Sunrise/Sunset/Sky

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

I stopped at Upper Rock Creek Park (a.k.a. Lake Needwood) today on the way home from work. I like to do that now and then, especially in the spring when new things are coming up or in the fall when the leaves are so lovely. But neither of those are true right now, so I’m not entirely sure why I did. But I did. As I walked down through the woods I saw a great blue heron fly across the lake and land in a dead tree on a point just a little way ahead. I knew there was a path out onto that point so I made my way there, walking as quietly as I could. The path goes steeply down the hill at the end, right under the tree the bird was in and I was only able to get three pictures as it flew off, almost directly into the sun. So, it’s not necessarily what I was hoping for but it’s probably better then I should have expected.

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Evening Light

Evening Light

Evening Light

This didn’t turn out nearly as well as I had hoped and doesn’t really show the orange tint to the light on the upper parts of the trees in our front yard. It was a beautiful, cool evening. When I came home from work I took my shoes off and walked in the grass in the front yard, which was cool and damp and felt wonderful. The color of the light shifted just before sunset and it was one of those subtly beautiful evenings. It wasn’t spectacular, like a sunset with colorful clouds, but it was quietly lovely.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I hadn’t taken any pictures during the day today but as the evening progressed I had a feeling we might get a nice sunset. The clouds were nice and the conditions seemed right. At about 6:45 I took some pictures of the clouds but of course at that point there wasn’t really any color in them. They were just pretty clouds against a blue sky. Sunset was at 7:06 and as that approached, the light that had been on the clouds went away and the turned from white to grey. There was a little color in the eastern sky, so I went around to the front of the house and got a few pictures of that, but it wasn’t all that spectacular. Coming back to the backyard, though, the western sky had finally turned. This was taken at 7:13 PM, seven minutes or so after official sunset.

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Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last month or so, there was a total solar eclipse across the middle of the lower 48 states today. The area of totality was far enough south of us that I didn’t feel any great need to visit Dana or Alan, cousins in Nashville, TN and Columbia, SC respectively. We would have something to watch here, even if it wasn’t as spectacular as what they’d get. I made two pinhole cameras, one to leave with Dorothy and the other to take with me to work. Cathy and I went out and watched with a lot of other folk from work, some with eclipse glasses, others with their own pinhole box cameras, and some looking at the image in my box, which was rigged up on the ground and was easily viewed. That made it easy to track the progress of the eclipse.

Nature's Pinhole Camera

Nature’s Pinhole Camera

The first image here was taken at 2:38, about four minutes before it reached its maximum obscuration of just over 80%. There were clouds moving past for the next six or seven minutes, so this was the best I got. I know it isn’t anywhere near as good as what some folks will get, but I’m pretty pleased with it.

The second picture is the shade thrown by a walnut tree by the side of the parking lot. As you can see, each place where light comes through the leaves acts like a pinhole camera, projecting a crescent image on the ground.

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Raindrops On A Pond

Raindrops On A Pond

Raindrops On A Pond

It continues to be quite busy at work but today was something of a turning point in the project I’m working on. I made a lot of progress and it’s starting to come together. There is still plenty more to do, but I’m a little less panicked now. At about 4:30 I decided to take a short break and go outside to take a few pictures. I got a few that I think are nice but as I was heading back to my office it started to sprinkle a little. There is a drainage pond near the sidewalk, just through the trees, and I made my way to it and took this picture of the raindrops softly landing on the surface of the pond.

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Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

When you plan your beach trip months in advance, you never know what sort of weather you’re going to get. Some years it’s very hot and muggy, others, relatively cool and pleasant. This year was a cool and pleasant year, a rare but welcome occurrence. I think it barely broke 85°F the whole week. This morning was the only day with a sunrise worth getting up for. The other days either had completely clear or (on Friday) an entirely overcast sky. Today’s sunrise made up for the other days’ lack, though. There were a lot of folks out on the beach at 6:30 watching it, looking for shells in the sand as the tide ebbed (high tide was about two hours previous to this picture).

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Sunset, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunset, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunset, Ocean Isle Beach

As many of you know, we were at the beach last week. I’m going to try to get caught up posting pictures so expect two per day for the next week. We had a relatively easy drive down on Saturday, covering the 420 or so miles in a little over 7.5 hours. It was drizzling when we left home, then south of Richmond we had mostly sunny skies. We had rain going around Wilmington, NC and it was cloudy and threatening after that. The sunset was pretty amazing, with the color from the sky turning the ocean an amazing color.

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Sunset

Sunset, Rockville

Sunset, Rockville

I took a few pictures of flowers in the yard when I got home but then I went to my men’s meeting and on the way home stopped to take a few sunset pictures. This was taken from Veterans Park at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville PIke, looking west (obviously). I like that there is some color reflected in the building on the left. We haven’t had a lot of spectacular sunsets lately so we’ll take what we get. That’s one feature of the spring and fall that I particularly like, though, along with the cooler temperatures, of course.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

We had a rip-roaring thunderstorm this evening. We didn’t lose power although it flickered once. The lightning was near by for a while, though. It rained quite hard for a while, then rained most softly off and on for a while longer. As the sun was setting, it began to clear and the sky turned orange for a little while, mostly close to the horizon. It wasn’t the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever seen but it was very pretty for about fifteen minutes. Then the color was gone and it got dark. A nice ending to a hot, muggy day.

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Clouds

Clouds

Clouds

I love clouds. There are days when I could just lie on the grass and watch them for hours. Actually, I’d almost always much rather do that than sit in my office and work. But then, I understand if you stop coming to the office they stop paying you. That’s an incentive. But watching clouds is so nice. This afternoon I found a spot with a good, uninterrupted view of the sky and took this picture, along with about ten more, of the clouds. This one was taken with my 10-20mm zoom pulled in to 20mm. I took some wider shots but frankly, with clouds its hard to tell which are which.

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Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

When I got home from work this evening I took some pictures of flowers in the yard. Then, just before 8:00, as the sun was getting ready to set, I went out with Cathy and we enjoyed watching the clouds rushing across the darkening sky. They were moving quite fast and mostly were just dark. Actually, what I first got my camera for was to take pictures of the light in the tree tops. The trees were in shadow, except for the tops which were lit with bright orange. Occasionally a piece of cloud would also light up, and that’s what I have picked for you today.

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Near Essex, Mass.

Near Essex, Mass.

Near Essex, Mass.

Dorothy was in class again today so Cathy and I were on our own. We had breakfast in a little place in Manchester by the Sea and then drove up towards Essex. We wanted to be outdoors and I thought some of the tidal marshes in the area would be pretty. As it turns out, we got there at just about high tide for one of the highest tides of the year. Also, it was overcast and a bit foggy, which gave the whole scene an eerie, surreal quality. We had a lovely chat with a local homeowner who was out with her dog and then enjoyed the view.

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Clouds and Trees

Clouds and Trees

Clouds and Trees

I was stopped at a traffic light and looking in front of my I saw these trees with clouds behind them. At first I though about getting my camera out but then figured I didn’t really have time. By the time I realized I probably did have time, I only was able to get off one quick picture as traffic started moving again. The alignment isn’t quite what I would have liked. If I had been slightly back from my position the clouds would have been slightly higher, but it’s not like I could move back to get a better angle. Anyway, pretty spring clouds on a lovely day.

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A Late, Mild Snowstorm

Snow Storm

Snow Storm

The ‘huge’ snow storm that was forecast for the east coast really didn’t live up to its potential. Predicting these things isn’t easy and a few degrees of temperature can make all the difference. As it turned out, it was a few degrees warmer throughout the region and what was supposed to be 4 to 7 inches barely made it past 2. Further north, where they were expecting as much as two feet didn’t get more than a half a foot, I believe. This photo makes the storm look a lot more serious than it was. This is from our kitchen window, looking up into the trees in our neighbor’s yard, using a telephoto lens. Also, it didn’t snow this hard for very long. All in all, not really much to write home about.

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Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

We actually had both a beautiful sunrise and a beautiful sunset today. The sunset was prettier than the sunrise but I was driving during the sunset and getting a picture was a bit difficult. I did take two while stopped in traffic on 270 but then traffic started moving again so I let it go and just enjoyed it. The sunrise was while I was home and it was a simple matter of walking out front to take a few pictures from the driveway. It wasn’t as colorful as some we’ve had but it was still pretty.

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Sunset (and Venus)

Sunset (and Venus)

Sunset (and Venus)

We got a proper, colorful sunset this evening and I enjoyed watching it come on. Every now and then, as dusk was approaching, an airplane would fly across the sky and when it got to the right point, it would reflect the light of the setting sun and turn into a bright star for a few seconds. After a while I noticed one that seemed to be standing still. At first I thought it was just very far away and therefore seemed to move more slowly but it didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t moving at all. Turns out it was Venus, appearing about twenty minutes before sunset (which was at 5:47). This picture was taken about fifteen minutes after that. If you cannot see Venus in the picture, you may need to view it on a larger screen, or zoom in. It’s right about in the center from left to right, about 1/6 the way down from the top edge of the photo, at the upper edge of the clouds. (Of course, all it is is a tiny, white speck.)

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Well, it looked as though I’d finally get the sunset I’ve been looking for the last few days. Each day the clouds seemed perfect for something spectacular as the sun approached the western horizon. Each day the sun would go down without any particular light on the clouds. Today seemed the best opportunity of all. Although they covered most of the sky, the clouds were more scattered and I had a real feeling that this time they’d get the setting sun’s final light. They did, too. The only problem was that the 20 minutes or so leading up to the sunset saw all the clouds move off to the south east. The only clouds left in the western sky where low, just over the horizon. Looking through the trees between the houses behind ours I got a small but of colored clouds. That will have to do.

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Clouds at Dusk

Clouds at Dusk

Clouds at Dusk

I was hoping for a spectacular sunset this evening. As the sun sank in the west, the clouds seemed just about right for something with a lot of color, covering the entire western sky with orange. As it turned out, we didn’t get anything very bright. In fact, it just got dark. Not to say that a daily sunset isn’t something for which to be thankful. We’re so used to the daily cycle we take it for granted, but it’s still a gift and it’s beautiful in its own way without the bright color we sometimes get. So, I like this picture, even though it isn’t what I was hoping to have.

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Dramatic Afternoon Clouds

Dramatic Afternoon Clouds

Dramatic Afternoon Clouds

The clouds were quite beautiful this afternoon. There was no colorful sunset to speak of but before that, they were rushing across the sky in a very impressive display. I really like clouds and could sit outside or (when it’s a bit warmer) lie on the grass and just watch them for hours. It’s cool out now. Not cold as it probably should be, but cool, so I didn’t stay out a terribly long time. Also, I was barefoot. But I enjoyed the changing patterns and the contrast between the clouds with the sun shining on them and those that were in shadow, both set against the brilliant blue sky.

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Some Snowstorm

Fair Skies

Fair Skies

The forecast called for snow today. Not a blizzard but over the last few days the forecast varied from as much as 6 to 10 to as little as 3 inches. Well, we didn’t really come close to that. This morning when I got up, Accuweather was saying we’d get 0.2 inches between 9:00 and 10:00 and that was about it. As it turned out, it did snow but it certainly didn’t snow very much and there was never any on the ground. In the afternoon, this is what the sky to the east looked like. Not exactly menacing. It was fairly breezy and it got down into the low 30s (Fahrenheit) but as a winter storm it was definitely pretty weak.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

The sun is setting later and later now. Not long ago it was going down as I left work at 5:00 PM. Not it’s after 5:30. I’m not complaining (far from it). It means I have a little time after work to get some pictures while it’s still light. Of course today is Saturday so I have more time. I took a few pictures this morning in my mother-in-law’s yard but they aren’t anything worth posting (not that I haven’t posted plenty of such). The sunset wasn’t a full-sky affair this evening but still quite beautiful. This was taken out our back door, looking over the house behind us.

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Coming Home to Roost

Coming Home to Roost

Coming Home to Roost

In the evening, generally in the hour or so before sunset, there is a steady stream of crows, always flying in a generally southward direction. We often see them from our back yard in relatively small but significant numbers. As I was driving home this evening, enjoying the faint coloring of the eastern sky ahead of me, there were a lot of crows flying from left to right (north to south) across the road as I neared the bridge over Rock Creek. It’s hard to get a photograph of a flock of birds that is as impressive as the flock, unless there really are a lot of them, so this photo may not look like much. I was sitting in traffic and they just kept coming, at about this volume, the whole time I watched. I wonder where they go to roost. I’m glad it isn’t in my back yard.

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Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps

The Christmas break has been over for a while and I’ve been back at work since January 3rd. Nevertheless, the Christmas season continued until today. There were two things that signaled the end of the season. The first (and admittedly more important) is that Dorothy went back to school. Actually, she left last night and drove to Pennsylvania where she stayed with a friend. They went the rest of the way to school today. The second signal that Christmas is really gone is that the last of the ginger snaps have been eaten. These are the final two. They were as good as always but now they’re gone.

