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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Shadows on the snow at sunset, February 6, 2009

I went out with my camera at sunset this past Friday to try to capture some of the delicate colored shadows described by M.G.J. Minnaert in his excellent Light and Color in the Outdoors in section 115, "Colored shadows":

But watch the shadows when the sun sets over a landscape, especially the last few moments before it disappears. As the sun turns orange, then red, then purple, the shadow becomes blue, green, and green-yellow. These tints are so pronounced because, at this time of day, the difference in brightness between the shadow and the surrounding snow is is much less than in the daytime, for the rays of the sun strike the at very small angles and the diffuse light from the sky becomes relatively more important. Moreover, the sun's colors become more and more saturated.
Here are some photos from that afternoon:

Garden swing at sunset. Geez, I really should have brought that swing in before Winter hit. Definitely need to repaint that shed, too!

Butterfly Bush at sunset, facing West. There's a garden under all that snow.

These pockmarks are all the pawprints of the semi-feral cats who patrol our neighborhood, melted down so they all look extra-large.

Side street and the other Butterfly Bush. This is facing East, directly opposite the images that follow.

These next three images are a sequence of shots of a pile of icy snow at the curb as the sun set. I wanted to try to capture the changing colors of the shadows and the snow as the sun set.

5:04 PM

5:08 PM

5:09 PM...almost gone

This is an image of the sky directly overhead at this time. This is what was providing the illumination for all of the shadowed areas.


I don't think the colors in this image are true, since I was inadvisably aiming my camera directly at the setting sun and risking damaging the CCD, as well as getting lens flare and internal reflections. So I don't know if the violet and green at the bottom are legitimate. But I wanted to capture the fact that February 6 is (or is very close to) the day that the setting sun lines up with the East-West streets in Nanticoke. Now I have to dig up my calendar from 2005 (when I was taking Haley for her morning walks prior to her death in May) to see which Spring morning I noted the complementary sunrise.

1 comment:

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Interesting photo study...