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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 02/11/2008

Photography: Sunrise Squall

By Kevin Ambrose

A Squall Shows its Color

A vigorous squall near Warrenton, VA, Sunday 7:01 AM.

I photographed an interesting sunrise sequence Sunday morning as a vigorous squall, defined as a sudden onset of strong winds often accompanied by brief storminess, moved to the northeast of Warrenton, VA. The squall followed yesterday morning's cold front that was responsible for the drop in temperatures and wind in the afternoon and evening that caused some power outages and airport delays. This photo sequence shows the squall from 7:01 AM (above) to 7:07 AM (last photo, keep reading below...). For reference, sunrise is 7:06 AM.

I had to be in Warrenton at 7 AM for my son's swim meet and as I approached town I encountered the brief, but intense squall. The squall had its characteristic strong winds and briefly heavy rain. Moments later, I dropped my son off at the Warrenton Aquatic Center with his swim team and then rushed back to the car to go on a quick photo shoot. I found an open area nearby and then photographed the squall for about 10 minutes. I quickly returned to the pool and only missed the warm-ups. Soon after, my kid came in second in his age group for the 100m freestyle and I was back home by 9:30 AM. Not a bad morning.

Zoomed in view of the squall at 7:04 AM.

View of the squall at 7:06 AM.

Wide view of the squall at 7:07 AM.

By Kevin Ambrose  | February 11, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Photography  
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beautiful pictures, as usual!

Posted by: madison | February 11, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Any frozen precipitation??? Sounds like none, even in Warrenton. (They're up near the mountains and are supposed to see SNOW out of such a squall at this time of year!)Such squalls are also supposed to be notorious for a quick shot of graupel or even "hail" (more likely sleet).

Posted by: El Bombo | February 11, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

El Bombo, I only saw rain, but I suppose there could have been some frozen precipitation in the heaviest of bursts. Warrenton is still at a lower elevation even though it is closer to the mountains. Their weather is generally not much colder than western DC suburbs like Reston or Fairfax.

Posted by: Kevin, Capital Weather Gang | February 11, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Still 23 in NW Montgomery. No way it gets to the predicted high.

Posted by: JT | February 11, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I saw the squall on the radar around 7:00 AM. I took my dog for a long hike in Southern Fairfax County, entering the woods at 7:25 AM. We were shortly greeted by the aftermath of the squall - a brief rainstorm and a rainbow. I wished I had my camera.

Posted by: Wahoo Josh | February 11, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Gave us some snow, bout 15 minutes worth of, wind driven also, not to mentin HUGE flakes...pretty much had a similar situation sat morning out here too.

Posted by: Mike from the Blue Ridge | February 11, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, can you tell me what camera settings you took those at? They are absolutely beautiful and would love to try something like that myself

Posted by: Paul-Sterling | February 12, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Paul. Since it was a quick shoot, I used the camera's program mode, not manual settings. I did not have a tripod with me, but I did have vibration reduction enabled with my Sony SLR. Here are the settings:

File: squal_7-01-03.jpg
File size: 3,578KB
Camera Model: DSLR-A100
Firmware: DSLR-A100 v1.04
Date/Time: 2008:02:10 07:01:03
Shutter speed: 1/40 sec
Aperture: 5.6
Exposure mode: Program
Flash: Off
Metering mode: Multi-segment
ISO: 100
Focal length: 18mm
Focal length: 27mm (in 35mm film)
Image size: 3872 x 2592
Rotation: none
White balance: Auto
Saturation: Normal
Sharpness: Normal
Contrast: Normal

Posted by: Kevin, Capital Weather Gang | February 12, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow, impressive shots from program mode. I guess I'm so used to using Aperture priority that I don't even think about that. I have some nice pics of the ice from yesterday, I'll try to post them somewhere so you can take a look and tell me what you think

Posted by: paul - sterling | February 14, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Some very nice photos. u captured
a nice scene there.

Posted by: James | May 8, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

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