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SmokeBow Over Wyotana Backcountry

SmokeBow Over Wyotana Backcountry
SmokeBow Over Wyotana Backcountry

SmokeBow Over Wyotana Backcountry

Probably the last serious rainbow of the 2020 was this late “Golden Hour” spectral display a few weeks ago as this posts. The Sun over my shoulder was HEAVILY Smoke Pall filtered giving the marked color cast displayed here. The total lack of blue light being obvious in the refracted spectrum. All of that was absorbed by the smoke. Missing the blue/indio components gives a very odd feeling to the scene live real time. I’ve said before it reminds me of the solar eclipse in 2017 that went through the area. This is certainly one of the more extreme rainbows I’ve ever seen. There will be more of this event as it flows through my workstation.

This capture of course is a long telephoto image right into the left leg of a very tall rainbow. Late day rainbows are closer to a perfect 1/2 of a circle. From the air rainbows are circles with your shadow in the center. On the ground though, your limited to half of the circle at most. But as such sunset rainbows are relatively HUGE compared to mid to afternoon rainbows. Mid-day rainbows are wide but not tall. This one was wide AND tall. This was right at the height of the smoke generation from the west coast fires as seen here almost exactly on the border of Wyoming / Montana. This rainbow’s leg itself spans the actual borderline from my perspective lol. Exactly 1/2 way between the North Pole and the Equator it’s marks the spot.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: SmokeBow Over Wyotana Backcountry

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Double Red Rainbow

Double Red Rainbow
Double Red Rainbow

Double Red Rainbow

I recently posted another from this timeline. Real Color. I’ve seen no better red double than this sunset back show capture before. I wish I had a chopper to go up about 300 feet though. Seeing this as a 360 circle would be a bucket list item but only if I have my cameras with me…. Intentionally maneuvered the reflective back of a “Right Turn Clyde” Sign dead center as it was just right to reflect the sunlight directly in the center of the rainbow.

I have this thing for holographic red dot sights on carbines. Not that that tendency had anything to do with this composition lol👁 . If you’ve ever used a good Trijicon™ holographic rifle sight, some of the reticles look just like this. The reflective sign is exactly at the “Antipode” of the sun’s position in the sky behind me. Good google word for the evening… 🤔 👀 📷

So why is a “Red Rainbow” rare. Well it can only occur at the perfect time of the day under specific circumstances. Mere minutes maybe if the photographer is lucky. I worked this with 3 cameras in those few minutes. Water can only refract (not reflect) a rainbow using the color of light the situation provides to the rain fall curtain. At the trailing edge of that larger area of rain, the deep cranberry is also rare. The partially occluded sunset behind me is acting as both refraction plus reflection here. The 22 degree rainbow is obvious but the other red is reflecting off the water falling directly coloring the clouds and sky. Both phenomena are involved here.

Really it’s all about the source of light which traveling through dirty atmosphere (not implying pollution, could just be moisture). The red light is the furthest traveled light through our atmosphere. The cranberry color is literally my favorite. This is as close as I can get this to how I saw it. I could have easily lightened the lower grass in the digital darkroom. That’s not how it was. It was very dark just like this with just a spotlight of light for me to capture. Thank you mother nature.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Double Red Rainbow

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Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign
Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

Talk about a busy photo. I swear rainbows and lightning in the same image together is not a common thing to happen in front of your lens. You have to hunt this stuff and then set up the possibility. It was very dark but I could see the “Right Turn Clyde” sign to align it with the the blurred windmill. (you remember those two Shows 1978 and 80 right). The Windmill had a great view of the rainbow that had formed with a faint compliment secondary rainbow. This was very late and the only light left for the rainbow was the long traveled pink light. Normally you see this as a pink Belt of Venus on the frozen atmospheric ice.

Here the “Belt of Venus” pink backshow light was all that available to the rain droplets to refract back to my lens. The pink color being as strong that night as I have seen it in a summer evening. I’ve seen it WAY stronger in the winter. Winter of course is the time of year to watch Alpenglow in the Wyotana skies. All the ice makes for amazing shows. The same light reflects in a much darker shade off of water droplets than ice crystals. Light to amazing pink in the winter is standard, this openly cranberry color is an odd one for me to see. Thus it is my gold standard to finish the image. It made a huge impression on me at the time.