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Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

I’m on vacation this week. Staycation, actually. Not going anywhere, just taking off work. It’s become something of a tradition for me. With Dorothy home from school, it’s extra special. So, I don’t have to get up early to go to work. But I woke up early anyway. I managed to get back to sleep at 5:30 and again at 6:15 but the third time I woke up I decided to get up. I’m glad I did because just before 7:30 the sky lit up with a beautiful orange glow. It was raining very lightly but the clouds were thin enough that the sun was having a wonderful effect on them. This is what it looked like outside my front door this morning.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Yesterday I got a sunrise photo at about 7:15 AM. Today, we see a sunset at 4:45 PM. These are about the extremes for our latitude, yesterday and today being about the shortest days of the year. As of now, the sunrise will get earlier and the sunset later. I was coming home the round about way today, having had an errand in Olney, so I stopped at the commuter parking lot at the ICC and went to the top of the hill to get this picture of the sun setting behind the trees in the distance.

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Sunrise With Moon

Sunrise With Moon

Sunrise With Moon

At a little after 7:00 this morning I noticed that the color of the morning light was on the orange/pink side and I grabbed my camera and went out front to take a few pictures. This is the best time of year for sunrise photographs, not least because the sunrise is about as late as it gets so I’m more liable to be up and about. On the other hand, I generally have very little time to get the color so I grab my camera and run out without bothering with shoes, which I rarely wear when I’m inside. It’s not as cold as it was last week, fortunately, or that might have been painful.

I got a few pictures of the lower, eastern sky, where the most color was (and it was fading fast). I turned and took this one to the southeast, where the crescent moon was floating among the colored clouds. In some ways it isn’t as good a picture as the others but I thought the moon makes it unusual enough to warrant it’s appearance here.

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Iridescent Cloud

Iridescent Cloud

Iridescent Cloud

Where clouds are made up of especially tiny ice crystals or water droplets, they can cause light to be diffracted, creating this rainbow-like effect in the clouds. I saw one to the left of the sun as I was driving up interstate 95 from the capital beltway and then when I got onto Maryland 200 (the Inter-county Connector) I saw this on to the right of the sun. I was able to pull over and take a couple pictures of it before it faded away. I love clouds and take pictures of them fairly often but don’t figure most people will be as interested as I am, so only post them here when they are involved in sunsets or particularly unusual (like the Fallstreak hole I photographed in November, 2013). This isn’t nearly as rare as that, but I still like it when I see it.

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Reflections

Reflections

Reflections

A short drive (or long walk) from where I work are three connected buildings with great, reflective glass sides. They used to be the office and labs of Human Genome Sciences but they are now identified as GSK, which (a little digging proved) stands for Glaxo-Smith-Kline (although they insist on it being one word). According to Wikipedia, GSK is “a British pharmaceutical company headquartered in Brentford, London. Established in 2000 by a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham, GSK was the world’s sixth largest pharmaceutical company as of 2015.” But I’m here for the reflections.

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Lake Needwood

Lake Needwood

Lake Needwood

After voting today, I drove back to the office by way of Lake Needwood. The trees are a little past peak, I’d say (boy, that was fast) but are still quite beautiful. Also, the little bits of cloud contributed to the variety of colors. I’ll probably have a few more fall-color pictures for you, but it won’t be long until they are replaced by branches, dried leaves, and wintry scenes. While all the seasons have something to recommend them, for me, autumn is the prettiest, followed by Spring. But spring is followed by summer, which means heat, and I’m less fond of that than cold. I’m looking forward to the winter.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

At the request of a few of my fans (I know you’re out there, I can hear you breathing) I’m trying to balance the insect pictures with sunset pictures. Actually, I pretty much take the sunsets when I can, but it’s not something you can just go out and find. They happen or they don’t (well, they happen every day but they aren’t always worth photographing). Today as I was heading into Rockville in the evening the sky was quite beautiful. Unfortunately I didn’t have a good place to stop until I got to St. Mary’s Church at the corner of Veirs Mill and Rockville Pike. That’s where this was taken.

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Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

When I got home I went out back and took a few pictures of the clouds over our neighborhood. This is the sort of sky you’ll see in a painting and think, the sky never actually looks like that. Well, it does. I had every expectation that about an hour on there would be a very dramatic sunset and I left the camera by the back door so I could go out and get pictures. The fact that you are seeing this non-sunset picture has probably clued you in that it didn’t happen. In fact, an hour later when the sun was setting and I looked out at the darkening sky, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. So, this is it, then.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Just a few days ago my mom, her friend, Donna, and I were talking. Donna said that while she appreciated the photos I’ve been posting lately, would it be too much trouble to post more sunset pictures. The insects and spiders were starting to give her the willies (I’m not quoting her, but that was the general feeling of her comments). Well, here you are, Donna. I was happy to have this sunset given to me less than a week after our conversation and I’m also happy to share it with all of you. We will now return to our standard, creepy-crawly photographs tomorrow.

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Sunset Over The Pool

Sunset Over The Pool

Sunset Over The Pool

We don’t have a membership at our local swimming pool and this isn’t the pool in our neighborhood, in any case. Our church is moving to a new location and some friends who happen to live in the area of that new site decided to have a party at their pool and invite their friends and neighbors. Because they wanted to spend the evening visiting with their guests, they asked me if I’d cook for them and I was happy to do so. I still got to visit some, once the bulk of the cooking was done, and of course I took a few pictures.

In addition to this one of the sunset colored sky, reflecting in the pool, I got quite a few of kids blowing bubbles and also playing with glowsticks. It was a very pleasant evening, not too hot and not terribly humid. In fact, a perfect fall evening. Of course, we’ll have a return of summer next week but hopefully it won’t be too long before we get into autumnal mode, weather-wise.

Thanks to Tammy, Joe, Joan, Victor, and Sally for putting on a nice evening and thanks also for letting me be there, even though I live in a different part of town.

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Clouds and Sun

Clouds and Sun

Clouds and Sun

I was driving into Rockville today and had a little time to spare. I decided to go to the First Baptist cemetery at the corner of W. Jefferson Street and Great Falls Road. On the way there I was sitting at a light and saw these clouds. I had plenty of time (it’s a long red) and I grabbed my camera and got three nice pictures before I had to put the camera down and start driving again. I also got some nice pictures of the cemetery but I decided I like this one better.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I went out to take some insect pictures this evening but it was a bit dark to get anything worth much. I got a bunch of pictures of leaf hoppers but none of them were sharp and all were a bit of a disappointment. I was sort of resigned to post a picture that was only half way decent of a skipper.

It wasn’t a long time later that the sun began to set and I realize I’d have the opportunity to take some other pictures and save you all (both of you) from that. So, here’s a sunset, instead of the skipper.

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Lightning

Lightning

Lightning

I know this isn’t a really great picture of lightning but hey, it’s a picture of lightning. This storm came through the evening of the 15th and Dorothy and I stood out, first on the front porch and then out back under an overhang. Later we moved into the garage and looked out the open door. I took quite a few pictures trying to capture a bolt of lightning and this is the only one I got. A much easier way to capture lightning, of course, is to take video and then pull out the frame that captures it. But I wanted to do it with a standard shot. This was a 1/3 second exposure at f/8 and there it is. Lightning.

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Cloud Shadows

Cloud Shadows

Cloud Shadows

I think clouds are cool, especially when dramatically lit. This evening that’s what they were. They were also casting shadows. They often do, of course, when they are in a mostly clear sky, but this evening was different. Instead of casting shadows on the ground, as they normally do, the sun was low enough in the sky that they were casting shadows horizontally on each other. The clouds in this picture are not as dramatic as some I photographed this evening but I love the horizontal band of darker sky, which is the shadow of the cloud on the left. The atmospheric haze caught the light and made the ‘beam’ of the shadow show up.

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Dusk, Ocean Isle Beach

Dusk, Ocean Isle Beach

Dusk, Ocean Isle Beach

This isn’t quite a sunset picture, although the sun setting contributed to it. It’s more a picture of clouds as dusk drew on. Cathy and I were out on the beach for about fourty-five minutes starting about 7:45 and the clouds were really quite spectacular, even if I wasn’t able to capture them completely. The sky was as deep a blue as you’ll ever see it and the clouds on the right were quite dark. The white cloud at the top was growing quite rapidly and I thought we might get a big storm. A nice way to end a nice day at the beach. Cathy stayed out a little longer to check on the progress of a turtle next a little way up the beach.

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Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

It’s our fourth morning at the beach and we had our first sunrise worth my walking down to the beach to get pictures. I was afraid my lens would fog up when I went outside but it was actually cool out, about 68°F, so I had no problems. I took a bunch of pictures looking to the east and the rising sun. Then I turned around to find two ends of a rainbow, one over the ocean to the south and the other over the land. I got pictures of those, as well. What a beautiful morning.

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Dramatic Sky, Alligator Pond

Dramatic Sky, Alligator Pond

Dramatic Sky, Alligator Pond

I don’t know what, if anything, this pond is actually named but we call it Alligator Pond because we have seen alligators there in past years. This year we didn’t see any and didn’t see any of the water birds we’ve often seen, either. But the sky was fairly dramatic, so I took a picture of that instead. I think it made the short drive worth the effort. We stopped for Italian Ice on the way, too, which would have been enough on its own. But a nice picture is worth something in addition.

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Cloud

Cloud

Cloud

I was in south Rockville this evening, meeting the guys at Matchbox for dinner. I got there a little early and of course I had my camera with me. The sky was a really amazing blue and there were fluffy white clouds moving across it. Rather than take a picture of just a cloud, I decided to include a light post in the picture, hopefully breaking up the monotony at least a little. Still, it’s just a cloud on a beautiful blue sky. The pizza at Matchbox it killer, by the way, and paired with a vanilla porter, it was a wonderful meal.

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Sunset, St. Mary’s Parish Church

Sunset, St. Mary's Parish Church

Sunset, St. Mary’s Parish Church

I was on my way home this evening and the sun was setting in a fairly spectacular fashion. I pulled into the circle in front of St. Mary’s Parish Church to take a few pictures. This was the original St. Mary’s church in Rockville, founded in 1813. There were plans to tear down the old church when the new church building was planned in the 1960s. Fortunately, I think, it was preserved and is now known as the Chapel of Our Lady. The parish cemetery, seen here under the trees, is the final resting place for F. Scott and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (as well as many others, of course).

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

We had a bit of rain today. When I got to work, the person with whom I rode up in the elevator said the forecast was for storms between 2:00 and 10:00 p.m. but I didn’t realize it was going to be as severe as it was. It really rained. I have a window office so I often don’t turn on my overhead lights, much preferring the natural light (even though my office faces north and I don’t get direct sun) to awful fluorescent light. It got so dark I needed to turn on a lamp. It wasn’t raining when I drove home but rained hard again after I got there. I hadn’t taken any pictures so I went out front and took some of the rain. They turned out alright but as it happens, I decided not to post them after all.

Sunset

Sunset

I went to dinner with four other guys, eating and having a brew at Dogfish Head in Gaithersburg. When we left it was about 8:45 and the sun was low in the sky, the clouds had cleared overhead, and the western sky was absolutely beautiful. I took a few pictures through powerlines from along West Diamond Avenue and then drove up to the small shopping center on the southwest corner of Clopper and Quince Orchard Roads. From there I had a less obstructed view of the sunset and that’s where I took these two pictures. Full disclosure, I edited out some light posts that I think detracted from the view.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I was on my way home late this evening and the sun was getting low in the sky. I stopped at St. Mary’s Catholic Church to take a few pictures. First I took some of the reflections in the building across the street. After that I took some of clouds as they were lit up with color by the setting sun. This is the best of those I took, and I think it’s reasonably nice. It’s actually an HDR image, made from three separate pictures taken with different exposures and combined (using Corel AfterShot Pro 2) to give a more dynamic range to the image. I have mixed feelings about the overall look of HDR images but it really does produce some striking images.

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Easter Sunrise Service

Easter Sunrise Service

Easter Sunrise Service

It’s been a very nice weekend so far and Easter Sunday was nice, as well. For a few years now we’ve been going to the Fourth Presbyterian Church sunrise service at 6:00 a.m. on Easter. We woke up at about 5:00 and got there just as the service was starting. Of course it’s still dark when the service starts but by the end the sky has begun to turn an amazingly deep blue (which is when I took this picture).

After the service we went to the upper room for breakfast and to chat with folks that we don’t see nearly enough. I especially enjoyed talking with Greg, Aimee, and Michael, among others. We also went to the 8:00 a.m. service in the sanctuary, their regular early service. Easter music is among my favorite, generally better than Christmas music in my opinion, and Easter music at Fourth is particularly good, being accompanied by an orchestra. Today that included singing Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, Thine Is The Glory, (both of which we also sang outside earlier) and the service ending Hallelujah Chorus.

It’s a very good way to start an Easter celebration that really continued all day for us.

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Orion

Orion

Orion

It was a beautiful evening and I enjoyed spending it with a couple of guys on Steve’s back patio. The stars were quite beautiful, it was cool, and I was with friends. I took a few photographs of the stars. This one had an exposure of 30 seconds at f/8 and turned out reasonably well, although even in 30 seconds, the earth’s rotation is enough to blur the starts a little. This is Orion with the uppermost bright start being Betelgeuse. At 4:00 to that is Bellatrix. Then the belt, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka (left to right) and sword, the middle ‘star’ of which is actually the Orion Nebula (Messier 42). Finally there are the feet, Saiph on our left and the brighter Rigel on our right. The bright start in the lower left, the brightest start in our night sky, is Sirius in Canis Major (the greater dog).

