October 31, 2014

sunset and sunrise -- what's the difference?

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

A sunset (above). It's easy to assume that sunrises and sunsets are exactly the same--just in reverse order; but there are a few reasons for differences.

Sunrises tend to be cooler with more blue, and sunsets tend to be a bit warmer, with more orange. Science has established that the predominately shorter blue wavelengths of a sunrise undergo scattering considerably more than the longer red wavelengths of a sunset. Moisture, typical of the morning air, plays a role; diminishing red, allowing the shorter blueish wavelengths to become more visible.

Dust, smoke, and smog is usually but not always more abundant at the end of a day. Therefore, at sunset there is generally more particulate matter in the air, scattering the light and causing a more intense reflection.

Another valid explanation is that just before sunrise the irises of our eyes are already quite wide, whereas at sunset our night vision hasn't yet adjusted to the waning light and we just do not see as many subtle colors as we do at sunrise.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Given my druthers, I would chose a sunrise like the one above. But I do not base my preference on colors--but rather the peaceful solitude of sunrise, especially during summer months when the sun arrives very, very early. Ever so briefly, the birds and I have the world all to ourselves.

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Unknown said...

Mr. K., I wonder if you consider requests? There are two areas of Marin I used to call home I am pining to see that you rarely seem to visit.

The first is Larkspur, with fine views of the creek/estuary, usu. w/waterfowl, sometimes with an early a.m. sculler, from a looping trail in the park (you can drive in off Doherty Drive, park behind tennis courts, easy walk) and a nice aspect of Mt. Tam often with a low-slung shawl of evaporating fog. Also off Magnolia Drive between Madrone and W. Baltimore there is a beautiful hiking trail in redwood-studded Madrone Canyon, if you climb high enough there is a cataract in wet weather (we can only hope this winter).

The second is in Novato. There is a winding, mostly level bay-laurel filled trail/fire road from the end of Indian Valley Road to what was the campus of Indian Valley College near Ignacio Blvd. (not too far from the swimming pool). Part of the way it opens out into meadows. it skirts a creekbed. Again in wet weather the creek runs but in dry weather it's the barest trickle or a dry gulch. You might be able to park at the campus, I don't know; we used to park on the Indian Valley Rd. and enter the trailhead between some houses for a nice jog on the fire road.

I think you would enjoy exploring & I would appreciate any views you could capture.

Thanks for all you share!

AphotoAday said...

Thanks, Patricia for those fine tips. I will be checking them out. Much appreciated.

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