Posts Tagged ‘clouds’

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #14- Rain

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the rain.  Contrary to popular belief, it does rain in Southern California, but as a kid it was even better when it poured.  I could hardly wait until I could go outside and get soaking wet.  Springtime brought the rain back then, and the old adage seemed to be true:  April showers bring May flowers.

There are many more reasons I love the rain now.  Having lived through severe droughts, rain still brings an almost automatic reflex of relief.  It is the one weather event that happens worldwide, so it can help you feel connected to the earth no matter where you are, much like seeing the moon or stars can do for you at night.  It represents sustaining life in so many ways.

Living beings require water to live, even more than food, and rain is how we get all of our fresh water.  A shower can give a sense of cleansing, of washing away the grime of life, of washing away our sins.  After a good rain, our mood is almost always lifted.  There is a reason for the popularity of Dancing in the Rain.  During a drenching rain storm, most of us are forced to stay indoors, giving us an excuse to snuggle up with our mate or kids in front of a fire, drink hot chocolate, make some popcorn and watch a new or a favorite movie.  Stormy nights remind us of the power and awe of nature, of the good and bad of it, and this is exaggerated when roaring thunder shakes the house.

Rain pours through the atmosphere, cooling and humidifying hot air, warming ambient cold air in winter months, and clings to specks of pollution to literally condition the air around us.  It moisturizes your skin and cleanses plant leaves.  It adds moisture to farms’ soil, helps leach salts down beyond the root zone and the rivers it creates are dammed for hydroelectric power.

But the thing I like most about the rain is its sound.  If you’ve never fallen to sleep to the soothing pitter-patter of rain on the roof above you, you’ve really missed out.  Of course, a hard rain or hail pounding on a metal roof can be deafening but awe-inspiring.

Ever notice how quickly the scenery greens up after a summer rain?  Is there anything more precious than seeing a group of school-aged children in rain coats and boots stomping in puddles?  Every see a child’s face the first time you tell them that it’s raining cats and dogs?  Interestingly, the source of that phrase is unknown.  It might have its roots in Norse mythology, medieval superstitions, the obsolete word catadupe (waterfall), or dead animals in the streets of Britain being picked up by storm waters.  We do know that Richard Brome, an English playwright, wrote in his 1652 comedy, City Witt, “It shall rain dogs and polecats.”  However, a polecat back then was more related to a weasel than a cat.

What I miss most about living in Kansas are the summer storms.  Though often severe, we haven’t experienced anything even close to it since we moved away [except occasionally in Texas].  It always reminded me that without rain, there is no rainbow.


My closing quote for this topic is from American poet Langston Hughes, who wrote, “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

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It’s not always bad news…

Sunrise seen from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park

Reason #12- Sunrise

There are some obvious, even cliché, feelings everyone has about sunrise, at least in some point in their lives.  It symbolizes a brand-new start, of leaving yesterday behind and the promise of good things to come.  I have those feelings, too, but wanted to delve deeper.  There’s something else about watching a sunrise, something visceral.

First, compared to sunsets, the colors and radiance of sunrises are often more brilliant at sunrise.  This may be because of atmospheric conditions in which haze and smog can build all day, leaving sunsets muted, albeit sometimes with a wider palette.  Also, the sun approaching the horizon has its rays slowly building until the first light leaps in a blinding shine of light.  With the opposite trajectory, the sunlight fades from its last direct light of the day.  These might be comparable to your eyes, depending on conditions, but emotionally the former is more exciting.

Comparisons would not be fair without considering the landscape at the location you choose.  The shape, type and abundance of clouds can make or break either daybreak or day’s end, so very often you do have to be in the right place at the right time.  Too many, too thick or too few clouds can ruin the photogenic aspects of the shot.  In Florida, you have the best opportunity for great sunrises on the Atlantic shore and for wonderful sunsets on the Gulf shore.  In Colorado, sunrises east of the Rockies will be much better than sunsets due to the extremely high horizon — the sun never gives the vivid hues because it has already set behind the mountains.  I’ve always loved both sunrise and sunset over large bodies of water, so my best photos depend on that — sunrise in Maine, sunset at the eastern shore of Lake Ontario in Upstate New York.  All of that said, coastal regions suffer fog or marine layers that often eliminate sunrises completely.  That was true often during our travel through New England.

For some, sunrise can be a religious experience, or at least a confirmation of the awesome God they pray to.  I’m not religious, but I felt the sunrise I witnessed from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park definitely had a spiritual aura, something I shared with about 2,000 other tourists and photographers.

There are numerous positive effects from watching a sunrise.  You will probably be in a better mood throughout the day after the experience, and it has been proven to help fight stress, depression and anxiety.  It might also make you grateful for the earth and nature.  Though it is a daily experience, every sunrise is different, with a myriad of environmental aspects affecting the sight.  Not only do you have all of those aspects, you get them all for free. 

Take all the science, the fact that I am up early to watch, the emotional clichés and crisp, brilliant colors, and I’d have to say that sunrise is always something special and my preference.  Yes, I have taken some amazing sunset photos, but just as many sunrises have made my favorites list and the other factors I’ve mentioned make the difference.


I’ll end this discussion with a quote from a 19th century leader in New Zealand, George Grey:  “Sunrise offered a very beautiful spectacle; the water was quite unruffled, but the motion communicated by the tides was so great that, although there was not a breath of air stirring, the sea heaved slowly with a grand and majestic motion.

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The Donut Hole

“The Donut Hole”
Photo of the Week #43, selected in March, 2020

Ever since I took this photo in the Colorado Rockies, I’ve referred to it as my “Donut Hole” picture. I guess it reminds me of powdered sugar donut. Sometimes a name just sticks…

This shot was taken from the top of the slopes above Winter Park. We don’t ski but traveled to the top of the Continental Divide via snow plow. If you haven’t experienced winter in Colorado, it should be on your to-do list. The Winter Park resort area, owned by the City of Denver, ranges from 8,700 to 12,060 feet above sea level and is considered sub-alpine country. It is snow-covered for about six months a year.

Here’s my photo on Imagekind:

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Beam Me Up, Scotty
Beam Me Up, Scotty

Photo of the Week 005- Originally Selected 6/15/19-
“Beam Me Up, Scotty”

I couldn’t help but notice this unusual cloud formation over Bryce Canyon, Utah. Interestingly, Bryce is not a canyon at all, but rather a collection of giant amphitheaters made up of distinctive geological structures called hoodoos. This vista, along with many views at nearby Zion National Park, makes this area one of our favorites to visit. That said, this is the only time we found the Starship Enterprise seemingly hovering over the park…

As always, please click on the link to view the clear, full-color image:


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:


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