; they all affect the climate...you're in a good location Mike.

4 seasons in 1 minute drive north passing Black Pool in Dec 1998. Still remember that.

Yep, love the rays coming up from the low sun.

Just remembered I have a photo on the internet showing that sunset from a plane when I had the opposite of your bluff effect. https://www.dpreview.com/galleries/5951224179/photos/2724594/13-10-17-p9272247-kavieng-sunset

The flight was about 30 minutes late, we should have landed before sunset in Kavieng, New Ireland, in the New Guinea Islands, but we had been held up at the previous stop, Rabaul, New Britain.

There were rain storms around (this is the tropics and that was the monsoon season) and as we approached Kavieng the sun was long set in the town but for us was still setting into the clouds. The effect you see lasted only a couple of minutes but I had my (m43!) camera in hand and grabbed the shot. Two or three others were good, but not as spectacular as this one.

So, "Climate Change" can be a good thing, right...?

[I would say it's the least good thing since the beginning of civilizations roughly five to seven thousand years ago. --Mike]

Your fourth image shows a nice example of crepuscular rays. Here's an example with above and below cloud rays taken in Arizona...

...which nicely matches the AZ state flag

"That's the reason why I love photography. It forced me to look, and thus allowed me to see."

Thanks, Giulio, for such a poetic and succinct way of putting something I have found to be true for me!*

I've had people say to me that by carrying my camera, I miss seeing the world directly. While that may be true for them, it isn't for me.

Walking about alone, I tend to get lost in my head. Walking with others, I tend to engage with them, and miss what's around us.

With camera in hand, a good part of my conscious mind, and some part of my subconscious, are paying attention to my surroundings, looking for interesting visuals. It works! I see more of what's around me than most people I walk with. Much isn't photogenic, but worth experiencing, and the rest gets to be recorded.

Part of my enjoyment is afterword showing the things I've seen and captured to others who were there - and didn't see many of those things.

* And more poetically than Dorothea Lange.

Maybe you have to grow up in the Midwest, or at the seashore, to expect to see the actual horizon. I've lived in NJ, PA, and CT, and never had a view from home that didn't cut off the horizon with the nearest hill.

"I should never go anywhere without a camera. Never. Anywhere."

I feel your pain.

no creepiness to worry about the warm weather, so my meteorologist says, it does not necessarily agur intensely hot summer.

About the photos: Yogi said: You can see a lot by looking.

I usually like to take pictures in hilly areas. When the sun sets behind high hills the effect is rarely as good as when it sets at the "real" horizon. For some reason, the hilly areas I go to were designed with valleys that seem mostly to run north-south, so finding spots where there is a "real" sunset is a map-reading challenge.

Nice observation Mike. Hopefully you'll report back on what else you find, from time to time.

Where we live, in the North of England, the hills rise about 500 feet above the valley, so we get quite similar light effects, which vary according to the season of course. In mid-summer the Sun sets far enough to the North West to cast dramatic orange and/or red light on the top of the moor opposite us. A sort of mini Ayers Rock happens, for a brief but quite spectacular moment that I still can't resist photographing (after 40 years). Around the Winter Solstice the Sun sets behind the hill by around 2.30 p.m.

I love it when fast moving clouds send those searchlight beams racing across the hills, when the Moon rises above the opposite horizon, when the Sun sets and in an instant 'switches off' the light across a whole expanse of fields, when heavy rain falls horizontally along the other side of the valley (which is quite narrow) and its dry where we are, when there's a temperature inversion on a cold autumn morning and you can look down on a moving lake of mist from the top of the hill. I could go on ... :)


I'm sure it's the physicist/astronomer in me, but I'm always looking up. In October I came upon this scene on my school campus in New Hampshire. I took out my iPhone and started photographing what was actually a 360 degree display of solar phenomena across the sky. Most people walked right by me. A few stopped to ask what I was photographing - it boggled my mind that they didn't notice. For those interested, the photo includes 2 sundogs, a corona, a parhelic circle (which actually extended around the whole sky), and either an upper tangent arc or%2 0a Parry arc.

"In fact, that's largely true for landscape photographs in general; they are pale mementos of the witness experience. You just can't adequately bottle that multi-sensory stuff."

This reminds me of a quote from Galen Rowell

"One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it."

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