The Camera Phone and the Dilettante Photographer: Part 2

In Part 1 I think I mentioned that I’m a little fixated on skyscapes. (I’d probably be fixated on starscapes, too, but night photography requires a level of skill that is clearly, judging from the deplorable quality of my photos, lacking.)

Most of the great skyscape photo opportunities I get are from the front deck of the hubster’s family’s cabin in Stanley, Idaho. It’s a breathtaking view and, as far as results are concerned, highly ego inflating. You can’t take a bad picture from the place, you just can’t. I challenge anyone to try. It’s a favorite playground for the Northwest weather gods who are forever romping around, rolling in from one end of the valley or the other, or spilling over and between the mountain peaks, or rising up from the early dawn river as fog, or shooting down between a crack in dark clouds as ethereal, roving spotlights. It’s amazing and kind of spellbinding. The first time I ever visited the cabin I just sat at the front window staring outside for three days. (It was also the first time I ever met the hubster’s family who, fortunately, forgave me. They’re pretty proud of the place.)Carpe Musings

Shaw mesa winter storm lighting

Version 2

Shaw mesa dramatic storm front copyTired yet? But I have so many more. Sigh.

These last two were taken by the hubster. The first is morning fog filling up the deep valley between the mesa we perch on and the mountain range on the other side:View this morning B copyAnd the last is…well, we have no idea what this is. It’s a phenomenon we’ve only ever seen up at the cabin this once. It was a column of light that shot up unexpectedly from the setting sun. It was HUGE. The photo doesn’t capture that part. And most odd, lasting about two minutes from the time we first saw it.Morning light column over Sawtooths copySorry for the enormous size of the photograph. WordPress changed the download media feature while I was gone and I haven’t figured out how to resize yet. As mentioned…dilettante. 

The only other time I’ve seen this column of light was on the morning Obama came to Boise to speak while campaigning for his first election. It shot up into the sky from behind the Boise mountains directly over the Taco Bell Arena where he was scheduled in an hour’s time and, between you and me, I think it was an expression of total Idaho flabbergast. A Democratic presidential candidate campaigning here? It was as astounding as if a migrating flamingo had been blown off course and landed in one of the ponds over in Katherine Albertson Park. Even the sky was surprised at such a turn of events and it shot up a great big exclamation point of light before it remembered itself and regained its poise.

I would love to know what causes it though. Any ideas?

copyright 2016 Dia Osborn

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8 responses

  1. Somebody forgot to turn off their LED Flashlight?
    🙂 Great photos from the Sawtooth Mtns.! Never get tired of these…pretty amazing these are from a cell phone camera!
    H.

  2. Gorgeous shots at the cabin, Dia! I’m partial to fog photos, but all were stunning.

    So I found your column of light. It’s a sun pillar (other things can make them, too).

    Here are are two links, one informative, one a set of photos of this phenomenon from all over.

    http://earthsky.org/earth/what-is-a-sun-pillar

    http://apod.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/apod/apod_search?tquery=%22sun%20pillar%22

    Thank you for helping me learn something this weekend!

    • Thank you!! What a relief to find out what causes that. I spent quite a while looking at all the different photos on that Astronomy website. They’re so beautiful! And don’t get me started on fog photography. Have you ever seen “Adrift”? It’s time lapse photography of fog over the Marin Headlands around San Francisco and is spellbinding. Reveals the similar behaviors of water no matter which form it’s currently taking. Here’s a link if you ever have a few minutes. http://www.simonchristen.com/adrift.html
      I always love hearing from you!

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