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Beautiful Sky

Beautiful Sky

Beautiful Sky

I was out in the late morning today to have my car’s emissions tested. That took longer than hoped but not really longer than expected. I was behind a car in line that I’ve seen before. I remembered it because it is a little Mazda Miata convertible with a bumper sticker that says, “Honk if you’ve Passed P-Chem” and it always makes me smile and wonder a little about the driver. Anyway, while I was out then the sky was mostly overcast. When I left work, however, it was quite beautiful, with a pale blue sky showing through between fluffy, white clouds.

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Snow Squall

Snow Squall

Snow Squall

It’s been relatively warm the last week or so and most of the snow that fell a little over two weeks ago is gone (except the big piles where it was plowed off of roads and parking lots). It got a bit cooler today, down to about freezing, and there were some pretty significant snow squalls, starting in the morning and lasting into the early afternoon. By the end of the day it was clearing up and nothing had really accumulated on the ground, but it was pretty as it was falling. This was taken from my office window, a little after 1:00 p.m.

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Sunrise, Greensboro, NC

Sunrise, Greensboro, NC

Sunrise, Greensboro, NC

Yesterday (Friday, February 5) we drove down to Greensboro for the memorial service for my Uncle George. This morning, after breakfast I was drinking my second cup of coffee and ready in the breakfast room of our hotel. I happened to glance out the window and this is what I saw. I rad back up to the room, grabbed my camera and went outside to take a dozen or so pictures. That’s quite a nice way to start off any day, but particularly one when we’ll be mourning a loss, as we did today.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

After work today I needed to run a few errands in southern Rockville. When I came out of the store, there was a fair amount of color in the western sky. I grabbed my camera and put the long lens on it so that I could get the colored sky without the buildings and parking lot lights in the foreground. Actually, I took a few with them showing, as well, but this one, I think, is the best. A month ago it was dark by the time I left work, so the days are clearly getting longer. We still have a fair amount of winter ahead of us, however.

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Sunset From My Office

Sunset From My Office

Sunset From My Office

At the risk of posting too many sunset pictures, here’s another one. They seem to be fairly popular with the general public, so I guess there won’t be too many complaints. I happened to look out my window at just the right time this evening (5:23 p.m. to be precise) and this is what I saw to the west (which is at an angle to the left out my window. Not extreme color but still quite lovely, I think.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I have fallen behind in posting to my blog again and this picture is from a week ago. I stood out the back door and watched the sunset progress this evening, lighting up the scattered clouds with bright orange. I tried to get a few with the snow in the foreground but they didn’t really turn out all that well. It was cool today but the forecast is for it to get warm over the weekend and the snow should start to melt. I’m not bothered, one way or the other, but I know quite a few people are getting tired of it. I enjoyed the sunset, regardless.

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Geese Aloft

Geese Aloft

Geese Aloft

After the snow we had Friday evening through late last night, you were probably expecting me to post another snow picture for today. The snow was 25 or 26 inches deeps in our yard (depending on where we measured and avoiding obvious drifts). That’s a pretty good snowfall for here and I’m getting old enough that a snow blower is starting to look very attractive. Still, we got dug out and went for a walk (well, we went for a walk yesterday while it was snowing, so, what would you expect?). On the way back, I hear this flock of geese calling as they flew overhead. The sky was beautiful all day today, an intense blue with occasional (but friendly) clouds.

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The Storm of the Century (Again)

The Storm of the Century (Again)

The Storm of the Century (Again)

It’s just over 15 years into the twenty-first century and we’ve already had two “storms of the century” (2003 and 2010, some might also count 2006). All the forecast models say that we will have our third over the next two days. Considering how many storms of the century I’ve seen, I must be ancient. I’m so old that I remember when they were just big snow storms (and there was significant fear in some quarters that we were entering another ice age!). The news media is having its usual hysterics. It started snowing early this afternoon. When this photo was taken, there was barely an inch on the ground. By the time we went to bed at about 11:00, there were about six inches with considerably more due overnight. Let the Hunker Games begin.

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Moon Through The Trees

Moon Through The Trees

Moon Through The Trees

As the sun was getting low in the western sky last night, the tops of the trees were beautifully lit. A picture of trees lit by the setting sun, though, isn’t really all that interesting and even the color isn’t as impressive in most pictures as it is in real life. So, I moved until the moon was in the frame and hope that helps enough that you won’t walk away for good. I found it interesting that even as far away as the tree branches are, at 300mm and f/11, they are not within the depth of field with the moon. I could focus on the branches or the moon. I opted for the moon.

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Sunset Over 270

Sunset Over 270

Sunset Over 270

I was out today running a fairly wide assortment of errands. I happened to be on Shady Grove Road and decided to run into Wonder Books (I still call it the Book Alcove in my mind but at least I’m finally remembering that that’s wrong and has been for a long time). When I came out the sun was setting so I looked for a place where I could see the sunset, which promised a bit of color. I found a parking lot overlooking Interstate 270 and took a dozen or so pictures through a chain link fence. It’s not the most spectacular sunset I’ve seen (even this week) but it was still pretty intense.

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Lake Needwood at Dusk

Lake Needwood at Dusk

Lake Needwood at Dusk

This evening the sunset wasn’t nearly as spectacular as last night but it was still quite pretty. I happened to be coming home via Needwood Road and stopped at Lake Needwood to take a few pictures. It was a bit darker than I would have liked and the sun was just hitting the tops of the trees on the far bank, but the sky was a beautiful blue and the wispy clouds over the lake were really nice. This was taken from right beside the road, standing on the low guardrail to give me a tiny bit of extra height.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I drove back from Boston today, having returned Dorothy to school for the spring semester. There had been mixed rain and snow overnight and there was ice on the parking lot when I got up. Once out on the roads, there were no real problems with the weather, though. The sky was clear in the morning and once I got away from Boston and the stop-and-go traffic on Interstate 95 things were fine. Late in the day I was driving directly into the lowering sun, which was tiring, but it meant that the sunset was directly in front of me as the sun sank into the west. It really was quite magnificent.

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After The Rain

After The Rain

After The Rain

We had a pretty strong rainstorm this afternoon. It had been drizzling pretty much all day and then at about 3:00 it really came down. We heard that there was a rainbow and I saw some pictures that were amazing. We didn’t see it where we were, though.

I took some pictures while it was raining. I love the soft colors during a rainstorm. I also lover the sound of rain. If it isn’t too cold, I love being outside when it’s raining. Today was cool but not cold and it was quite warm inside so I enjoyed being outdoors in the rain.

It didn’t rain too long and as the rain stopped, the clouds started to clear and the sun was shining through and reflecting on the water in the parking lot at church. Quite a different feel from when it was raining. But pretty in a different way. A change from soft, muted colors it became dramatic with bright and intense colors.

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Brief Afternoon Blueness

Brief Afternoon Blueness

Brief Afternoon Blueness

It rained quite a bit today, off and on all morning. It had the look of a day that will be dreary for the duration. However, there was a brief episode of clearing at about 4:00 this afternoon. I was fortunate enough to turn around and look out the window and see it. The clouds were puffy and white, the sky between them was a deep, lovely blue, and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful evening. By the time I left work, though, it was overcast and grey again (but not actually raining).

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Pond Reflections

Pond Reflections

Pond Reflections

Cathy and I went up to Pennsylvania with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law today to cut Christmas trees. It’s probably silly to go so far to cut trees but it’s become something of a tradition. Before going to get our trees, we stopped for a little while at the farm. It was a pretty day, with dramatic clouds and I took a few pictures of the pond, reflecting the trees and the clouds quite nicely. This is my favorite of the bunch. After getting our trees we stopped for lunch at Ott House in Emmitsburg on the way home.

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Sun Through The Fog

Sun Through The Fog

Sun Through The Fog

This morning, as I was leaving for work (and running about 15 minutes late), I enjoyed the sight of the sun, streaming through a light fog that was just about to finish burning off. I had noticed the fog earlier but it was so thin, I didn’t think much of it in terms of photography. But the light in the fog out our front door was nice, so I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. Here you are.

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Another Sunset From My Office

Another Sunset From My Office

Another Sunset From My Office

Once again I had meant to go out during the day and take some pictures but once again I got busy and by the time I thought to go out, the light was failing. Actually, the sun was setting. Fortunately, there was a little color in the sky and by looking at an angle out my window I was able to see some clouds, lit by the setting sun.

It isn’t a particularly spectacular sunset, but it’s a sunset and better than nothing.

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Sunset From My Office

Sunset From My Office

Sunset From My Office

Now that the sun is going down before I leave work, it’s sort of tough to get good sunset pictures. My office looks northwest, so today, as the sun was going down, I did get a view, if I looked to the left out the window, of a little color on the clouds. It’s not much of a sunset, I admit, but I’ll take what I can get.

We had a few quite dreary days of rain and it finally cleared up today, so that was nice.

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Night

Night

Night

This picture isn’t everything I thought it might be, but it still evokes a memory. The crescent moon was shining through the quickly moving clouds this evening at about 9:00 p.m. and I found a place to park, so I could enjoy it for a few minutes. I put the camera on the roof of the car and took a few pictures. This one was with the 70–300mm lens at 240mm, f/5.7 for 1 second. It’s not very sharp, but still kind of nice. I got one more after this before the clouds got thicker and the moon was gone.

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Yet Another Sunset

Yet Another Sunset

Yet Another Sunset

We have sunsets every day, as I think I’ve mused before. But really spectacular sunsets are much more rare. We often get pretty sunsets, though, and this evening was a good example. I was driving directly away from the sun and could see it in my rear view mirror. I found a place to stop for a picture. Actually, it was the same median where I took the picture titled Zelkovas On Fire (Friday, October 30, 2015). Most of the sky was not particularly colored but with a 300mm lens, I was able to look only at the area around the sun, which was quite brilliantly orange.

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Lake Needwood

Lake Needwood

Lake Needwood

I headed down by Lake Needwood on the way home this evening. The sunlight was so sharp and the air was so clear. The evening light, with the southwestern hills casting shadows on the other side of the lake, was incredibly beautiful. The wind was quite low so there was only a little bit of movement in the water and the colors were reflecting wonderfully. As you can see, most of the leaves are down, but there are oaks still holding on to the deep reds, enhanced by the color of the light.

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Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

I left work early today to drive up to BWI to pick up my mom and others who were returning from a trip to a few eastern European countries. They spent about three weeks in Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Slovenia. It was nice to have them back and to hear about their time away. On the way up to the airport, the sun was setting and I took this picture of clouds in the northwest, lit by the evening sun.

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Dusky Clouds

Dusky Clouds

Dusky Clouds

The clouds were quite dramatic as I drove home this evening. I would have liked to stop and take a picture but the main road has no where to pull over where I’d be able to get a good view of the sunset. I pulled into the nearby shopping center and could see the clouds but the actual sunset was hidden. So, I made do with what I could see. These clouds were to the south of the setting sun and were nice enough, if not full of color, to deserve a picture of two.

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Foggy Neighborhood

Foggy Neighborhood

Foggy Neighborhood

The roads in our neighborhood are not particularly dramatic, in general. On rare occasions, like this morning, when the fog was fairly thick, they can be fairly beautiful (however search the web for “Dark Hedges Ireland” sometime for a really dramatic lane). As I went out to drive to work today I thought I’d spend a few minutes driving around the neighborhood taking pictures.

It would probably be better without the mailboxes and lamp posts or the minivan parked on the right, but it’s still quite pretty. These are fairly large red oaks, planted in 1968 or 1969, so a little over 45 years old, and going strong. One of the street trees in front of our house, planted at the same time, died and was removed (that’s where Cathy’s marigold bed is now). The other two are still healthy but not as large as these, which are nicely proportioned. The fog adds to the drama, of course.

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Lake Needwood

Lake Needwood

Lake Needwood

I know I’ve done Lake Needwood recently (see Friday, October 23, 2015) but I went to work that way again today and stopped for some pictures. The sky was an amazing blue and the reflection of the sky was, if anything, more amazing. Many of the trees have lost their leaves but there is still some color left. A little orange, yellow, and red to contrast with the blue. Definitely worth stopping for ten minutes, even if it made me a few minutes late getting to work.

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Evening Light

Evening Light in the Tops of the Trees

Evening Light in the Tops of the Trees

I’ve been enjoying the light after leaving work but because we went off so-called daylight saving time yesterday, the sun sets just about the time I leave work now. When I went out to my car this evening, the evening sun was just on the tops of the trees, both behind my building, where I park, and in front of the building, across the street. This is the view past my building to those across the street, where the trees are on a hill. My office is on the right, just out of the picture, looking out on the Norway spruce.

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C&O Canal, Below Swain’s Lock

C&O Canal, Below Swain’s Lock

C&O Canal, Below Swain’s Lock

It was another absolutely beautiful day today. Cathy had a soccer game and I was in Potomac anyway, so I decided to go for a walk on the C&O Canal. I drove out River Road and down to Swain’s Lock, walking down the towpath towards D.C. There were quite a few people out, as you’d expect on a day like this, but fewer than there would have been in summer, I suppose. It was the perfect temperature for a walk and the sky was remarkably blue. The colors in the trees seem to have passed their peak, in general, but there was still a fair amount, here and there.

