Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stormy Sunrise

I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as a morning person, although I wish I was, because I do love the peace and quiet of the early morning.  And, of course, watching the sun rise.   Suffering from not infrequent episodes of early morning insomnia usually means I miss a lot of sunrises because I've fallen back asleep by that time.  However, sometimes, it can work in my favor.

Yesterday morning was such a day.  I found myself awake at 5 a.m., and wasn't able to fall back to sleep.  Around 6:30 a.m., around the time that the sky is starting to show the first signs of light, I got up and immediately looked out the window to the east:  clouds - hazzah!  Before I could talk myself into getting back into the warm bed, I threw on some warm clothes, grabbed my camera gear, and headed out the door.  It was quite chilly out, although that is of course a relative thing.  Being Sunday morning, the town was still asleep, and I only saw a few other cars the entire time I was out.  It was glorious.

I had assumed that a prime location for sunrise photos would be along Hwy 80, towards Douglas.  So, I headed out there.  The sky above Bisbee was blanketed in a heavy layer of low-lying stratocumulus clouds, which generally kill any hope of an attractive sunrise.  However, to the east, there was already some pink hitting the underside of distal clouds, and there were patches of open sky, so there was definitely potential.

Once I got east of the hills of the Mules and could see the distal horizon, I realized that I was too far north for an optimal position.  But, there was some color in the sky, so I got a few shots.  Figuring since I was already out, I'd head out towards the airport and see how the sun position was for future reference.  I was delighted to see that I was, in fact, not too late to arrive on some more sunrise color.

I think what makes these particular images interesting isn't so much the dazzling colors but the complexity of the clouds.  There are low, intermediate and high level clouds, some close and others many miles away.  Each catch the sun's rays at different levels, thus producing different colors and effects. 

While it didn't rain during my outing, it did begin to sprinkle as I came home, and we did get a bit of rain later in the afternoon.  This morning when I woke up (well after sunrise), there wasn't a cloud in the sky. 

I hope you enjoy this latest sunrise set:

From Double Adobe Rd
This was the single keeper shot from the drive down Hwy 80.  The lower level stratocumulus cloud layer isn't bringing anything to the table here, but the upper level clouds offer a nice splash of pink.

Taken from the second location south of town, that same stratocumulus layer now gives a beautiful glow of colors while some bright yellow gives the location of the sun.

Depth Perception
A seperate stratocumulus to the south retains its dark blue-grey color, unlike the smaller cloud fragments.  The higher level altostratus clouds in the distance offer a pleasing range of muted oranges, muaves and blue-greys.
Catching the Light
Turning 90 degrees to the north revealed these beautiful colors and shadows on the eastern hills of the Mules.  A tiny window of blue sky peeks through the stratus clouds here.
Fair Skies to the East
The distal mountains take on the same colors seen in the clouds over them.  The nearby stratocumulus is really calling the shots in this photo, however.

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