Monday, December 10, 2018

Last Light on Big Clouds

Big Sky Country, oil on panel, 6 x 12 inches
I'm attracted to the last sunlight on big clouds at the end of the day. The color of light on the clouds shifts from a warm white at the top to dull red-orange farther down. The base of the clouds merges with the general tone of the sky.

I explain this phenomenon in an earlier post Sunset Color Bands:
As the light passes nearer to the surface of the earth, more and more blue wavelengths are scattered out by fine particles of dust and by the air molecules themselves, with only the longer reddish wavelengths remaining. In other words, the light gets dimmer and redder as it approaches to the earth’s shadow line.
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Previously:
Sunset Color Bands
Fast Food and Big Boxes
The Golden Hour
More in my book: Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter

5 comments:

Jeff Hebert said...

I love this one James. I find that soft transition and not going too cool at the top of the clouds to be a challenge, as white tends to cool colors.

Pyracantha said...

I love those big puffy clouds at sunset. They look like giant scoops of peach ice cream.

EB Snook said...

Does a sunrise look different than a sunset? I've tried photographing both and comparing, but there are too many other factors that get in the way for me to make a good analysis. I've tried studying paintings, guessing which is a sunrise or set before looking at the title or accompanying info. Logically, a sunset, at the end of a day of sun warming the land, is warmer than a sunrise,when all has been cooled over the night. But visually, it *seems* to me, that one is the reverse of the other. At a given moment, when one lines up the shadow lengths. I'm not seeing a difference.

James Gurney said...

EB Snook, I've wondered about that, too. I've read many theories on the subject, but haven't confirmed any concrete differences with my own observation, except in very dusty settings where afternoon activity kicks up a lot of red dust that settles down by morning.

EB Snook said...

I was sure you'd given it thought. And observation. Thank you for all that you share.