The beech trees are still mostly green and the sycamores nearly bare. There was less red then one could hope for, adding exclamation points to the vistas, but there were a few places, like around this rock, where there was still a riot of color to be seen.

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Autumn Sunset

Autumn Sunset

Autumn Sunset

Here I am posting a second time today (and the third picture). I don’t generally get complaints about sunsets, though, so I’ll go ahead. Actually, sunsets seem to be my number two most popular subject after people and family members in particular. I guess I understand that. Sunsets are pretty amazing, in spite of how common they are. The happen often (well, technically they happen every evening, but they are not spectacular every evening). But they are fleeting and ephemeral and really are not captured in a photograph. We only love the photographs because they remind us of the real thing, which is so much better.

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Trees By Moonlight

Trees By Moonlight

Trees By Moonlight

I didn’t have a lot of time to get out for picture taking today. After work I fixed myself dinner before heading off for a meeting. Because traffic is so unpredictable around here, I like to give myself extra time, particularly on some routes. That includes Muncaster Mill Road, which sometimes backs up terribly. Tonight it wasn’t so bad and I got where I was going a bit early.

The moon was out and shining through the trees where I parked and I thought I’d take a few pictures of that before going in. This one is a 6 second exposure at f/5.7, with a little extra light on the trees from my flashlight, which is a fairly bright LED model.

I also took a few pictures with the camera aimed straight up, showing stars and with the clouds blurring a bit due to the 30 second exposure, but those were not very good.

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Sunset With Powerlines

Sunset With Powerlines

Sunset With Powerlines

I was driving over to Ben’s house this evening for a meeting. I had already taken a few pictures of my dinner. I know you all were hoping to see one of those, but as I turned off of Rt. 108 onto Fieldcrest Road, the sun was sinking into the west behind this line of power lines. I pulled off and took a dozen pictures of so. I don’t usually take industrial type pictures, although I also like them when I see them. This one turned out pretty well, though.

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Evening Sky

Evening Sky

Evening Sky

I took a few pictures in the back yard this afternoon but I wasn’t very happy with them. I had sort of resigned myself to posting a picture that I wasn’t particularly excited about. At a little after 6:00 I went to a dinner engagement and as I parked, the sky to the west was starting to get a deeper shade of blue and the clouds were quite lovely. So, you get a reprieve from a boring picture and get a beautiful western autumn sky in early autumn, instead. You cannot tell from this picture but just below the image is interstate 270. Not particularly lovely, but the noise wasn’t enough to counteract the beauty above.

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Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

We were up bright and early this morning and got off by about 6:20. We made good time and didn’t have any real traffic issues all the way to Boston. We dropped Dorothy off at school and then returned later for Catacombs, a service held in the chapel on Sunday evenings. Before that started, though, we enjoyed the beginning of the lunar eclipse. I had brought my tripod but unfortunately, I had removed a piece from it to use with a flash bracket and had forgotten the bring that, so the tripod was basically useless (I couldn’t attach the camera to it). In consequence, this is hand held, and therefore not nearly as sharp as I would like. Still, it’s pretty clear that there is a shadow beginning to cover the moon.

I did get some pictures of the rust colored moon during the total phase, but they are less sharp even than this, requiring exposures of more than half a second or so. Not worth posting, I’m afraid.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I’m still playing catch-up on my posts. This evening I was looking around for things to photograph. It was too dark to easily get pictures in the yard and I didn’t really have any ideas. Then, I was blessed with a subject that I didn’t have to go far to see.

The sun set into the west, as it tends to do, and the clouds lit up beautifully.

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Morning Rainbow

Morning Rainbow

Morning Rainbow

About an hour after I got up, I noticed that the light out front was quite warm colored. That often means there is a good sunrise but when I looked out the color, while pretty, was fairly flat and not really suited for a picture. I happened to look out the kitchen window (which faces west south west), and not only was the color about the same but there was a rainbow going all the way across the sky. I woke Cathy and we both enjoyed it for about fifteen minutes and (surprise!) I took a few pictures. Rainbows are somewhat hard to photograph well. They generally aren’t as bright in the picture as they seemed in real life. Also, the surrounding scenery usually comes out darker than it really was. This one turned out reasonably well, though.

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Sunset, Perquimans County, North Carolina

Sunset, Perquimans County, North Carolina

Sunset, Perquimans County, North Carolina

It was a long and hard week although I’m not going to go into details here. Those who know us know what happened. Anyway, this morning my mom and I drove down to North Carolina for a family reunion. It was a long day, especially considering we drove home again afterward but I’m ever so glad we went. After a week like this, being with family is as good as it gets. I took a few pictures during the reunion (and passed the 110,000 mark on this camera), but I decided that I’d post this picture, taken shortly after we left, instead.

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Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

We’ve had some pretty spectacular sunrises at Ocean Isle Beach in past years. For instance, on July 31 of last year. The sunrises this year didn’t really rank up there but we only had two of them. Perhaps later in the week they were better. Nevertheless, I was up before sunrise (which was at 6:21 this morning) so I figured I should go out and take some pictures. This one turned out reasonably well. The clouds off to the right were pretty dramatic, at least.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

An obvious difficulty when taking a photograph that includes the sun is that it’s fairly bright. I mean, that’s pretty obvious, I guess, but what do you do about it. It isn’t just bright, it is very, very bright. If you shorten the exposure so that the sun doesn’t overwhelm the photograph, then the rest of the sky becomes very dark.

One obvious thing to do is wait for a sunset when the sun is rendered darker due to atmospheric conditions. At times like that, the number of stops between the brightness of the sun and the sky is reduced to a more manageable amount. Even so, there is still a difference. I confess to cheating a little for this image. In the original the sun is nearly pure white, still having been overexposed a bit. But I took various exposures, including one that is three f/stops darker (1/3200 of a second instead of 1/400). The sun you see in this image came from the darker image, while the rest is from the lighter. It works, though, because that’s actually the way our eyes see the scene, having more dynamic range than camera sensors.

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Rockville, Jupiter, and Venus

Rockville, Jupiter, and Venus

Rockville, Jupiter, and Venus

We had dinner with family this evening at a favorite Chinese restaurant and when we came out, the sky to the west was that wonderful, dark, almost-black, blue overhead fading to a paler blue towards the horizon. Jupiter and Venus were quite close together, seen here on the left a little above the center of the photo. In the other direction, the moon was quite beautiful and had Saturn visible right next to it.

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Sunset, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sunset, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sunset, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Pretty much everywhere has sunsets. Same sun, even. Some places the atmospheric conditions are generally more conducive to pretty sunsets than others, but they can be fine wherever you are, if you are fortunate. We had a lovely sunset after dinner this evening after a rainbow before dinner. This is looking southeast, actually, which generally isn’t the direction for the best sunset pictures, but when you are in a town or city, sometimes you don’t have an uninterrupted view to the west and you have to make do. This will do, I think.

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And Yet Another Sunset

Sunset Panorama

Sunset Panorama

I hesitate to post another sunset but they seem to be popular. This one is a panorama made from three individual shots that I stitched together. They were taken in the horizontal aspect, where often I take a longer series of vertical shots. In this case the line of color was fairly narrow and with my 100mm lens, the shorter height of the images when horizontal was enough to get what I wanted. We were out in the upper part of the county for a birthday party for a friend when I noticed the color in the sky. I walked around to the front of the house and took these from the road, looking down the cul de sac to the west.

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Richmond at Sunset

Richmond at Sunset

Richmond at Sunset

Cathy and I went down to Richmond for Dorothy’s graduation from her intern program today. In the evening, after a brief encounter with the historic Ebenezer (inside joke), we went to Brown’s Island and enjoyed the view of the James River. We saw egrets, herons, and quite a few ospreys, both flying and sitting on nests.

After that we had a pretty good dinner of barbecue at Alamo BBQ. As we finished eating the sun was sinking in the west and the sky was lighting up. We walked up into Jefferson Park where we had a pretty good view of the sunset over Richmond.

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Sunrise Easter Service

Sunrise Easter Service

Sunrise Easter Service

One of our favorite aspects of the celebration of Easter is the sunrise service at Fourth Presbyterian Church. For a long time Rock Creek didn’t have a sunrise service and in general doesn’t make as big a deal of Easter as some churches (and hardly mentions Palm Sunday at all). So, we go to the church where we met, and where Cathy’s mom still goes. Dorothy knows quite a few folks there, as well, having participated in their youth group quite a bit over the years.

Last year I set my alarm clock to the wrong time and we only got there as the service was almost over. Previous years we got it right and this year I got it right, again. It was a chilly 40°F this morning, which is cool but not really bitter and certainly not as cold as it has been in some previous years.

I only took a few pictures. It is a church service, after all. In the first few the sky is nearly black. A little later it was the most beautiful, luminous blue. This is one of the early pictures.

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Covenant Village

Covenant Village

Covenant Village

Our youth retreat was at Covenant Village again this year. I really like it there, especially the quiet. It was 18°F this morning when I got up though, which is more like a winter retreat than a spring retreat. There were clouds moving across the sky all day and it was quite lovely. To the south from the main meeting room there is a hilltop field that you can see through the trees. I went out to take pictures and the sun was shining on that spot and it looked quite nice, I thought.

This is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) photograph, made from three images taken at different exposures and then combined into one image. This process allows you to capture detail in shadows that would otherwise be black while still getting highlight details that would normally go pure white. Sometimes it it overdone and way too obvious. For all I know, this is one of those times, but I think it’s a pretty picture, anyway.

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Up, Up, and Away

Contrails

Contrails

The sky was a beautiful blue this morning but was criscrossed with contrails from a bunch of jets, either coming to or leaving from one of the local airports. I don’t know where everyone is going but there were a lot this morning.

This is the view from our kitchen door at about 7:15 a.m. It made me want to travel. Just get on a plane and go anywhere. I’m not particular, I’d be happy to be anywhere else.

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A Final (We Hope) Snowfall

A Final (We Hope) Snowfall

A Final (We Hope) Snowfall

The forecasters all got this one about right. It’s been relatively warm so it didn’t really stick to paved surfaces but the grass was covered and it was another beautiful morning. After the last snowfall and then the warmer weather, I think most folks around here were ready for winter to be over but we got this one, last dusting just to remind us that it can snow in the spring, as well. Because it didn’t affect traffic and I didn’t have to worry about shoveling the driveway, I was perfectly happy to enjoy this snowfall.

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Sunset

Another Sunset

Another Sunset

It’s been feeling decidedly springlike for a little while now and with the period of daylight hours shifted to a bit later in the day, we had some time after work to go for a walk in the neighborhood. Of course I brought my camera, just in case, but I only took a handful of pictures. As we were heading back home, walking to the west, the sun was setting through the trees.

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And Yet Another Sunset

Sunset, Out Back

Sunset, Out Back

Are you getting tired of all these sunsets? I know they are beautiful, and all that, but is too much of a good thing a bad thing? If so, I can stop, or at least slow down a little. It does seem that they come in waves. We’ll have wonderful sunsets or beautiful sun rises for three or four days in a week, then we won’t have one again for a month. Not sure why that is. Still, I generally don’t complain when they come along. I quite like them, really. I opened the back door and took a bunch, including this one, this evening. While I was doing that, Cathy, who had stayed a bit late at work, called to say there was a great sunset. Yep, I noticed.

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Two Sunsets

Sunset One, Looking Up

Sunset One, Looking Up

I wasn’t sure what I’d have a chance to get photographs of today. Cathy and I were heading from work out to Potomac because the president of Gordon College was in town and we had been invited to meet him, along with other prospective and potential students and their parents. It happened to be at the home of some friends of ours. We stopped at the library to return some books and I waited outside, enjoying the clouds, quickly moving across the sky.

When Cathy came back outside, we had about 45 minutes before we needed to be there and we didn’t fell like getting there early. So, we drove to MacArthur Boulevard and then down to Old Angler’s Inn and walked down to the C&O Canal. It was a bit muddy and we were not really dressed for hiking but we walked up the tow path a little way to a spot across from Sherwin Island. We watched the sun go down and light up the clouds.

Sunset Two, Looking Down

Sunset Two, Looking Down

As we walked back, I kept turning around and taking pictures. As I crossed the bridge over the tow path, I took these two shots. the first of them, above, is (obviously) looking up through the trees to the west. The second, to the right, is looking down into the cold, still waters of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. I couldn’t decide which I liked better. I think they are both pretty nice, so, I’m posting them both.

If you know me, you’ll be surprised to learn that I didn’t take any pictures at the meeting with the folks from Gordon.

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Another Foggy, Rainy Evening

Another Foggy, Rainy Evening

Another Foggy, Rainy Evening

Last Wednesday I posted a picture that turned out to be fairly popular, if the comments and “likes” on Instagram and Facebook are anything to go by. In that picture (see: Fog Amid The Trees, March 04, 2015) there was a beech tree against a backdrop of tree trunks. This evening is was actively raining, not just foggy, but the effect in the woods was very similar. Like last week, traffic was a bit slow in spots and as I waited to move I took a few pictures out the window. I don’t think this one is quite as good as last week’s and I really should know better than to try to reproduce something that’s already worked, but here you are.

