A Winter Morning Sequence

I have spent the last few months with a focus on finishing a task – that of documenting our trip to Morocco last year. It took me longer than I expected. Now that I have finished off that self-assigned task, my mind can transport itself more efficiently to the other random stuff that I used to muse about. In fact, there were happenings that I did not talk about between the Morocco trip and today because of my focus – things that I might have had something to say about under “normal” circumstances. After all, a lot of time has passed since last September, when we made the trip to Morocco. I had to make the emergency trip to India last November. I was back home from that trip in time for the weekend in the Cacapons, to be followed the by Christmas and New Year. Our chorus had its outdoor holiday gigs during that time. I resumed my volunteer work soon after my travels. And we also resumed our winter outings along the Potomac River and the C&O Canal as soon as things settled down sufficiently for us to be able to do so.

Yeah, interesting stuff, at least in my mind, was happening – but the mind was otherwise occupied. Never mind that the freshness and the afterglow of the Morocco experience was wearing off slowly but surely, I had to complete the task I had set myself. That task is done for the most part now – except for the completion of my photo galleries in this regard.

I might have already mentioned this in some earlier blog, but winter mornings can be spectacular in our neighborhood. For one thing, since sunrise happens at later hours of the morning in winter, one has a chance to observe the dawn of the day in more of its fullness. I think that the angle of the rays of the sun hitting our latitudes early in the morning at this time of year also contributes to our colorful experience. (The light has to travel longer distances through the atmosphere for longer periods of time during winter sunrise, and less of the visible frequencies of the spectrum survive these longer distances.)

Anyway, here is what one winter morning looked like with the passage of time.

Early appearance:

After a little while:

The color changed to a more orange hue before it all slowly disappeared:

I think that was well worthwhile for me rush to the bedroom window with my camera early in the morning to capture what was happening in the sky!

Drat, Double Drat, and Triple Drat!

I was hoping to get back to our regular Sunday morning walk routine today. We had already gone two weekends without this outing, and I felt the need to get back to the outdoors. Winter was calling me. The snowfalls during the last week would have made for an amazing and very different exploration of the woods and its denizens. The trails would hopefully be lightly tread this soon after the storms so that one would be crunching ones way over untouched snow on the virgin trail. These dreams were quickly shattered. A quick look at the weather forecast when we woke up revealed predictions of icy precipitation for the next few hours. We changed our plans. Drat that!

I did discover that this state of affairs created a great opportunity for me to take pictures of a brilliant sunrise from our bedroom window. I would not have noticed the developing situation if I had been otherwise occupied.I have been taking pictures of the sunrise from our bedroom window more often this winter, after the replacement of the blinds on our bedroom window this summer by curtains which are easier to move out of the way.

And then, when I went to a window at back of the house, this is what I saw.It was a perfect rainbow. And the rainbow stayed up for a long time.

The colors of the rainbow were very distinct. I was however unsuccessful in taking a good picture of the separated colors because of my inability to focus on the colors when I zoomed in.There has been an added element of uncertainty, and perhaps a little bit of chaos, in events of the last week. I have not been able to see an Endodontist yet because of a positive COVID test result in the family, one that also resulted in the cancellation of an international trip that was supposed to take place last week. Plans are being adjusted on the fly. Triple Drat!

A Sunrise In Chennai – The City Awakens

It is a strange thing that is happening to my body. Over a week has passed since my trip across the globe and I am still fighting the effects of jet lag. My avoidance of afternoon naps to enable nights of longer sleep duration have not panned out so far. I end up waking up a few hours before the sun is up, much before the sounds of the street begin to pick up, even earlier than the wake up calls of the birds. But this state of affairs did also offer an opportunity. I was awake early enough to be able to go up to the third floor terrace of the house to greet the sunrise and the dawning of the new day. Armed with information about the expected time of sunrise in Chennai, I ascended the stairs to the top of the house yesterday just before the dawn was due.

This first picture of the bright light in the skies turned out to be a show well before the actual sunrise. The colors in the sky disappeared very quickly.

Store fronts began to open and set up on the street. This is a little cafe.

This is a little store front right across the road.The banana leaves you see in the picture will probably be used for packing food that is sold. Later in the morning, the owner will wash the store front and complete the Kolam, the auspicious floor design on the ground in front of the home that is a tradition of South India.The milk packets for sale have already arrived are in the yellow crate.

