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09-16-2010, 06:07 AM   #1
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Optical sky phenomena: Rainbows, halos, mirages etc

I was thinking we should have a thread with photos of all sort of optical phenomena on the sky, such as rainbows, fogbows, halos, arcs, pilars, mirages, glories, sun dogs, coronas etc etc. Being, originally, a meteorologist I'll try to help keeping these different phenomenas appart in case you are not sure what you actually captured.

So I'll start with a shot from yesterday. Primary and secondary rainbows over Stockholm, right after a heavy rainfall, shot from a 100m high tower (in which we make some atmospherically related measurements) with the DA10-17mm fisheye zoom, stitched together from 4 photos in PTGui.

If you have a slow connection you shouldn't click the picture since it will take you too a very large image file.



09-16-2010, 07:22 AM   #2
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Great Idea, I have a couple to contribute if there was such a thread.
09-16-2010, 07:26 AM   #3
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A great idea for a thread. I don't have many shots like this but I love capturing photo's of rainbows, light shafts from clouds, etc. These are both shots of the same rainbow, taken almost exactly a year ago while I was traveling on Rt. 30 between Long Lake and Blue Mtn. Lake in the Adirondacks. It was the only place I could pull of the highway so there was no choice about the scenery and power lines. I used the 18-55 kit lens for the first and mounted the 10-17 fisheye for the second.

Last edited by reeftool; 12-29-2016 at 04:42 PM.
09-16-2010, 10:53 AM   #4
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SunBows...

rainbows that are in clouds very close to the sun, in clouds....



09-16-2010, 12:43 PM   #5
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A Different Sunbow

This was taken last summer, a month before I got my K20D. Even lying flat on my back on the sand I couldn't get quite wide enough with the Olympus Stylus 1010, a fisheye would've been great.
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09-16-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
A great idea for a thread. I don't have many shots like this but I love capturing photo's of rainbows, light shafts from clouds, etc. These are both shots of the same rainbow, taken almost exactly a year ago while I was traveling on Rt. 30 between Long Lake and Blue Mtn. Lake in the Adirondacks. It was the only place I could pull of the highway so there was no choice about the scenery and power lines. I used the 18-55 kit lens for the first and mounted the 10-17 fisheye for the second.

Fantastic light!
Here you see clearly also the dark Alexander band between the primary and secondary rainbows.
09-16-2010, 01:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by icywarm Quote
rainbows that are in clouds very close to the sun, in clouds....
I'm not entirely sure what it is you have shot.
Rainbows are by definition on the oposite side of the sky compared to the sun. When you watch a rainbow you always have the sun behind you. If you imagine the complete circle of which the visible rainbow is a part, the center of that circle is exactly oposite to the sun (called the anti-sun). So rainbows can't be close to the sun. Perhaps this is a halo phenomena? A so called dog-sun (bi-sun)?
09-16-2010, 01:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jheu02 Quote
This was taken last summer, a month before I got my K20D. Even lying flat on my back on the sand I couldn't get quite wide enough with the Olympus Stylus 1010, a fisheye would've been great.
A beautifull 22 degree halo (also called icebow)!
Unlike rainbows, which are caused by light reflection in rain drops, it is ice-chrystals that reflect the light in a halo.

A halo phenoma that includes also the 46 degree halo, arcs, pillars sun-dogs etc can cover a large part of the sky. If you don't have wide enough lens, try shooting overlaping pictures and stitch them together afterwards.

09-16-2010, 01:39 PM   #9
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Here are a couple for interest :

Rainbow from my back door :



2. A most awesome sunrise, color due to high dust content in the air during long dry period. (Very frequent in many parts of Australia)
No color change has been PP'd to this shot.

09-16-2010, 03:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Douglas_of_Sweden Quote
I'm not entirely sure what it is you have shot.
Rainbows are by definition on the oposite side of the sky compared to the sun. When you watch a rainbow you always have the sun behind you. If you imagine the complete circle of which the visible rainbow is a part, the center of that circle is exactly oposite to the sun (called the anti-sun). So rainbows can't be close to the sun. Perhaps this is a halo phenomena? A so called dog-sun (bi-sun)?
I had these pointed out to me... they are in the clouds right beside the sun and they come and go. Your camera is point straight at the sun... and I like to have a tree or building block the sun out, and I will the frame with the clouds right beside it... they come usually as a cloud approaches the sun and then go away... i think it is just the moisture in the cloud refracting the light...

The clouds are very bright... I need to shoot iso 100ish at 1/4000 f/16 or so to get them...
09-16-2010, 03:28 PM   #11
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How about a Sundog?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_dog

and the other side:


Btw, a bit of fyi.....in a double rainbow the second rainbow is a reflection of the first. If you look closely, the colours are always backwards/opposite...like looking in a mirror.
09-17-2010, 12:12 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by casil403 Quote
How about a Sundog?
Sun dog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and the other side:


Btw, a bit of fyi.....in a double rainbow the second rainbow is a reflection of the first. If you look closely, the colours are always backwards/opposite...like looking in a mirror.
Well, a reflection in the sence that the colors come in the oposite order.
The primary rainbow is cause by light that enters raindroplets, are reflected once inside the droplets, and leave the raindrop after that. Due to the difference in refractive index for air and water the light change direction once when it enters the droplet and once when it leave the droplet. At each refraction/reflection there is a separation of the colors which cause the spectra we see in the rainbow. The secondary rainbow is caused by a fraction of the light that are reflected twice inside the droplet (there is no super-multi-coating here) before leaving it. So the reflection that mirror the order of the colors takes place inside the droplets. It is rare, but sometimes you can see a third rainbow and in theory this could go on forewer, but with less light for each reflection. In laboratory, using lasers and other liquids and gases than water and air they have created up to more than the 100ed rainbow.
Sorry for sounding like a professor.

Sun-dogs are odd names. In Swedish we call them bi-solar (bi-sun). Is there some sort of old mythological explanation behind this name? Like the sun-god having two dogs???

BTW, nice shots!

Last edited by Douglas_of_Sweden; 09-17-2010 at 12:28 AM.
09-17-2010, 12:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by icywarm Quote
I had these pointed out to me... they are in the clouds right beside the sun and they come and go. Your camera is point straight at the sun... and I like to have a tree or building block the sun out, and I will the frame with the clouds right beside it... they come usually as a cloud approaches the sun and then go away... i think it is just the moisture in the cloud refracting the light...

The clouds are very bright... I need to shoot iso 100ish at 1/4000 f/16 or so to get them...
I'll check with some colleagues if they know what this is. But it can't be rainbows. Does not sound like sun-dogs either.
09-17-2010, 12:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bramela Quote
Here are a couple for interest :

Rainbow from my back door :



2. A most awesome sunrise, color due to high dust content in the air during long dry period. (Very frequent in many parts of Australia)
No color change has been PP'd to this shot.
Beautifull shots!

If you look carefull inside the rainbow you will see reoccuring bright and dark fields. These are the supernumerary rainbows and caused by interference. They were one of the first evidences for the wave nature of light.

I suppose in Australia the red sky is caused by desert dust. You can have the same effect by particle pollutants, volcanoes or any other source of aerosol particles. It is caused by interaction by the particles with roughly wavelenghts of the same magnitude as the diameter of the particles, which cause some light to be scattered in every direction. This is called Mie-scattering, and is one reason why particles have an opposite effect on climate compared to green house gases (some of the light are scattered back to space, thereby cooling the planet), and very important in my field of work. So a polluted sunset can be more striking.
09-17-2010, 09:55 AM   #15
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Last edited by SpecialK; 01-19-2011 at 09:56 PM.
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