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Walkin’ In A Winter Wonderland

Cathy In The Snow

Cathy In The Snow

I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I’m posting pictures of snow today. The forecast was pretty accurate, with the snow starting to fall at about 7:00 a.m. and coming down pretty steadily until the late evening. In all we had about seven and a half inches of new snow, piling up on top of about five inches that was already on the ground and covered with a layer of ice.

Early in the afternoon Cathy and I walked to the grocery store. On the way, I took a few pictures of her with the gently falling snow swirling all around. She also took a couple snaps of me, but I’ll spare you those. Actually, in them I am wearing the same jacket and hat as in the picture on the Who I Am page. That photo was also taken during a snow storm, although it was from quite twelve years ago, on February 16, 2003. I really suppose I should have a more recent picture of myself. I’ll get on that.

Norbeck Road

Norbeck Road

The second photo here is of Norbeck Road with the snow coming down. It was falling quite steadily but the wind was not terribly strong. Walking home it was blowing into our faces, though, which did make the return trip a bit more taxing. We were gone about an hour and enjoyed being out. It was nice, though, to have a warm, dry home to come back to.

We truly are blessed.

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Fog Amid The Trees

Fog Amid The Trees

Fog Amid The Trees

Driving home today there was a disabled vehicle with a police cruiser blocking one lane of Norbeck Road. That slowed things down considerably, as you might imagine. It did give me more time to enjoy the foggy woods above Rock Creek. Because I was stopped a fair amount, I was able to take a few pictures. They don’t perfectly capture the mood, but I think this one is pretty good, especially with the added color of the beech tree in the foreground.

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Urban Sunset

Urban Sunset

Urban Sunset

I suppose technically this is a sub-urban sunset, as we were in the suburbs, but it’s certainly not a rural sunset. We were in Rockville, paying a visit to Second Story Books this afternoon. As we left the sun was sinking into the west (as it does most days) and the sky was turning orange. There was no way we were going to get somewhere wide open for a beautiful vista so we pulled into the parking lot of a local business establishment (Aladdin Carpet & Floors, to be precise), and I took a few pictures through the power lines and construction equipment across the street.

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Sunset Over Safeway

Sunset Over Safeway

Sunset Over Safeway

As I was driving home today the eastern sky in front of me was quite beautiful with a line of clouds running almost due east-west straight ahead. I took a couple pictures of it as I was stopped in traffic. Then, I stopped at Safeway to pick up a few things. The western sky, over the top of the shopping center, only had a few small clouds but they were quite lovely. With my long lens and standing up on the side of my car to get a little higher up and over the foreground distractions, I was able to get this picture. By the time I got out of the store, not only was the sun down but all the clouds had moved off and the sky was a brilliant, deep, indigo blue.

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Orion

Orion

Orion

It was pretty cool out when we got home late this evening. The wind was blowing and it was clear, with only a few clouds quickly moving across the sky. Orion was setting over our house and I got my tripod and went out to take some pictures. You can see his belt, the three stars Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, running horizontally across the middle of the picture. The bright star at the top of this picture is Betelgeuse (Orion’s right shoulder). The star closest to our roof is Rigel. Other stars are Meissa, Bellatrix, and Saiph. Sirius in Canis Major, the brightest star in the night sky, is just over the top of the tree to the left in this picture.

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Winter Sun

Winter Sun

Winter Sun

It has been cold a bit lately and there is snow and ice on the ground. This evening I was looking out the window of my home office and seeing different patterns of ice on the window. This somewhat abstract image, which I named “Winter Sun”, is actually the out-of-focus light of a street lamp shining on the ice riming the window pane and seen through the screen. The image was much more orange as taken but I adjusted the white balance to get a cooler, bluer color, more evocative of the winter landscape.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Shortly after we got home from Richmond yesterday there was a really nice sunset. Because I already posted three photos from Saturday and because sunsets aren’t terribly rare, I decided not to post any of them. Today the sunset wasn’t quite as spectacular but still pretty nice, so, today you get a sunset picture. That’s the way it goes.

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Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise

It was a bit chilly this morning, somewhere around 18°F At about 7:00 I noticed that there was a bit of color in the western sky. I grabbed my camera and then paused long enough to put on my shoes. I figured I might be out for a little while and under 20°F I usually wear shoes if I’m doing more than grabbing the mail. It was a wonderful sunrise, as you can see (this is to the east, of course). With the rain and snow we’ve been having it was very welcome.

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Moon Through the Trees

Moon Through the Trees

Moon Through the Trees

After taking the previous picture, of the rainbow on our family room carpet, Cathy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood. It’s been a bit cool out and even I wore a sweater and gloves (don’t be shocked—when it’s less than 20°F, even I’ll wear a bit more if I’m going to be out for a while).

As we walked east, the waxing gibbous moon was rising through the trees and I stopped long enough to take a handful of pictures. This one turned out best, the others being a little dark.

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Single-Cloud Sunset

Single-Cloud Sunset

Single-Cloud Sunset

The sky was mostly clear today, at least late in the day. As I was driving home, watching the sun set in the rear-view mirror, I could see a bit of color very low in the sky but other than that, there were just a few small clouds high in the sky. I didn’t have time to get anywhere that I could both stop and have a good view of the horizon. I stopped for a few groceries, though and the few clouds overhead started to turn color. So, here’s a solitary cloud, lit up by the setting sun. Not your spectacular, all-encompassing sunset, but pretty, nonetheless.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

As I was leaving work it looked like a good sunset was shaping up. The sky was partly cloudy with clouds moving across an otherwise brilliantly blue sky. I got to my new sunset location with about ten minutes to spare before the clouds really started to light up. Of course, the best sunsets generally need the sun lighting the clouds from below, which means it’s a very brief thing as the sun drops below the horizon. This evening, unfortunately, there were clouds blocking the sun at that point, so this is as bright as it got. It was beautiful but not everything it could have been. But I couldn’t complain. I was outdoors on a wonderfully lovely evening enjoying a fleeting glimpse of solar splendor.

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Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

It was nearly 70°F yesterday but as we were driving home from Richmond it began to rain. By the time we got home (about 9:30 p.m.) it was below 50°F. This morning it was not much above freezing most of the day and by the evening it was fairly cold. On the way home I found a good spot for taking sunset pictures. I’ll need to plan on coming home that way when a sunset is in the offing. This is a panorama of five images stitched together quickly (and not necessarily expertly, but they look pretty good). I got a few individual images with a line of geese flying across, as well, but I decided I like the panorama best.

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Clouds

Clouds

Clouds

It was a beautiful, if cool, day today and this was the view out our kitchen door at about 4:30 p.m. Not bad. Sometimes I wish we lived somewhere a bit less built up, somewhere a bit more natural and scenic. But there is plenty of beauty where we live and it’s important to be on the lookout for it. Sometimes it hits you when you least expect it. In this case, I happened to mention to Dorothy that I hadn’t taken any pictures yet. She said, “you should look out the back door, then” (or something to that effect). Yep, worth it.

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Pre-Thanksgiving Snow

Pre-Thanksgiving Snow

Pre-Thanksgiving Snow

Well, the forecast was for snow. I thought it was supposed to be overnight but when I got up this morning, it had only been raining. It seemed to be on the edge of freezing as I came in to work. Later in the morning I got an email from my brother George saying there was a dusting on the ground in New Jersey. Albert replied that it looked about the same here. That’s when I turned around and saw the snow for the first time. I guess I was concentrating on what I was doing.

This wasn’t any sort of record in terms of earliest and certainly not the heaviest but it was still rather early and rather heavy for this area. It was coming down quite hard for a while, although it never really stuck to the roads, just to grassy areas and on cars.

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Tree By Moonlight

Tree By Moonlight

Tree By Moonlight

I was out this evening and just before coming home I enjoyed looking at the moon for a while. It was fairly high in the sky at this point (about 9:30 PM) and there were clouds speeding across the sky, creating a broad glow around it. Clouds lit by the moon are quite beautiful but very difficult to photograph. Our eyes are such amazing things and anyone who thinks there are no improvements to be made in camera design hasn’t stopped to think. The moon is so bright compared to the clouds lit by its reflected light. To our eyes, the clouds are just a little dimmer than the moon but a camera isn’t fooled and isn’t so capable. To get the moon exposed correctly, you have to stop down enough for daylight. But the clouds are not in daylight and they go black, regardless of how bright they seem. To expose the clouds well, the moon becomes a washed out blob. So, no picture of the clouds and the moon this time.

Instead, here is a tree, just about ready to sleep the winter away. It is lit by the light from the moon in this 15 second exposure. Here’s something that the camera can do that we cannot—store up the light into one big packet and see in the dark.

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Zelkova Tunnel

Zelkova Tunnel

Zelkova Tunnel

In November of last year (Sunday, November 03, 2013, to be precise) I took a picture that I titled “Autumn’s Chapel.” It was of Zelkova serrata trees that line a busy road near where we live. Today’s picture is of the same trees, this time lit by the late afternoon sun. The photo is a bit dark in the lower portion, but I didn’t have a lot of time to adjust the camera. As you can see, there is oncoming traffic and I needed to get the picture and then move.

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Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

Evening Clouds

We had a slow drive to Virginia this afternoon, taking over two hours to get through the first 60 miles and a third hour for the second 60. Shortly before the traffic eased up we stopped at a rest area. The sun was setting and the clouds were quite lovely. The higher clouds were still lit by the setting sun but there was a layer of clouds much lower that were already in the shadow of the turning earth. Those dark clouds were set off against the bright, higher clouds and made a wonderful tapestry in the sky. Certainly a nice break from interstate 95 traffic.

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Rainbow at Dusk

Rainbow at Dusk

Rainbow at Dusk

I was just about ready to leave for youth group at church when I noticed that the light outside was amazing. You know how sometimes, just before dusk, the sky lights up with a warm glow? Well, that was going on. So I grabbed my camera to try to get a picture of that light shining on the tops of the trees out front. When I got outside, however, I found this rainbow waiting for me, so I took pictures of that, instead, against the backdrop of brightly colored clouds. I took just a few pictures with that lens, then came in to switch to the wide angle so I could get more of the rainbow. By the time I came back out, the brightness had faded a bit and before I had taken three more pictures, the rainbow was gone.

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Foggy Evening

Foggy Evening

Foggy Evening

It was a foggy evening as I drove home from work today. Fog is a funny thing, when it comes to taking pictures. It rarely looks the same in the picture as it did when you took it. Also, the temptation is to increase the contrast, which ruins the effect. In this case, this is about what it looked like on the way home, taken with my do-it-yourself (or did-it-myself) dash-cam. I do like a soft, foggy evening (or morning, or night), actually.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I was on my way to church this evening and there was a beautiful sunset. Unfortunately, my drive to church has very few good places to stop and see the western horizon. Because traffic on our normal route is heavy and slow this time of the evening, I went the back way, which does go over the top of a hill and give one or two quick glimpses to the west. I stopped the car briefly to take a very few pictures and this one turned out to be pretty good, I think. There is actually the top board of a fence running across the bottom but because all the ground has gone to black, it doesn’t hurt the picture.

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And Another Sunset

355 Sunset

355 Sunset

Yes, another sunset. This time I’m sitting at the light at MD 355 watching the traffic go by and enjoying the sunset colors. In this picture, I’m actually looking almost due north, well away from the setting sun, so you can see that the amount of color in the sky is impressive. It was a beautiful sunset, lighting up the entire sky. I even took a picture or two looking to the west in my rear-view mirror, although those are not particularly good, photographically.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

It’s shaping up to be a very busy week (and since I’m writing this after the fact, I can tell you that it was). I was fortunate to be able to head home before it was completely dark today. I took this from the road, while waiting at a light to turn green. After the last sunset picture I posted, I’m glad to be able to post a proper sunset again, with the bright colors that we all love in a sunset. This is a great time of year for them, so keep your camera (or these days, your phone) ready.

Correction: This was not taken on the way home, that was tomorrow’s picture. We were on our way out to dinner with Cathy’s mom for her birthday and stopped on Perry Parkway to take this picture.

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Dusky Pink

Clouds at Dusk

Clouds at Dusk

As sunset pictures go, I guess this is a bit weak. We expect sunset pictures to be bright and bold. This isn’t. It’s dusky and muted. That’s the sort of day it was, and that’s the sort of picture I got. Not a terrible picture, I suppose, but it isn’t going to catch and hold your attention.

Anyway, this is September 17, 2014. Good evening.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I was just about caught up, posting the last few pictures the day they were taken or early the following day. Then it got very busy at work and I had a very hard time keeping up with everything, so this slipped. As I write this on September 26, I have finally gotten around to taking pictures off my camera from September 13 through 23. I’ll try to get caught up again. Anyway, there was a pretty sunset this evening as I was cooking dinner and I went out back for a few pictures. Most of the color was seen behind the trees but there were a few bright areas of open sky.

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Clouds

Clouds

Clouds

It got quite warm yesterday, topping 90°F, but today was cooler and the sky was a glorious blue with fabulous layers of light clouds scattered across it. It was a long day for me, having a dentist appointment and then part of a work day, followed by a round trip to Richmond, returning by way of Baltimore, which isn’t really on the way. Because of all that I didn’t take many pictures but this is one of a few I took from my car while waiting at a traffic light.

