We think of the landscape as something that doesn't change. Or if it does, it changes over long periods of time. The sky is a different story. I think we all know and see the sky changing. But still, we notice it's changes over longer periods of times - like hours - and mostly when something big is happening, like a storm front blowing in or clearing out. On a normal late October sunny day, the sky will change for sure. But how fast does it change? And how much change could there possibly be in twenty three minutes?
Twenty Three minutes... less time than the average television sitcom. Less time than it takes most people to get ready in the morning. Less time than it takes to walk two miles. In one twenty three minute period of time, at sunset on the last weekend of October, time stood still while the sky above me changed continuously. I watched the clouds constantly forming different shapes and reflecting light and color in so many ways. I took almost one hundred photographs and I don't think any two were exactly alike. It started with a bright mix of colors from blue to yellow and gold and ended with the deep orange and red as the last light faded away. All of this in twenty three minutes.
(Click on any image for a full screen view.)
Many people think the show is over when the sun sets below the horizon. In reality, the light show is actually just beginning! The sun reflects light off the underside of the clouds and it changes color and shape quickly. At this time, there is still some blue in the sky and it mixes with the bright yellow, orange and red of the fading sun. I sat in a field on a hill and watched the show begin. I caught the early part of the show with the biggest variety of colors and watched it change.
I didn't know my family thought I was missing. I didn't know our dog followed me into the field, probably thinking I was crazy. I was unaware of everyone else getting ready to walk into town for the halloween parade that evening. For me, there was no passage of time. I was only aware of the rapidly changing light, color, and shapes in the sky. It kept changing so quickly and I kept seeing new photographs. There was constant change yet it felt like the complete absence of time.
Eventually the sensation of time returned, and the sky got darker, the clouds more black, and the variety of colors was replaced by shades of orange and red. It was hard not to keep pointing the camera in different directions and taking pictures. But it was getting very dark and the show was at it's end - with one final burst of orange.
It was a great show - one I'd recommend to anyone. Twenty three minutes that felt like none. I was breathless even though I had hardly moved - just enough to point the camera in different directions. I look forward to the sequel one day!
A Photo Essay from November 2016, by Brian Reitenauer.