Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – March 24, 2017

It’s convenient and fortunate when this prompt coincides with a recent road trip. It wasn’t a long trip. About three hours from our house to Tom and Ellin’s place in Connecticut and an easy drive. Only one city to cross — Hartford — and that’s usually easy unless you get there exactly at rush hour. We didn’t and it was a smooth way down. 

Highway bridge

Lots of talking and hanging about. Some good, old-fashioned table-thumping ranting — a good way to let off some steam. And Garry discovered the miracle that is virtual reality. You’d think I’d love virtual reality because I love amusement parks and rides, but for me that experience is shared. It’s not a “me with me” experience. It’s doing it then being able to talk about it with the other kids who were playing there too.

We didn’t go out much, probably because it was raining and sleeting for two out of three days. Of course the day we went home was glorious, as is today. Oh well.

Trucks heading into darkness

Driving home — starting later than usual — was no big deal. Nothing special until we were almost home. The sun had been swinging to setting down for the night, but at about four thirty, everything turned gold. The gray naked trees turned bright gold. They looked like deep autumn trees. The combination of the shadows and the sunlight were absolutely amazing.

Clouds and home ahead

I’ve been in the presence of golden light a few times. Once, at sundown, on our street, facing almost due west into the lowering sun. Another late afternoon on the Mumford river. The sun was gold, the trees were amber from the very end of autumn and the light hit the water and turned it to molten gold. This was similar but it lasted much longer. It was first pale yellow and deepened for close to an hour. By the time we were within a mile of home, we had to pull off the road and take pictures.

I’m sure there is someone out there who knows what causes light to change color? Particles in the air? Some odd configuration of a falling sun and the shape and form of the clouds? Reflections of amber leaves on the last of the Autumn trees? It is a remarkable event for the human eye. I may never find myself in that ring of glowing gold again, but I won’t so easily forget it.


  1. It’s some kind of refraction of light… the same reason the sky appears to be blue instead of green, pink or rainbow colored. I would guess that the angle the light source is coming from also plays a part, which is why everything shifts towards orange and red during sunset and sunrise. Physics killed me in school, so please do not take this comment as any kind of official scientific advice!


    1. I’m sure it is. I’d like to know what color the sunlight needs to be to make the tops of the trees turn that golden (ocher?) color. I’ve never seen light quite that color before. Close, but not like that.


  2. The sunset we encountered as we neared home was gorgeous. Reminded me of the Blue-gold skies and tree tops of those early 50’s Republic westerns shot at their outdoor ranch in Arizona. Republic used “tru-color” or “cine color”, cheap versions of technicolor. Still very beautiful.


  3. They call the last hour of light in the afternoon and the first hour in the morning the ‘golden hour,’ It seems to be a combination of many things — the angle of the sun’s rays, the atmospheric junk near the horizon, the reflections off light green new leaves, and so forth — it’s beautiful!


  4. I love the golden hour. I remember driving from Vienna, Austria to Kirchberg one late afternoon and the light was glorious. But no battery left, and so the cameras were packed away. Just the brilliant memories


  5. I’ll try to keep this short… how we see light is a very complex thing. Our sun is called a yellow star as it gives off it’s highest intensity of light in the range of the spectrum we see as yellow. When we look close to it (never directly at it) we see ‘white’ light which is really just how our eyes detect all the colours of the visible spectrum (those in a rainbow) in roughly equal intensity. Our atmosphere scatters light much the same as rain does when we see a rainbow. Blue light scatters more widely than do other colours (red the least) so when we look at a cloudless sky more blue light is being scattered (reflected back) into our eyes. When the sun rises or sets and there are clouds above it we are seeing red light because it scatters the least and we are seeing light coming almost directly into our eyes from the sun or reflected at a low angle from the clouds. Similarly for deep yellow/gold but at a higher angle of sunlight. See how colours change when white light hits a prism; the red goes straightest and orange/gold/yellow the next. Green/blue are ‘bent’ the most.

    Two things i cannot yet explain is why we only see the gold sometimes, not all the time, and why do we never see green light from the sun??? I might hafta look those up? 🙂



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