I have been enjoying the photos many bloggers have posted of their gorgeous autumn foliage. The rich reds, oranges, and yellows are truly spectacular and make me wish we had the same seasonal brilliance where we live. Except for a few liquid ambers dotting our neighborhood, our temperatures don’t get cold enough for most of the trees that produce the glorious fall displays.
Fortunately for us, even though we don’t have the blazing foliage colors enjoyed in colder climates, nature paints her brilliant fall hues on a different canvas. Rather than the reds, oranges, and yellows appearing in the trees, these colors are splashed across the sky.
There is, of course, a scientific reason why fall and winter sunrises and sunsets are so spectacular. As the days grow shorter, the angle of the sun is lower which means that the sunlight takes a longer path through the atmosphere. Since blue light has a shorter wavelength, it gets scattered by air molecules. Colors with longer wavelengths, such as reds and oranges, become more pronounced as they pass through the atmosphere.
Clouds also add to the beauty of sunrises and sunsets because they catch the red-orange rays of the sun and help reflect the colors. Cirrus and altocumulus clouds are especially conducive to spectacular displays because they are high enough not to be impacted by the dust and haze in the atmosphere.
But, enough science…
Fall’s colors are magnificent no matter how they are made or what canvas they appear on. Each time I am treated to the beauty of a dazzling sunrise or a vivid sunset, I am so grateful to be a witness to nature’s artistry. Because, to quote the great Dr. Seuss, “when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing”.
77 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: The Colors of Fall”
I learned something new today … something about wave lengths, angle of the sun, and fall sunsets. The science might make my eyes glaze over, but the effect is spectacular!! That first photo is oh-my-god beautiful!
I always knew that the sunrises and sunsets were more spectacular in the fall but I didn’t know why until I looked it up on the googles. That sunrise got me out of bed much earlier than I wanted, but I was happy that I made the effort.
Sunrises and sunsets are among my favorite photographs to take. These are inspiring.
I have so many in my photo file but I can’t make myself delete them. Some of my favorite sunset photos were taken closer to you, in Key West.
Beautiful photos! I appreciate that you appreciate. 🙂 Today I posted on Instagram a very simple photo of the San Gabriel Mountains taken from my front yard–not great photography, but simply appreciating that the sky is clear and it’s been a beautiful day. This is a lovely time of year and your photos are very special!
Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-days that we forget to look up and appreciate the beauty around us. I’m glad that you had a beautiful day and you took a moment to enjoy the view!
Wow. Those photos are great. I’ve never seen such intense color.
We’ve been having some really amazing sunrises and sunsets lately. Unfortunately, I miss many of the sunrises… 🙂
Thank you for that great reminder about gratitude. It’s easy to forget what’s right in front of our faces.
Exactly! I think many of us miss the important things when we forget to slow down.
Now those are sunsets! WOW! Thank you for the backstory. Now I’m going to surf back for a second look.
I thought it was interesting to learn about why the colors were so intense. The cloudless summer skies are lovely, but they don’t have the same brilliance.
Gorgeous pictures, and I love the science, too! Remembering to slow down and take in the beauty. For me, that is very important. Keeps me centered, and places me in nature, in context with the universe.
I thought the science was so interesting and makes the beautiful sunsets even more special. Nature puts on a show just about every evening and I try to pause long enough to enjoy it.
Lovely. I didn’t exactly know that about fall & winter sunsets/rises. I’m always looking for clouds in the sky, which are somewhat rare in this little patch of too-much-blue. 😉
Blue skies have their own charm but they don’t create spectacular sunsets.
Nor do they make for wonderful photos. Give me big puffy, roiling clouds any day.
Our fall show has been delayed by unseasonably warm weather. I think we just hit our peak today. The trees are VERY confused.
Great shots of sunrise and sunset.
The temps around here were in the 90s just two weeks ago but are fortunately headed down now. I hope your trees get the chill they need to put on a show for you.
Breathtaking! Thanks so much for sharing!
You are welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed them!
Imagine, fall leaf colors in the sky! Brilliant!
Nature is very good at color-coordinating our world.
These are really beautiful shots. I don’t think we get sky shots this colorful.
We’ll be having sunrises and sunsets like this through the winter and I’ll be filling up my memory card with pictures of them because I can’t seem to stop myself.
I LOVE these photos, Janis. I’m going to try to paint the sunset one. Even if I’m not able to achieve it, I’ll be happy to gaze at the picture for the hours it takes to try to recreate it.
Oh, I would love to see your finished painting!
I love red skies and you captured some beautiful ones. Thanks for sharing these!
Judging from some of your photos, you get both the blazing fall leaves and the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets where you live.
We do, but I only get to see both when the days are shorter like they are now.
Your colors trump my colors any day of the week. 🙂
We’ve had a series of beautiful sunsets lately and, hopefully, they will continue into the winter months.
Stunning photos – such brilliant colors!
Thank you! The colors have been amazing lately.
Thanks for teaching me something about sunrises and sunsets which I love. 🙂
Wasn’t that interesting (it was new to me also)? I always thought the fall sunsets were better, but now I know why.