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Dusk

Dusk

Dusk

I took a few pictures this evening although I can’t say that they are very interesting. It rained again this evening and as the sun was getting low in the sky, the whole area took on a beautiful, slightly yellow glow. This photograph doesn’t really do it justice and of course it’s just a photo of our neighborhood, so not a lot to look at, but perhaps it will give you some idea. If you’ve ever seen this, then you know what I’m talking about and maybe you’ll appreciate it. Anyway, this is all I have today.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Dorothy drove us to church this evening, freeing me up to take some pictures while we were on our way. The sun was low in the sky, so I put the long lens on and took a few pictures when I had a break in the trees. It’s not the sort of sunset picture that’s going to win any awards. In general, I recommend finding a good location, stopping the car, and setting up a picture like this, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. Considering how it was taken, though, I think it’s reasonably pretty

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

It was another gorgeous day today, again a bit warming, up near 90°F, but a fabulous, blue sky with a few scattered clouds. As the sun dropped into the west the sky darkened to an even prettier, deeper blue. Then the clouds began to light up with a wonderful orange color.

This was the view out our kitchen door at two minutes to eight. Not bad, eh?

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Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Those of you who follow me on the various social media outlets of the interwebs have already seen a picture of this sunrise, which I took on my phone and posted the morning of July 31. Unsurprisingly, I took some pictures with my “real” camera, as well, and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out, as well. It’s actually somewhat amazing how good the phone pictures is, but there are still things I can do with my Canon that the Samsung won’t quite manage.

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

I was going through the images I took and trying to decide which I like best, which is sometimes really easy. Today, though, there were two that I liked and I was having a hard time picking between them. On the one hand, I think this vertical photo is the better image of the sun, the reflection, and the waves. On the other hand, I really like the bird in the first one. In fact, I was thinking about cropping that down to just have the bird, the streak of light from the sun, and the top of the wave coming up the beach. I may do that yet for a card, but this is the whole image.

This is the third and final sunrise that I’ll post from Ocean Isle this year. They were all quite different from one another, which is, I think, one of the things we find so fascinating about sunrises. That and their evanescence. They have to be enjoyed in the moment, because they don’t wait, evaporating like a morning mist. Pictures are nice, of course, but they don’t hold a candle to the real thing. Standing in the waves of the Atlantic, feeling the cool, morning breeze on my face, and seeing the colors and movement of those waves, most of that is lost in the photograph.

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Starry Night

Starry Night

Starry Night

The last photo from another busy day. This one isn’t as spectacular as the thunderstorm photo from last night, but I’m still pretty pleased with it. Dorothy suggested that I go out and take some pictures, because the southern sky was so clear and the Milky Way was clearly visible. Well, clear is relative and this was clear if you are used to the east cost of North America, anyway. This was taken with settings similar to last night’s, with the ISO set to 640, f/3.5 and 30 seconds. The lens was a 10–20mm zoom, at 10mm, so a fairly wide angle (that’s equivalent to 16mm on an old 35mm camera, for anyone who actually remembers those). This picture was harder to deal with in terms of “noise.” If I reduced it enough to matter, I lost a lot of the detail in the Milky Way. So, here’s an even better reason to want a full frame SLR. And a trip to the dry, much clearer and darker parts of the country, preferably on the top of a mountain. Still, it’s the best Milky Way picture I’ve ever taken (though that’s not saying much).

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A Very Different Sunrise

A Very Different Sunrise

A Very Different Sunrise

After the dark, deeply colored sunrise I took on July 28, today’s was very different. There wasn’t a lot of pink, orange, or red in the sky, just a little around the sun. But the clouds were quite pretty and nicely reflected in the water washing up on the beach. Also, after two days of 90°F plus heat, I woke up to about 70°F this morning. It warmed up later in the day but never really got above about 82°F. It was much less humid, as well. Beautiful.

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Storm and Stars

Thunderstorm and Stars

Thunderstorm and Stars

After seeing the beautiful rainbow and then going out to take pictures of the receding storm over the ocean, I figured that was all the pictures I’d take for the day. I did go next door to snap a few pictures of my aunt and uncle and their family, a group of 18. As I came out from that, I was greeted with a beautiful sight. Even this photograph, which I think it pretty amazing, doesn’t capture the real beauty. The sky would be dark. Then, lightning in the clouds out to sea would light them up, sometimes just providing light to the clouds, other times accompanied by streaks of lightning between the clouds and the sea or horizontally between clouds. I set up my camera on a tripod and took a bunch of exposures at various settings. This one was ISO 800, f/3.5, 30 seconds. On the beach, you can see a family with flashlights walking from right to left. Then, the clouds, lit by multiple flashes of lightning. Above the clouds, stars.

Long exposures on a digital camera produces a lot of “noise.” The black areas of the picture were not black, but a mottled collection of colored blobs, small but of varying size. This is a time when a full-frame sensor makes a big difference, because they produce significantly less noise. Still, with the aid of a noise filter on my processing software, I’ve turned this into something usable. I’m pretty chuffed about this picture, to be honest.

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Rainbow and Evening Storm

Rainbow

Rainbow

Two more pictures for today. A little before 6:00 PM we all went outside to see a very full and then a full double rainbow across the eastern sky. As you can see, I was able to capture the entire length of it with my wide angle lens. Although you cannot quite make it out in this picture, in addition to the secondary rainbow, outside the first, we saw a supernumerary, extra arcs just inside the main rainbow. It was quite a show.

Thunderstorm Over The Atlantic

Thunderstorm Over The Atlantic

As the storm moved out to sea, the lightning didn’t abate. If anything, it got more frequent. I set up my camera on the railing of our deck and took some pictures of the clouds. By closing the aperture down and setting the ISO to 100, I was able to get long exposures times. This one was 25 seconds at f/22. That let me capture a few bolts of lightning in a single frame, which is pretty exciting. I like thunderstorms at most times but at the beach they really do tend to be spectacular.

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Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

As is fairly common at the beach, there was a pretty sunrise this morning. Most of our house was still in bed, but my body rarely lets me sleep much past 6:00 (and sometimes not even that late). It’s one of the “benefits” of getting old, I guess. Anyway, I came down stairs and soon noticed a bit of color in the sky so I grabbed my camera and went out for a few photographs. The house we’re staying in has a room without air conditioning, which for those of use with cameras, is a nice thing. Going from a cold house to a warm, very humid beach is a good way to have your camera fog up. This is especially true first thing in the morning, and by the time you’re ready to take pictures, the light is gone. This sunrise color didn’t last very long but was particularly intense when I went out.

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We Delivery, Pastels, and Sunset

We Delivery!

We Delivery!

It was our last full day in Philadelphia and it was a full day. We went to the camp in Camden again this morning and were a little early so we paused long enough to take a picture of this sign. The kids had been commenting about it all week, but since I was more concerned with the left turn I was making, I didn’t actually see it until today. We Delivery. Classic.

We went to the pool with the kids from camp today and had a great time. I got pictures of most of our team splashing around with kids from camp but those pictures of for us and for the kids. Sorry. You’ll have to make do with a picture of a stupid sign.

Pastel Building

Pastel Building

We were in the historic part of Philadelphia for the middle of the day, from about 1:00 PM to 4:30. We were supposed to be on a scavenger hunt of sorts but everyone was so tired and it was so hot, that none of us really felt up to much. We walked up to the Betsy Ross House, went over to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, but didn’t go in any of them. We did go into a 7-Eleven on Market Street to get free Slurpies (it’s July 11). We ended up sitting on benches and on the grass, some playing cards, others napping. I took a few pictures, including a few of this pastel colored building in the 300 block of Market Street. I love old buildings, whether or not they are historic. They remind me of the passage of time and that things change, while they also stay the same.

Urban Sunset

Urban Sunset

From there, we went to a place called Chosen 300 to help serve dinner. The girls were all assigned to the plate serving line while the rest of us helped carry plates to the tables. Over 130 folks were served meals in about 40 minutes. It was a bit chaotic, but definitely a good thing.

We had our dinner after that, picking up cheese steaks that we had ordered earlier, and taking them back to where we were staying. On the way we got a great sunset over the tracks on the west side of the Schuylkill River. A nice way to end the week.

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Pretty Evening Sky

Pretty Evening Sky

Pretty Evening Sky

It turned a bit colder today but was sunny and nice. In the evening I had a meeting at church and I was a little early getting there. I took some pictures of a large flock of geese that had been walking around on the church property. Shortly after that, I noticed these pretty clouds against the deepening blue evening sky. The clouds didn’t really turn a full, sunset orange, but did get a slight pink to them that really set them off.

This is a composite picture, made from four vertical shots stitched together into a panorama.

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Friday Sunrise

Friday Sunrise

Friday Sunrise

We had another beautiful sunrise this morning and I was in the right part of the house to notice. The color didn’t last more than about 5 minutes, so I consider myself fortunate. This image is a little darker than it actually was, but just about as pretty. It’s cooler this morning, but still nice. We have more weather coming our way, if the meteorologists and their models are correct (which I know they are because I’m typing this on Monday).

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Sunset From Our Back Yard

Sunset From Our Back Yard

Sunset From Our Back Yard

It has continued to be beautiful outside and it really feels like spring. I know it’s not even the ides of March and it will very likely get cold again, but we’re all enjoying this while we have it. If nothing else, we’re closer to spring than we were a week ago, when we had half a dozen inches of snow on the ground.

We had a beautiful sunset this evening. With the two big trees in our back yard gone, we have a better view of sunsets and I’ve been happily enjoying them. It’s nice to be able to slide the back door open and take sunset pictures from the steps.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Traffic was horrendous this evening and I’m not really sure why. Anyway, as I was sitting in traffic I at least was able to enjoy the sunset. It wasn’t the most wonderful sunset I’ve ever seen but then, very few are, for obvious reasons. It was quite lovely and though there were trees and power lines between me and the most colorful parts of the sky, I was able to take this and a few other pictures while waiting for the traffic to start moving again.

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Evening Sky

Evening Sky

Evening Sky

There was very little traffic on the roads today, mostly because everything was canceled. That was despite the fact that the roads were all basically clear and dry. There was a little ice and snow left on our neighborhood street but the plows never made it here. Even so, I had no trouble and once I got a block from our house, onto the larger neighborhood street, it was totally clear. The sky cleared up and it was mostly sunny this afternoon. This picture was taken just a little before sunset.

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Sunset Through The Trees

Sunset Through The Trees

Sunset Through The Trees

It wasn’t much of a sunset in terms of lighting up the sky, but right down on the horizon, which I could sort of see between the houses behind ours, the sky had a fair amount of color. With my long lens, I took a few pictures of it through the trees and I like the way it turned out. The rest of the sky was a uniform and not particularly pretty color.

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Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise

As I came downstairs this morning to fix Dorothy’s lunch and make us each our morning cup of tea, I noticed a bit of pinkness in the eastern sky. I grabbed my camera and went out to get a few pictures. It was fairly cool, about 20°F (-7°C) and I hadn’t stopped to put anything on over my t-shirt. That wasn’t as much of an issue as my feet.

While I was outside, I had a brilliant idea. What if someone were to knit something like a sweater only for your feet. You could have a simple tube, closed at one end and open on the other, that would fit over your feet and would help keep them warm when you go out to take pictures in the winter at 7:00 in the morning. Dorothy threw cold water on my idea (metaphorically speaking), saying she thought I should do a patent search before committing any money to my idea. She said that she thought our friend Nancy had already invented something very much like it. Oh, well. It was just a thought.

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Red Sky At Morning

Sunrise

Sunrise

Well, actually, it was a beautiful day, so the saying wasn’t right today. They say we may have snow tomorrow, but that’s another matter. Because I didn’t have to get Dorothy up for school today, I didn’t set an alarm. As usual I got up about the same time anyway, but without that annoying noise. As I came downstairs there was an orange light coming in the front windows. I grabbed my camera and went outside to take a few pictures (barefoot and with no jacket, as it happens). What a beautiful sight.

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Cloud Reflections

Cloud Reflections

Cloud Reflections

It was a cool but beautiful day today and around lunch time I walked from my building over to the one with our main cafeteria to pick up a salad from the salad bar. I carried my camera with me, which still feels a little awkward after three years of having it with me most of the time. I don’t carry it around at work, although I have it there every day. But walking between the buildings often gives me something to photograph. This is the end of my building as I came back with my lunch.

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Into The Sunset

Sunset Colors on Contrail

Sunset Colors on Contrail

It was a wonderfully clear, bright day today. Cool, but clear and bright. I didn’t go out during the day today, except to take a few pictures shortly before sunset. There were more than half a dozen contrails crisscrossing the sky this afternoon and as the sun sank into the west, they all lit up with a beautiful orange color. This one didn’t stick around, but faded from view shortly after the plane was past, but it was the brightest of them all, while it lasted. The plain is heading southwest, possibly towards a landing at Reagan National or Dulles International. When you see planes overhead, does it make you want to travel? It does that for me. I’m ready to go, let me grab my passport.

