I was expecting a typically gorgeous Colorado sunset on this day not long ago but it was the pre-show about a half hour before that was the best part. Iridescent clouds appeared and turned the sky into a rainbow of colors. It was an awesome one seen from my backyard.
Cloud iridescence is caused by clouds (usually cirrus) that have small water droplets or ice crystals in them causing the light to be diffracted, or spread out. The phenomena is much like the rainbow colors seen with oil in water.
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Beautiful sunrises and sunsets are a pretty common occurrence on the Colorado Front Range. Every now and then though, Mother Nature gives the scene an extra ‘kick’ to make it that much more awesome. Such was the case on this evening last week when not only were the colors and formation stunning, there was a hint of iridescence at the edges. I do wish I had a clear view of the horizon but pics above look awesome anyway. Taken in Thornton, Colorado.
Winter in Colorado brings some amazing sunsets and last night proved to be a case in point. Fast moving jet stream winds this time of year create mountain wave clouds and lenticular clouds that are in and of themselves fun to see. Throw in unearthly colors as the day comes to a close and you have the makeup for spectacular scenes.
Unfortunately, living in suburbia, I don’t have a good, clear shot of the western horizon and didn’t have time to run somewhere that provided a better view of the overall scene. However, tightly zoomed in pictures show the intricate details and the amazing forms and colors of the clouds.
To say the show in the sky yesterday evening was amazing doesn’t do it justice. While a beautiful sunset unfolded to the west, my eye was drawn to the north where these fantastic lenticular clouds had formed. The glow from the sunset bathed them in orange and when set against the brilliant, blue Colorado sky… Well, it was magical!
Also known by their scientific name of altocumulus standing lenticularis, these clouds are not entirely unusual in Colorado on the Front Range during the winter. Strong jet winds force moist air to be pushed up by the rugged terrain of the adjacent Rocky Mountains. This creates a wave-like pattern of air flow that condenses at high altitudes (usually around 20,000 feet).
Many will say the Great Plains lack excitement on the scenery front but I tend to think those naysayers just don’t spend enough time out there or look very hard. There is beauty to be found and you don’t have to look far or be out there long to find it.
Such was the case a week ago when yet another amazing sunset closed out a gorgeous day in Morgan County. The colors started out orange but soon red arrived and the further sun went down, the deeper blue the Centennial State’s skies became as night encroached.
Scenes like this are commonplace in the wide open spaces – you just have to open your eyes.
A different kind of shot but pretty cool I think. Taken on September 26, 2014 in Estes Park, Colorado. The sky was ablaze in orange, red and pink from the setting sun and no matter which direction you looked, it was amazing. This was actually taken pointing northeast as the sun illuminated a spot of cirrus clouds. The bent pine tree and rocks helped to frame it nicely.
This image was taken this past Friday in Pike National Forest as #sunset approached. The sky was ablaze in orange and while the dense forest blocked a clear view of the horizon, it still made for a pretty good shot.
This is one from back in April that I don’t think I ever shared. Taken at a pond in Broomfield on a mild evening. As I reveled in the sunset, it almost seemed like the heron on its nest was doing the same.
Thunderstorms moved through the Denver area yesterday afternoon and evening leading to some dramatic skies above. This is my first attempt at an HDR (High Dynamic Range) image.
The technique uses three or more images, all of different exposures, put together to achieve a higher range of luminosity than what could be accomplished with a single one.
Sunsets on the Great Plains are oftentimes exercises in amazement. The color of the dark, blue skies above coupled with the oranges, pinks and reds near the horizon provide for stunning viewing. On this particular evening, Mother Nature put on quite a colorful show not only looking west as seen here, but in just about every direction. Truly beautiful.