Me too, I never really thought of the why before. 🙂
Oh, so beautiful! At 6am this morning, Sacramento showed us a molten sunrise. Up here we get more smoke in the air, so the sun puts on a great show!
With the time change, I’m not sure how many sunrises I’ll see for awhile 🙂. I’ve witnessed a few of those molten sunsets up north… they are incredible!
Living on the Canadian west coast, I get to enjoy fabulous fall colours as well as amazing sunrises and sunsets. Because of the colours, it is my favourite time of the year to paint. Although, I have to admit that I see far more sunsets than sunrises.
It sounds like you have the best of both worlds! I know what you mean about seeing fewer sunrises, especially after the time change. Too bad because they are so pretty but, you know, retirement…
Wow…and I thought the sunsets in London were looking pretty good… Stunning photos…thanks for sharing them.
We’ve been very lucky this fall so far. I’d love to get down to the beach soon and watch one from there.
Wow, you are right – those are amazing. And now I’m singing Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof in my head…..
I was thinking the same thing!
Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos – and the science behind them too! That is really interesting. (Although in 7th grade, I would have been bored silly by it!) We do have the random tree here and there that does it’s best to change colors; there is one near our house and I look forward to watching it change every year.
We had one that my dad planted in front of my childhood home. I guess it was his way of bringing a bit of the east coast (where he grew up) to Southern California. It was beautiful – but, ugh… raking up the fallen leaves!
Wow, Janis. Your photos are absolutely stunning. And I LOVE the Dr. Suess quote. Looking forward to tomorrow!
Dr Seuss has a lot of great quotes, but I especially like this one. So simple and so true.
Dr Seuss is so right! There is so much beauty around us every single day, we only need to stop long enough to take the time to look. Your skies are incredible!
Towards the end of his life, Dr Seuss lived in a seaside community just a few miles away from me… I bet he saw quite a few similar sunsets.
Just beautiful, Janice. Stunning shots! – Marty
I had no idea that there was a reason Fall sunsets were so beautiful! And I love this perspective, too…that the colors of Fall aren’t necessarily limited to trees. Just goes to show there is beauty in every environment if we’re willing to see it.
I was a little surprised too but it made sense once I read the explanation. It’s like nature is putting on a show for us in the trees and the sky.
Janis, beautiful pics. Our fall season in the nearby NC mountains is about three weeks passed normal peak season. This is likely due to our warmer climate which continues to push back the start of the pre-winter cold. In our yard, we have stuff blooming now, that should not be blooming. Keith
Will you get the changing leaves at all or, like in other places this year, will they go from green, to brown, to down in just a few days?
I’ll have to enjoy your colorful photos because our fall has been a flop. The colors, not so much. The rain, too much. Fortunately I agree with Dr. Seuss, and can get on with being amazed virtually via you.
So many people have been disappointed this year… yet the pictures of the leaves in other areas have been stunning. Dr. Seuss was definitely right… but sometimes we have to “look around” a little harder. Happy fall!
Hi Janis! I didn’t know that!!! I guess I sort of expected the sunsets to be really really nice in the spring and fall but had no idea there was a scientific reason for it. Thank you for that. And yes, I agree that we do have seasons here in California but they tend to be much more subtle than in places where all the trees turn. Your photos are gorgeous…thanks for sharing them! ~Kathy
After living in California all our lives, I think we get pretty good at seeing – and appreciating – the subtle seasons. I imagine that you get some great sunrises and sunsets in the desert.
Beautiful photos, colors and explanation, Janis. One of these days, I will catch a sunset at Sunset Cliffs! I walked the dogs there, the other day, but had errands to run and couldn’t wait the half an hour until the sun would dip behind the ocean. Many other tourists where there with their cameras! Thanks again for the tour!!
I hope you get to catch one there soon (and please post it if you do)! I’m glad you got back to the cliffs with the dogs, it’s a great place to walk… just be careful of the areas with the erosion!
Dr Suess was a very wise man! Your sunsets are amazing and something to be very grateful for. I find the sunsets to be kind of ‘Meh’ given our proximity to the equator, but I saw a couple of doozies while visiting Northern Vietnam. Sadly, I was on traveling on highways or rails when I saw them, so the only images I have are in my mind.
I’m sorry that you missed getting a picture of those sunsets in Vietnam! Hopefully, the next time Mother Nature puts on a show, you’ll have your camera and you’ll share it with us!
Just stunning! Thanks for reminding us to be grateful – Even those of us buried in the raking! 😉 ~ Lynn
Yeah… the raking. I remember that. I guess it’s just the price you have to pay for the beauty.
Interesting sunset science. Also, one major advantage of your fall colors are that you don’t have anything to rake up afterwards.
Ha! Great point! All of the beauty, none of the work.
Soulfood 🙂 Wonderful photos Janis!!
Thanks… the colors are definitely food for the soul.
Beautiful photos! One thing about living in the tropics is we miss out on Autumn and Spring and I do miss them. Thanks for the interesting info abou Fall sunsets!
Autumn and spring are pretty subtle here… but not like the tropics! Fortunately, you get gorgeous greens and yummy blues year-round.
Comments are closed.