Crepuscular Rays over the Palouse

Crepucular Rays over the Palouse

As the sun passed behind a bank of clouds, these crepuscular rays were formed over the Palouse

I mentioned in my last post that we observed an incredible sunset from Steptoe Butte. Today’s post will show the start of that sunset and I’ll conclude next time.

As the sun moved closer and closer to the horizon, the shadows on the hills below us became longer and longer. Eventually, the shadows became so long and the sun became obscured by a cloud bank so often, that the effect on the hills was lost. At that point, we moved to a more direct view of the setting sun. Up to that point we had been shooting with the sun at a ninety degree angle to our right. That meant we had been facing south. We now moved to look almost due west so that we could see all that was going on with the setting sun, the rolling hills of the Palouse, and the cloud bank to our west.

For a while, we worried that the clouds would obscure the sunset. Eventually, it became apparent that there were enough breaks in the clouds, though, that it was likely that we would have a colorful sunset. I’m not certain when the transition from late afternoon to sunset occurs. For us, it was at about this point in the afternoon. In the featured image, you can see the sun generating crepuscular rays as it drops behind a cloud bank. I love this effect and try to capture it whenever I can. I’ve always called these types of rays sunbeams. I once heard them referred to as God Rays. Apparently, crepuscular rays is the formal, scientific name. Whatever you call them, I hope you agree that they certainly are beautiful.

I’ve also included an image of a farm that lay directly in front of us. I don’t know that it is the best picture I’ve ever taken, but I certainly love the strong backlight created by the sun as it dropped out of the cloud bank. The farm is the same one that is in the left foreground of the featured image. I used a 70-200 lens with a 2x teleconverter for the farm close-up. The featured image was captured using 70-200 without the teleconverter. I think both are beautiful images. I hope you do as well. Enjoy.

Last Light on a Palouse Farm

The setting sun creates long shadows on a farm in eastern Washington




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