Tag Archives: sunset

Big (old) Dog vs. Great Blue Heron, pt. 2

dolby-GBH

 

We don’t take Dolby out to the beach nearly as often as we used to. Back in the day he’d follow us up and down the shoreline as far as we could go, chasing after crabs, taking a dip in the water here and there, sniffing after weird stuff washed up on shore, and running pell-mell after errant pelicans, seagulls, and Great Blue Herons.

But Dolby is nine years old now. He’s slowed down quite a bit in the last couple years and having arthritis in his hips hasn’t helped that. Some days, just seeing him trying to get into the car is a painful thing to watch. So we’re more selective about when we take him down to the beach where the shifting sand makes walking more difficult.

We took him to Pensacola Beach with us this past Thursday. He walked maybe 30 yards one way, then 30 yards the other with us, but finally took up residence on the beach blanket while Lise went hunting for shells and I went hunting for perspective.

The sun was already near the horizon and was shaping up to be a very nice sunset. I noticed a Great Blue Heron had landed 30 yards away from us, so I mounted the camera on the tripod, turned myself around, and took a few shots. I asked Dolby who it was that was down the beach from us, and he got his excited-puppy look on his face, his ears perked up, and he searched the shore for what intruder I might be inquiring about.

I watched him for a few seconds, determined that he was more than likely not going to move, and went back to zooming in on the GBH and getting a few more shots.

Now, I noticed the heron quickly turn its head, but I didn’t realize why he’d done it. UNTIL. Until the fuzzy black butt of my dog appeared in the frame of my next shot. He didn’t get as close as he used to, and he was more bumbling than running, but he gave it a good try.

And of course I have a series of shots to prove it and an overly long story to tell of our sweet old boy.

Anticrepuscular Rays

One thing about Pensacola sunsets that has blown my mind since we moved here is this optical illusion known as anticrepuscular rays. It’s not an everyday thing, but it’s frequent enough that I’m not surprised when I see it. IMG_2751sq This shot is from Christmas Eve just as the sun is setting. Because of how those rays appear, one might think that this is looking due West, after the sun has actually set. This is not the case, however! This view is to the East, and the point where the rays converge is the exact opposite of where the sun is setting in the West.

Quoting the website “Atmospheric Optics” (atoptics.co.uk): “They appear to converge towards the antisolar point, the point on the sky sphere directly opposite the sun. Like crepuscular rays they are parallel shafts of sunlight from holes in the clouds and their apparently odd directions are a perspective effect. Think of a long straight road, it converges towards the horizon but turn around and it also converges to the opposite horizon.” IMG_2753sq Sometimes I get so focused on the sunset itself that I forget to turn around and see if this effect is in play on that night. Thankfully I did, as this is one of the most amazing displays of anticrepuscular rays I’ve seen yet.

Still waiting for Hurricane Isaac

In the week+ since we were warned that a tropical storm was brewing down south and looked to be heading towards Pensacola, we’re still waiting for the effects. Heck, we’re still waiting for just about anything from this system that doesn’t look like any other day on the Gulf Coast / Florida Panhandle.

On Sunday night our school district cancelled classes for Monday and Tuesday. I hopped on the bike that night and went around taking pictures of the clear skies and beautiful sunset down by the water.

Monday night, Lise and I went out and took more pictures – what a contrast! The clouds and strong winds are about the only thing that tell you that there’s a hurricane out there, but the difference between the top and bottom picture, taken almost exactly 24 hours apart, is striking!

Still waiting, Hurricane Isaac!