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Sunsets appear in a variety of colors

Sunsets appear in a variety of colors
Photo Information
Copyright: Pam Russell (coasties) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3749 W: 483 N: 8155] (28054)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-12-28
Categories: Sky
Camera: Canon EOS 10D, Tamron 28-300XR, Hoya UV 62mm
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Final Version, Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): ~~ Sunsets & Sunrises part I ~~ [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-02-17 0:11
Viewed: 2306
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Sunsets appear in a variety of colors. When the sun is high in the sky, it generally appears white because all wavelengths of visible light reach an observer's eyes with almost equal intensity. As the sun sinks toward the horizon, sunlight enters the atmosphere at a much lower angle and consequently must pass through much more atmosphere before being seen by an observer. Air molecules scatter away the shorter wavelengths of light (violet and blue) and the only light which penetrates through the atmosphere are the longer wavelengths of light (yellow, orange and red) which produce colorful sunsets. Because of the refraction of sunlight by the atmosphere itself, the sun will appear to be higher in the sky than it actually is. The combination of refraction and scattering of sunlight by atmospheric particles is responsible for producing twilight, the brightness in the sky we observe even though the sun is below the horizon.

The size and concentration of atmospheric particles in the path of incoming sunlight determine the type of sunset observed. When sunlight encounters very few particles in the atmosphere, most wavelengths of light reach the observer's eyes with almost equal intensity. The reduced scattering produces the white or yellow sunsets commonly observed in the Rocky Mountains, where the atmosphere typically contains fewer dust and assorted particles.

As incoming sunlight passes through a more dense atmosphere, shorter wavelengths of light (violet and blue) are efficiently scattered away by particles suspended in the atmosphere. This allows predominantly yellow and red wavelengths of light to reach the observer's eyes, producing a yellowish-red sunset.

When there is a high concentration of particles in the atmosphere that are slightly larger than air molecules (like smoke, dust, and pollutants), shorter and intermediate wavelengths of light (violet, blue and yellow) are scattered away. Therefore, only the longer wavelengths (orange and red) reach the observer's eyes, giving the sun a orange-red appearance.

When incoming sunlight encounters a heavy concentration of particles in the atmosphere, the shorter wavelengths of light (violet and blue) are scattered away, resulting in a red sunset. Red sunsets are often observed from a beach because of the high concentration of salt particles suspended in the air over the oceans. These particles effectively scatter shorter wavelengths of light, producing red sunsets. Dust and ash particles injected into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions can also cause red sunsets.

The above obtained from http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu

Image Information

Camera: Canon 10D
Time of day: 8:44 p.m.
Date: 28th December 2004
Weather conditions: Sunset
Lens: Tamron 28 - 300mm XR
Filter: Hoya 62mm UV
Shutter Speed: 1/90
F-Stop: F/6.7
Flash: No
Tripod: No
Focal Length: 28mm
ISO: 400

scottevers7, red45, marhowie, ellis49, willie has marked this note useful
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To scottevers7: My Notescoasties 1 02-17 01:21
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Critiques [Translate]

Pam, great landscape shot of this sunset! It looks like it needs to be rotated to the right a few degrees to get the waterline to level. I really like the composition and framing. Great notes on what causes the colors of sunsets. Next time I post one, may I just use your great notes?

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2005-02-17 3:50]

Beautiful, calm sunset Pam. I love colours and clouds on this. Excellent note.

Magnific shot.
Your picture transmit peace...

  • Great 
  • puffy Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 289 W: 0 N: 339] (1351)
  • [2005-02-17 5:24]

Nice shot of sunset Pam, :) I just post one too.. but not as nice as this one.. I am getting jealous now... Lol kidding. Beautiful sunset, clear shot of the grass, nice... Thank for sharing.

Very nice landscape, great colours. But the sea should be flat... You should rotate it 2 degrees CCW.
Well done.

Pam, Beautiful capture! As far as sunsets go, on a scale of 1 to 10..it's a 9.5 anyway!! Your composition & POV is excellent..Well done!!

This a great Landscape Pam, very beautiful.
It's tints a little but it's not disturbing.
Very good colours, composition and details.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • willie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1023 W: 61 N: 648] (2083)
  • [2005-02-17 13:32]

Gorgeous shot Pam. Very nice notes as well.
Good work

Pam this sunset is stunning! You don't get to see one with that many colors often. Your note about what causes all the colors is interesting, I'll have to let my girls read it they're always asking why...and now I can tell them! Beautiful, stunning, sharp and clear, tilts slightly to the left (did I mention I'm the annoying friend that comes in your house and straightens your pictures??)
Otherwise a Super photo!

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