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Moon Through The Trees

Moon Through The Trees

Moon Through The Trees

One thing about this taking a picture every day thing is that I take pictures of things that in the past I would simply have looked at. Some days the pictures turn out well and I’m quite pleased that I took the picture. Other days I end up with pictures that aren’t really even worth sharing. But, I’ve committed to share at least one picture with you every day. Along with the good, you get the not-so-good. Today, I took three quick pictures early in the day, as I was leaving for work, of the moon through the trees in our back yard. In the evening we happened to go into a bowling alley and I took a few there, as well, but they are even less worthy of sharing. Even though this doesn’t look as nice as it did in real life, it’s what you get.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

We had a reasonably quiet day today after two days of Thanksgiving (not that we’ve stopped being thankful, of course). Dorothy and I did have a brief outing today to run the chainsaw through a piece of tree trunk for an art project that Dorothy is planning. In the evening, we had a lovely sunset, as you can see. I particularly like the variety of colors in sunsets. Often they are bright orange, but tonight it was a wonderful red.

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Weird Cloud Pattern

Weird Cloud Pattern

Weird Cloud Pattern

I was at the school today for the Christmas Bazaar when two friends came to my table and asked if I had my camera with me. Of course I did. They said that’s wait at my table for me and that I should go outside and look at the clouds to the north east. This is what I saw. I have no idea what might have caused this pattern. The rest of the sky was filled with a thin layer of clouds like the surrounding clouds in this picture, except to the west where it was clearing up. Strange.

UPDATE: A friend of mine identified this phenomenon for me. It is called a Fallstreak hole and the formation occurs when part of a cloud of water droplets freezes into ice crystals. Here is the relevant page on Wikipedia and also a page at The Cloud Appreciation Society.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Cathy called me at about 5:00 today and said there was a nice sunset. When I’m at my computer at work, which is most of the time, I’m facing away from the windows. Also, my window faces north, so I don’t usually see the sunset. This time, there was orange outside my window. I took a few from there but decided this sunset deserved a bit more attention, so I ran downstairs and out into the parking lot. There are trees that blocked the horizon but I still got a pretty good picture of the sky (I wonder if I could get on the roof of my building). What colors!

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Amazing Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

There was a really amazing sunset this evening. Dorothy and I went to Maureen’s house and I had us leave at about 5:00 even though we were not supposed to get there until 5:30. We stopped on the way to take a few pictures and I’m really glad we stopped when we did. By the time we got to Maureen’s the sunset was basically finished. I said to Dorothy, “I left early on purpose so we’d have time to stop for pictures.” She said, “some people make allowances for heavy traffic. My dad makes allowances for sunsets.”

The first picture here, on the right, was taken with my 10-20mm zoom lens at about 17mm and shows a good portion of the sky. The colors were quite amazing. The second one, below, is a panorama made from six vertically oriented images taken with my 100mm. It basically just includes the brightest portion of the first image, right along the ground.

Sunset Panorama

Sunset Panorama

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Small Sunset

Small Sunset

Small Sunset

Some sunsets are grand affairs, filling the sky from east to west with brilliant color. Others, most, in fact, are simple and forgetful, with the sun dropping below the horizon without any special color or fanfare. Tonight was somewhere in between. There was a little color right down on the the horizon but most of the sky was clear and an ordinary blue. But with a longer lens, looking between the trees and our back yard neighbors’ houses, there was still a colorful sunset to be seen. Actually, for about two minutes some very thin, wispy clouds all across the sky lit up with a very pale pink, but the picture of them wasn’t as beautiful as the reality, so this is a picture of the horizon.

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Moon After Sunrise

Moon After Sunrise

Moon After Sunrise

Looking out our back door this morning I enjoyed the view of the moon, as it slowly descended into the west. The sky was a beautiful blue with a few scattered clouds. By the time I left for work, the sky was totally covered with clouds and the moon was no longer visible. It wasn’t as spectacular as a colorful sunrise but the moon suspended in a clear blue sky was still quite lovely.

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Evening Sky

Evening Sky

Evening Sky

There was another beautiful sky this evening. It didn’t turn as brightly colored as it has on occasion but it was still quite dramatic. I found a place to pull off the road where there was a reasonable view of the sky to the westward and took a few pictures. I love these blues.

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Another Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

I love it when there are beautiful sunsets on consecutive evenings. Same with sunrises on consecutive mornings. I was at my mom’s this evening and hadn’t taken any pictures today when I got there. I was wondering what I should take and started looking around. It wasn’t long, though, before I realized I’d have a good view out the front door of the house. This was taken from the front steps of mom’s house. Pretty nice, eh?

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

There was a beautiful sunset this evening and I took some pictures from my back yard. One nice things about having fewer trees is that we have a much better view of the evening sky from our kitchen and dining room. This sky was the sort to make it worth while. In addition to the vivid oranges in the sunset, even a clear, deep, blue sky at dusk is beautiful to me. I think that’s one of my favorite colors, the blue that’s almost black.

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Storm Clouds Approach

Storm Clouds Approach

Storm Clouds Approach

There was rain in the forecast for this afternoon and when I left my building to go to an all-day class I thought about moving my car as well and putting it in the parking garage. I decided not to and by the time we were getting ready to leave it was coming down pretty hard. Thankfully, Albert gave me a ride back to my car. At lunch time I went out on the roof to take a few pictures. The sky was quite dramatic and very pretty at that point. About three hours later, it got dark and the thunder started to rumble. Another hour and the power had gone out and all our computers had shut down.

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Evening Sky

Evening Sky

Evening Sky

After two weeks traveling in England, where finding subjects for pictures was not really an issue, I had a harder time this week. It was back to work and back to my relatively boring schedule. After work Cathy and I went to pick up Dorothy from my mom’s house, where she had spent the day (mostly working on her summer math packet). We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and I took a grand total of two photographs, both of the sky. Here’s one of them. That’s it for today, I’m afraid.

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Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

Sunrise, Ocean Isle Beach

One issue that I typically have at the beach is that the house is kept pretty cool and outside it is both warm and very humid. That means that when I go out, especially first thing in the morning, my camera fogs up and I have to wait a while before I can take any pictures. We switched houses for this year and the new house has a room that is not air conditioned. In the spring or fall that room is probably very comfortable but in late July and August it is quite warm. But it means I could leave my camera there and when I went outside with it, the lens didn’t fog up.

Anyway, I went out this morning, long after the sun was actually up, but the picture is still sort of sunrise-like. The beginning of a pretty day.

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Sunset Colors

Sunset Colors

Sunset Colors

I don’t have a lot to say about this picture, my third posted for July 19. We were stopping to see a friend and this was what the sky looked like as we got there. This was taken with a 100mm lens. The sky was mostly dark at this point and there was just this one small area of color, but what color it was! Wonderful.

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Sunset Colors

Sunset Colors

Sunset Colors

It’s been overcast all day after a mostly rainy day yesterday. This evening, however, the light turned the most remarkable color. It’s hard to describe what it was like, but later in the day, as the sun started to set, the light out our back windows was the most orangy green I’ve ever seen. It was green because it’s been a very wet summer so far and everything is so lush. But the light had an orangy, pink tinge to it that was absolutely wonderful over that lush green. I ran to get my camera but much of the light had gone by the time I got outside. This picture is looking nearly straight up with a very wide angle lens, and shows the source of the colored light, reflecting off the clouds. It doesn’t come close to doing it justice, so we’ll just have to remember how beautiful it was, although this photo is a small reminder.

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Dramatic Sky

Dramatic Sky

Dramatic Sky

It was a very changeable day today, with heavy clouds and impending rain. It did rain a few times but never for very long. We were in Bethesda with some good friends this evening and got back to their house just as the sun was going down. The clouds, which were quite dramatic, parted and exposed some clear sky. This picture was taken looking almost straight up between a pair of trees. There wasn’t much color to the sunset but just a tinge in these clouds.

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Sunset Over the ICC

Sunset Over the ICC

Sunset Over the ICC

We were coming home from a wonderful dinner with some good friends and the sun was slowly sinking into the west. For most of the way home there are trees along the road and no clear views but as we crossed the Intercounty Connector (MD 200) we got a very nice view. We pulled into the commuter lot and walked up onto the hill next to it, which provided this view. The sun wasn’t visible from here, being behind the trees, but it’s a pretty nice sunset shot, anyway. When preparing this for use as my new banner I trimmed the foreground tree at the right, which I think helps a little, but I decided to give you the full panorama here. This image is made from seven photographs taken with the camera in portrait orientation, 100mm lens, stitched together with Hugin.

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Dark Sunset

Dark Sunset

Dark Sunset

It was an interesting and ominous sunset this evening. I don’t think I got a picture that really conveys what it looked like, but it’s close. Down close to the horizon it was quite dark in the sky with dark but very red highlights.

I took a few pictures through the trees first. Then I went out into the back yard so I could get a clearer view of the sky. Pretty. It’s nice that sunset will be an hour later after Saturday.

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Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

There was a pretty sunrise this morning. I think it was prettier a bit before this picture was taken but it was still quite dramatic by the time we got to the school. This is a panorama made up of five photographs taken with a 100mm lens, oriented vertically, and stitched together using Hugin panorama photo stitcher. It was pretty dramatic, even if not as colorful as some sunrises.

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Dramatic Sky

Dramatic Sky

Dramatic Sky

Dorothy was away from Friday evening until this afternoon. When I went to pick her up at about 4:00 PM, the sky had become quite dramatic. It was very windy and I tried to take some longish exposures of tree branches waving in the wind but it was too bright to do that very well. Also, I didn’t have my tripod, which I’d have really needed for exposures long enough to do justice to the movement.

When I turned around, though, and looked toward the sun behind the clouds, I decided that would make a better picture, in any case. So, that’s what you get.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

We had a pretty sunset this evening. I happened to turn around from my computer at the right time to see this out my office window. Not a huge dramatic sunset but still very pretty, through the trees. In a few minutes it was gone and dark. I’m glad I got to see it.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

As I came out of my building I could see the sunset colors in the sky through the trees. Rather than take a picture from there, though, and since I had to go pick up Cathy next door, I drove onto the parking garage behind her building. From there I had a pretty good view of the sky and I took a few pictures.

I took a few with the long lens (this is one of those) and some more with the wide angle. The wide angle shots show a lot of blue sky and are pretty, also but I like the color in this one.

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Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

It’s been a rainy month. Not particularly cold overall, although there have been some cold spells. Today was balmy and beautiful. The clouds were moving off to the east this morning as I drove the carpool to school. A little earlier than this, the clouds were lit up from below, but I had a car full of students and not a lot of time to stop for pictures. This one is pretty nice, anyway. It was quite beautiful.

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Sycamores

Sycamore Tree

Sycamore Tree

I think if I had to pick one tree that I love to see against a deep blue sky, the sycamore tree would have to be a contender. The white and grey bark are set off so well against the blue of a winter sky.

Sycamore is a name that has been applied to three types of tree. First, there is the sycamore of the Bible, the sycamore fig, Ficus sycomorus. Then, Acer pseudoplatanus, the sycamore maple of Britain and Ireland. Finally, three species of the Platanus, the sycamores of North America, known as plane trees in Europe. The American sycamore is Platanus occidentalis, and that is what I have pictured here.

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Grey

Grey

Grey

Simple title for a simple picture for a grey day. It was pretty dreary out all day, with a grey sky and not a lot of color. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of beauty in a grey day. This is the view out my office window late in the afternoon when it started getting darker. Black and grey.

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Orion

Orion

Orion

I don’t have much to say about this picture. It is the constellation Orion but the sky was not as clear as it was a little while earlier or again about a half hour later. I do wish we could see the stars more clearly here. Or perhaps I wish we were somewhere we could see the stars more clearly. Not really the same thing at all.

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Magenta Sunset

Magenta Sunset

Magenta Sunset

We usually think of sunsets as being red or orange. This evening as I left work it was definitely magenta. I took a few pictures through the woods bordering my office building’s parking lot because I didn’t know how long the color would last or if I’d get another shot. After pulling out on the road, however, I was fortunate enough to be stopped by the traffic light on the corner (and how often do we consider that a blessing?). This was the view directly to my left. The first two shots I took turned out nicely. Then a truck drove between me and the sky while I was taking the third. I got one more a few minutes later in the reflection of my rear-view mirror, but that’s not worth bothering with.

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Tree Silhouettes

Tree Silhouettes

Tree Silhouettes

As I left work today I took this picture of the deep blue of the evening sky with black silhouettes of trees against it. It isn’t perfectly sharp because I didn’t have a tripod for the 1 second exposure but it’s at least passably sharp.

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Night Sky

Night Sky

Night Sky

After picking Dorothy up at Julia’s house this evening, I set my camera on the roof of the car, told Dorothy to sit still, and fired off a 30 second exposure. The clouds were moving fairly quickly so they have ended up blurred and covering more of the sky than was apparent when I took the picture. Also, the spinning of the earth turned each pin point star into a little line segment. I think it’s really cool that here at a latitude of 39° we’re moving at over 800 miles per hour as we spin around the earth’s axis. For course that doesn’t count the 66 thousand miles per hour we’re hurtling through space as we orbit the sun. Anyway, during a 30 second exposure the earth turns one eighth of a degree. Hopefully that doesn’t make you dizzy. If you prefer, you can think of this as a pretty picture of the night sky. That works for me.

