Sunday, January 9, 2011

Uncertain Skies

Another, perhaps next-to-last, in the Southwest Sky series.  Another with the highway - the interstate this time, with its smooth black asphalt - visible.  View is due west, heading towards Flagstaff.  Titled such because it's not clear what the weather will be like as we climb to the 7,000' elevation of Flagstaff.  Clearing, rain or snow?

One observation that I've made regarding cloud-filled skies, is how intensely blue the sky patches are compared to how the sky seems on a sunny day.  From an optical perspective, I'm not sure how it is explained, so I am assuming it is more of a phenomenon of contrast:  the grays of the clouds, as they absorb, reflect and scatter light from the sun and the surface of the earth, make the colors of he sky seem so much more pure and intense.  The gradations of color are so striking and beautiful in the negative areas where sky shows through.

Even looking out my window as I type this, I notice the effect.  Stratocumulus snow clouds are drifting by, in lovely shades of yellows, purples and blue-grays, and the sky seems so much more intense in areas surrounded by cloud vapor.

Uncertain Skies
oil on MDF oil primed board

The snowshoeing post with photos of Andrews Lake will be a separate post, perhaps tomorrow, but here are some photos of today's walk down the Animas river trail:

Looking upriver from the footbridge - intense blue reflects from the small patches of visible sky.  Some ducks enjoy the icy water.

Downriver from the footbridge -  hard to believe it's the same location.  Warm southerly light reflects in the river and a patch of willows on the embankment add some additional interest with the snow-covered river boulders.

Cross-section of life forms
  A front line of dormant reeds contrasts with the rock-strewn section of the river.  Can you find the Canadian geese?  

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