Wave Clouds at Sunrise Over the Front Range of Colorado

January 01, 2020


Photographer: Peter Claussen 
Summary Authors: Peter Claussen; Jim Foster

This attention-getting sunup was captured on December 7, 2019, from ice-covered Mary's Lake in Estes Park, Colorado. The camera is facing east. Though I was hoping to get a sunrise shot, the mountain wave clouds shown here were totally grey as I set up my camera, but just when I thought about leaving and going back to bed, sunlight broke through the Front Range, illuminating the sky with colors of red, orange and purple. The Sun was in the so-called golden hour – when the solar disk is situated from 4 degrees below the horizon to just above the horizon. For photographers, light appears redder and softer at this time because of the increased path length of sunlight; shorter wavelength colors (blues and greens) are more readily scattered from our view by minute particles in the atmosphere than are the longer wavelength reds and oranges. Nonetheless, only when there’s an abundance of aerosols in the atmosphere, and clouds that are present are positioned at the right altitude to acquire the reddened light, will the sunrise or sunset be truly unforgettable.

Photo Details: Camera: NIKON Z 7; Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic 7.5 (Windows); Exposure Time: 0.0040s (1/250); Aperture: ƒ/6.3; ISO equivalent: 500; Focal Length (35mm): 37.