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Beaver Moon and Jupiter

Beaver Moon and Jupiter

Beaver Moon and Jupiter

The full moon in November is called the Beaver Moon. We got to see it with Jupiter above it. You cannot see it in this picture, but to the right of the moon was a very bright star Aldebaran. So bright, in fact, that until I looked it up, I assumed it was a planet, as well. I thought that the brighter object was Venus and slightly less bright was Jupiter. So I have them both wrong, although I at least thought that one was Jupiter. It was quite lovely, especially when it was first coming up over the horizon.

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Night Sky

Night Sky

Night Sky

As we were putting things in the car to head home from our day of Thanksgiving I set the camera on top of the car and took a few long exposures. This is a 30 second exposure at f/4 with a 24mm lens (which is equivalent to a 38mm lens on a 35mm film camera). It was taken at about 8:15 PM. Can you tell which direction I’m facing?

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Moon Through the Trees

Moon Through the Trees

Moon Through the Trees

Let’s face it, my life is not all that well suited to this “take a picture every day” thing. I go to work, I sit in an office, I go home. There often isn’t a lot to take pictures of. Somehow I’m mostly through my second year and have managed to get a picture every day, but some days it is a bit forced. Today is one of those days. As I came out of the office, I say the crescent moon through the trees. Actually, the prettiest part was the deep blue color of the sky, but that hasn’t really come through in the picture.

Anyway, I offer you, “Moon Through the Trees.”

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Musical Clouds

Clouds

Clouds

I don’t know what it is but sometimes when I look at clouds, their shapes make music to me. Unfortunately, I cannot translate that into something anyone else can share, but at least I get to enjoy it myself. I guess it’s the rhythm of the repeating pattern that triggers it in my brain. These are musical clouds. Do you hear it?

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Blue Sky

Blue Sky

Blue Sky

Yesterday I asked for blue sky, today we got some. It wasn’t a clear blue sky but there was enough to make a pair of kitten britches, as we used to say. Odd saying, that. I wonder what the world of Google might have to tell us. Hmm. Here’s what I found in The Sailor’s Word-Book: An Alphabetical Digest of Nautical Terms, Including Some More Especially Military and Scientific, But Useful to Seamen; As Well As Archaisms of Early Voyagers, Etc. by the late Admiral William Henry Smyth, K.S.F., D.C.L., &c., published in 1867.

DUTCHMAN’S BREECHES. The patch of blue sky often seen when a gale is breaking, is said to be, however small, “enough to make a pair of breeches for a Dutchman.” Others assign the habiliment to a Welshman, but give no authority for the assumption.

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Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise

It’s our week to drive the carpool and as we left this morning it looked like I had missed a wonderful sunrise. There was a little pink left in the sky but not enough to make me run for my camera. Getting a good sunrise in our neighborhood is a bit hard, anyway, because there are so many trees. When we had picked up everyone and arrived at the school, I found that with the lower horizon there, because of the open area behind the school (i.e. the soccer field), the sunrise had not entirely finished giving us a nice display. This is actually five vertical images, stitched together to make one horizontal image.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

This isn’t necessarily a sunset to win any awards but it’s still pretty. We haven’t had a lot of good sunsets lately, at least not that I’ve noticed, so I was happy to have this one. When I first spotted it, the sun was still up and the picture would have been better if I had gotten it like that. By the time we found a place to pull over and then walked 100 yards to a good vantage point, the sun was gone and this is what we were left with.

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Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

We had a brief but strong rain shower this afternoon and then the sun came out, so we were treated to this beautiful rainbow.

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Blue Sky and Puffy Clouds

Blue Sky and Puffy Clouds

Blue Sky and Puffy Clouds

What beautiful weather we’re having. Today the high temperature barely reached 80°F. The sky was extra blue and was filled with fluffy white clouds, fair weather cumulus. This was taken while sitting at a traffic light on the way home from work.

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Moon and Clouds at Sunset

Moon and Clouds at Sunset

Moon and Clouds at Sunset

I really would like to have a good long lens to get great moon and sunset pictures but tonight it actually worked best to have only a moderate telephoto with me, as I wanted to get the colorful clouds in the picture as well.

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Night Reflections

Night Reflections

Night Reflections

We picked up Dorothy from her first driver’s ed class this evening (be afraid, be very afraid). From there we were driving through town, just a little after sunset, and the reflections on this building were nice. Dorothy commented on what her teacher would say about taking pictures while driving. I was stopped at a traffic light and had plenty of time, I assure you.

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Rainbow At Sunset

Rainbow

Rainbow

As the sun was getting ready to set this evening I happened to notice how it was lighting up the tops of the trees in the back yard. The lower parts of the trees were dark but the tops were a beautiful, bright green. We all went out back to enjoy the colors and then it started raining. It wasn’t a heavy rain but just enough to let you know it was there. We moved to the front yard to see if there would be a rainbow and sure enough, it appeared. It wasn’t a particularly intense rainbow — the rain wasn’t strong enough for that — but it was there. It’s in the upper right, just above the trees, in case you can’t see it right away. The roses in the bottom of the picture are ‘Perle d’Or’.

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Sic Transit Gloria Venus

Venus in Transit Across the Sun

Venus in Transit Across the Sun

Like a lot of people, I was excited about the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. Knowing that the chances of me living to be 157 are pretty slim, I figured that this was my one chance to see it. When I woke up this morning and it was mostly cloudy, I thought, well, you never know what the sky will look like in twelve hours. As it turned out, the clouds got heavier as the day wore on and I had pretty much given up hope of seeing it. When I got home I decided to take some pictures in the yard and while I was doing that, the sun peeked through the clouds for less than two minutes. Since I had my camera in my hand, as well as a tripod, I was able to move out from under the trees and get a few pictures before the clouds covered it again. Of course it was too bright and I was working too fast to really see what I was doing. I just set the camera to an exposure of 1/8000 second at f/32 and this is what I got. It’s not all that sharp and I’m sure we’ll be able to download pictures that are much better but I took this one, so I’m happy. You probably won’t be able to see it until you click on the image to enlarge it. Venus is just to the right of 12:00 just under the upper edge of the sun. It only started its transit a little after 6:00 local time so it hadn’t gotten very far by 6:39, when this picture was taken.

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Reflected Sky

Reflected Sky

Reflected Sky

I asked a friend at work for a ride to pick up my car from the shop this afternoon. I was outside a couple minutes before she was and I took a few pictures while I waited. The sky was a beautiful, brilliant blue and the green on the trees complemented it wonderfully. Then I noticed the reflection of the sky and trees in her black SUV. I love the richness of the colors in this picture. It’s nice that she keeps her car so clean.

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Sunrise

We had another beautiful sunrise this morning.

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Fog

Fog

Fog

After yesterday’s rain, we woke this morning to clear skies but the area was blanketed with a layer of fog. It turned our otherwise banal suburban street into something out of a fairy tale, with trees disappearing into the mist.

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Wide Open Spaces

Sunset

Sunset

More precisely, the lack of wide open spaces. There are fewer places to get a good picture of a sunset than you might think. As I came home today I tried to find one but this was the best I could do. I got a couple that don’t have the power lines or tower but they aren’t as good of the clouds. So, the open, westward facing photo spot still eludes detection. But I’ll keep looking.

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Sunset Out Back

Sunset Out Back

Sunset Out Back

I didn’t get out to take any pictures this morning and it was raining all afternoon. Fortunately it stopped raining and began to clear as the sun went down so I was able to take this picture out of our back door.

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Another Sunset

Another Sunset

Another Sunset

I was just leaving work today when I saw this in my rear view mirror. I found a place to stop and got a few nice shots. It looks similar to yesterday’s but every sunset is different. Also, since I was in a different place, even the same sunset would be different.

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Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Driving home this evening the sunset was quite beautiful so I found a place to pull over and got a nice photo of it.

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La Lune

La Lune

La Lune

It’s hard to take an original photo of the moon. Oh, I suppose you can catch different phases and of course different foregrounds, but one full moon looks much like another. So, here we have a nearly full moon.

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Dramatic Sky

Dramatic Sky

Dramatic Sky

I drove to Germantown this afternoon to pick up Dorothy from a friend’s house and the sky was all cloudy with shafts of light coming through. Very dramatic and beautiful.

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Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

There was another awesome sunset this evening. I tried to find a good spot to get the whole sky but actually I like this taken through the trees pretty well.

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Evening Sky

Evening Sky

Evening Sky

There was another beautiful sunset this evening. I saw it coming but was driving when it was at its best so couldn’t get a good picture of it. I did get the sky before it started to turn orange. Not as pretty, I suppose but there you are. I do like it when airplane contrails cast shadows on lower clouds.

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Evening Sky

Evening Sky

Evening Sky

The clouds were nice all day but as the sun headed westward, they were dramatically lit and quite beautiful. This is the view from my office window shortly before leaving for the day.

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Lowering Sky

Lowering Sky

Lowering Sky

Actually, I’m not sure if this really qualifies as a lowering sky. It was actually the sun shining through, which is a much more cheery. Still, it looked dark and threatening. It was actually a nice afternoon. Not too cold and a nice day for a walk.

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Into The Wild Blue Yonder

Have you ever looked up at planes overhead and wondered, as have I, where they are going? Do you think about all the people, somewhat uncomfortably crammed into their cattle-class seats, wondering, are we almost there? Does it make you think of far away places, exotic smells, wonderful food, or the sounds of a foreign tongue? Or do you ever wonder whether “blue” or “yonder” is the noun in that phrase? Perhaps not.

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Sunrise, Sunset

And Yet Another Sunrise

And Yet Another Sunrise

Maybe I should change the tag line for the blog from “Here and There…Now and Then” to “What’s This Guy Doing?” (if you’ll pardon the pun and with apologies to Jimi Hendrix). I don’t know if it’s a function of the time of year, when the sun happens to be coming up as I’m getting Dorothy off to school or if the weather pattern just happens to be right, or what, but we had another wonderful sunrise this morning.

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Another Sunset

Another Sunset

Another Sunset

After writing that I’m not a big fan of sunset pictures, here I am posting another two days later. This was taken from Hadley’s Park on Falls Road. It was too nice for me not to stop and take a few pictures, despite the “No Use After Sunset” sign.

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Sunrises

Sunrise

Sunrise

While sunsets are overdone, sunrises are sadly less common. They have, if anything, more beauty than their post meridian siblings but are considerably less commonly seen or appreciated. I suppose they share most other attributes with sunsets but are more private, somehow, and therefore somewhat more precious. Today’s sunrise was particularly beautiful, although this photo, like so many, doesn’t do it justice.

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Blue Sky and Snow

Blue Sky

Blue Sky

Sadly I was in a meeting today when the snow was coming down so I wasn’t able to get a picture of it. I did get a shot of the beautiful blue sky with clouds down low, though.

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Sunsets

Sunset

Sunset

In general I’m not a big fan of sunset pictures. I’m not entirely sure why.

Sure, sunsets are beautiful, that’s not the issue. Maybe it’s because everyone takes sunset pictures, they’re too common. Maybe it’s because in general sunset pictures are really just about capturing the color and don’t have a point of focus. They don’t stand on their own in terms of composition. A picture of orange clouds, usually without any thought to the rest of the photo and without any significant foreground really isn’t all that interesting. So why does everyone like sunset pictures?

I guess it’s because we’ve all seen sunsets and we all know how beautiful they are. Sunset pictures, even mediocre sunset pictures like this one, remind us of the real thing. I understand why people like to be reminded of sunsets, of course. It is more than their sheer beauty. I think their ephemeral nature adds to their attraction. For their very brief existence they can be almost painfully beautiful, and yet we know we cannot hold them. That sums up much of life’s struggle, I suppose. Think of a wry expression on a loved ones face, the taste of a cold drink on a hot day, the remarkably fleeting childhood of our sons and daughters (or ourselves). They are all enjoyed for a moment but all too quickly vanish to become cherished memories. Then even memories fade and become indistinct.

But that’s true not just of the obviously momentary. The time scales are different but the fleeting nature of all things seems to be the only constant. “Everything changes and nothing remains still…and…you cannot step twice into the same stream,” said the dead Greek, Heraclitus. Viewed from a distance, and it doesn’t take a particularly great distance, all beauty is ephemeral. “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls” (1 Peter 1:24).

Yet we shall not despair. For “…The word of the Lord endures for ever.” (1 Peter 1:25).

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Tree Against Clouds

Tree Against Clouds

Tree Against Clouds

Today was Dorothy’s last day of school for the semester. I took her and four friends to Olney. On the way home after that I stopped to take pictures of the ominous clouds. I like the pattern of branches on this old oak tree against them.

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Microwave Tower at Sunset

Microwave Tower at Sunset

Microwave Tower at Sunset

I stopped for gas on the way home and thought the sunset was nice. The only view I had, though, was over an industrial park with this microwave relay tower in front of the best part of the sky. That’s alright, it gives the picture something.

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Clouds

Clouds

Clouds

I didn’t get a chance to go out to take pictures today. I was just too busy. I did enjoy the clouds out my window and took a minute to grab a couple photos in the early afternoon.

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