Sunday, December 11, 2016

Abajo Peaks: Sunset to Sunrise

Abajo Mountains, early sunset colors.
An early December evening at the lake. Until today, the sunsets had been devoid of colors for about a week. Why? Too clear, as in not enough clouds in the right position to create colors.

South Mountain and golden cloud bank, early sunset colors.
The recipe is pretty straightforward: Clouds over the setting sun on the western horizon, with a "slot" of clear sky below them. The clouds serve as a reflector screen for the just-set sun's rays to light up. So it's not the exact sunset time for peak colors, it's just past sunset. The afterglow.

Abajo peaks, late sunset colors.
On this particular evening, it was a double show of colors. The early colors were yellows and golds. I had thought that was the climax. But after another five minutes or so the clouds turned red. Never leave too early!
Abajo Mountains at sunrise.
The next morning the peaks were bathed in a soft golden glow for several minutes just after sunrise. From left to right: South Mountain, Abajo Peak (the tallest of the Abajos, at 11,360 feet (3,463 m), and Horsehead Mountain.

Photo location: Monticello, San Juan County, southeast Utah.

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