Obviously I have several finished images from this timeline. Each a little different in it’s coloration as the sequence of events played out in front of me. There are times I REALLY love doing this.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Windmill Rainbow Lightning Sign

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Red Rainbows Rare Appearance

Red Rainbows Rare Appearance
Red Rainbows Rare Appearance

Red Rainbows Rare Appearance

Technically this is a backshow of a spotlighting veiled sunset passing Belt of Venus Pink light. Such being refracted back as a red rainbow. The lower dark blue shadow through the curtain of precipitation, is the shadow of the horizon. I am in that shadow as is the ground going up the hill. (The sun had set and the only light was from other twilight lit clouds) . So this 2 second time exposure shows the dark landscape as you would suspect after sunset. Photorealist photographers are like that lol . The pink light spotlighting is above the horizon line on this east view. The rain curtain acts as a projector screen with the rainbow aligning with the 22 degree arc from the center of the rainbow.

Of course you know all rainbows could be complete circles if viewed from the air…. I’ve never seen one except by others. I don’t fly very well with an overactive inner ear.

SO, a very specific sequence of event have to occur for a red rainbow to form. A regular rainbow with a standard ROYGBIV light color spread. Therefore the water droplets there have a full spectrum of light to refract back at you. Each light color bending a little differently than the one adjacent on the chart. This spreads out the white light into it’s individual hues into the rainbow.

At this late point of the night, only pink light survives the long gauntlet through the atmosphere at the earths surface. The low angle light being without most of its GVIB portion of the spectrum. With only red light to refract, you get a red rainbow. The timing of the precipitation falling has to coincide with the exact timing of the sunset to get these. This is by far the best red rainbow I’ve ever seen even in others photos. I’m sure they are out there.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Red Rainbows Rare Appearance

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Rainbow with a Bite

Rainbow with a Bite
Rainbow with a Bite

Rainbow with a Bite

This was the last of the last light of the day making it’s way to the storm. I was using time exposures AND a lightning trigger to make my life easier catching both phenomena in the same frame. Mostly rare Red Rainbows are only formed by the long traveled “Belt of Venus” pink light. Hundreds of miles travel through the low blanket of air surrounding the earth prevents longer light wavelengths from passing. To quote a literary Grey Wizard (at that time) “You Shall Not Pass” (classical reference).

This one was just a quick 50,000 amp or so discharge in the hills back to my southeast. I always go up those hills the next morning to look around. I have to verify there isn’t a fire smoldering in a log somewhere.

Photographic Musings:

This storm system was late in the day for me to see this much. I mentioned time exposure but it was only about 2 seconds. Camera work is all about balancing light between the three settings you need to understand in manual mode. Shutter speed you have control of as one of them. A longer shutter gives you more light to play with. It was very windy at this capture with the truck (my tripod) was shaking. Much over a few seconds was impossible. Faster shutters than 1/2 second and you might miss some of lightning with often ripples through clouds over 1/2 second.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands

Title: Rainbow with a Bite

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Sunset Red Rain Bow

Sunset Red Rain Bow
Sunset Red Rain Bow

Sunset Red Rain Bow

I saw one of these Red Rainbow featured on the web famous “Drudge Report” one day recently. I had to snicker when it happened. I’ve got at least one other red rainbow somewhere but this one was July 4th 2020 in the late afternoon. Right at sunset as the red light from the setting sun behind me color cast the back sky and earth. The precipitation acting like the “Belt of Venus” reflecting the red light that made it through the atmosphere to here. I’m usually getting this in the winter but we had storms everywhere at the moment.

I’ve heard red rainbows called rare. I would say I’ve seen them a few times in my travels but only one other time with a camera and I’d have to search for it as it was years ago. Rule number one in photography is “Have a camera with you”. I like to add “at all times”. It’s much easier to take a photo if you have a camera I’ve found out. Wisdom of being old I suppose.

A train of storms moved just east of us where climbing a 400 foot high ridge give’s one a “viewpoint” that few enjoy. This particular timeline of July 3rd- 4th gave me lightning bolts, numerous rainbows, full moons and sunsets all in the same 12 hour period. Marvelous photographic environment to say the least. I was out with a box o’ cameras for hours during the 4 terminator crossings of the 3rd and the 4th of July 2020. I really was hoping for a lightning shot in this red-bow. It wasn’t to be. You can’t wish things to happen. I was set up for it. Just didn’t occur. I have other rainbow shots with lightning from that afternoon but not with the red bow. Lightning in rainbows is not easy. I’ve gotten several captures from this sequence of storms. 📸

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming / Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Sunset Red Rain Bow