Another false sunrise appeared in the sky shortly after the first one. It was brighter still than the first burst of light, and could be seen in a slightly different direction from that first light show. This time the light appeared over a building next to the terrace I was standing on.

This is the way the sky looked when you turned away from the sunrise phenomenon.

The color in the sky in the direction of the sunrise lost its intensity fairly quickly after the second burst of color.

The next distinct indication of the continuation of the sunrise was the light of the sun falling directly on a building that lay across from the rising sun.

It was a peaceful scene. Birds could be seen flying high across the sky in little groups. They seemed to have a sense of purpose. They flew in straight lines from one edge of the horizon to the other. From below me, on the street, arose the sounds of an awakening city.

But I still could not see the sun. It was hidden by the building in front of me. I could see the faint flare of light, somewhat like an aura, at the level of the building as the process continued.

The picture below shows the final phase of the whole transformation.

I departed the terrace at this point. My experience of the magic of this sunrise was now complete.

The Beginning and End of A Day in December

I found both the sunrise and sunset at our house interesting on this particular December day. It was a pure coincidence that the conditions and timing were right for this to happen.

This was the sunrise from the front of the house. For a moment it seemed as if the sky was going to catch fire. This scene lasted for just an instant. Timing was all!

The sky began to turn purple at sunset. Gone were the blues of the day!This shot of the sunset was taken from the back of the house, barely a minute after the picture above, as the light faded from the sky.

Meditations at Daybreak

It is a good time to find a quiet space for the mind before the hustle and bustle of the busy day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe morning call of the awakening birds greets me as I head for the terrace of the house.  Sunrises in Chennai are a different experience from those that I am used to in my part of the world.  The tones are different, and the colors are more muted. The explosion of light and color that I am used to experiencing as the sun clears the horizon seems to be missing.  But it is a remarkable experience nonetheless.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is too bad that most of us are indoors, either asleep, or preoccupied with getting ready for the hassles of the day, when this phenomenon takes place. I can see myself on a beach or on a mountaintop just soaking it all in. The glory of a sunrise provides a good moment for meditation and contemplation of bigger things, and this is true regardless of where you are in the world.

Sunrise and a Sunset in our Neighborhood

We have some spectacular sunrises and sunsets in our neighborhood when the conditions are right.  The sunrise events happen right outside our front door, and the timing is good for pictures this time of the year.  All I have to do is grab the camera and open the front door, or go to an upstairs window.  This was just a few days ago.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can capture a decent sunset from the back of the house, but the view is partially blocked by the houses behind ours.  Capturing it in its full form requires me to go to another part of the neighborhood.   This is exactly what I did last Sunday.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Time and Place for Everything

The subject of this week’s photo challenge, “I’d Rather Be…“, suggests a sense of wanting to be in a different place doing something different.  Yes, I would rather be be exploring the world like I was fortunate to be able to do last year – California, Nevada, Missouri, a bike ride in the Canadian Rockies, Ecuador (including the Galapagos), and finally India. But when I see a sunrise like this in front of my own home, I also realize that one does not necessarily have to wander far from home to experience the wonders of this world.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transitions

This is a wide open topic since almost everything that we experience that is noteworthy is related to transitions, whether it be those that are in nature or in the environment around us, or whether it be those that we experience in our own lives.  Transitions can be abrupt or they can be gradual.  Sometimes they are of a subtle nature and not obvious until it has happened.

But I also cannot help thinking that almost everything that most of us already tend to talk about in our blogs tends to be about changes and transitions!  So, I was not too successful in trying to find my own unique take on this subject. But I thought I would present something anyway.

The first picture is of a sunrise over the water.  You can barely make out the transition from land to water.  There are more transitions underway in this picture.


This second picture is also of a sunrise, but is taken from inside an aircraft, over the wing of the aircraft.  Besides the transition from night into day, there is the transition between the aircraft and the sky and then the transitions between the land and the sky and the different layers of color in the sky.


The third picture shows an abrupt transition of clouds in the sky.  This picture was taken near sunset.  There is no subtlety in the nature of this transition in the big picture.


I made an argument in an early blog that while some changes (or transitions) seem to be abrupt (or digital), life is truly experienced in a gradual (or analog) manner.  I wonder if there are any folks who will agree with me.

See other submissions in this theme at this site.