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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 07/28/2010

Last week: A colorful DC sunset instead of storms

By Ian Livingston

* Hot for two days, then relief: Full Forecast | NatCast *
* Were you caught off-guard by Sunday's storms? *


Colors reach their peak just prior to sunset. See image larger.

This had been a fairly boring D.C. storm season if you're interested in photography (remember 2008?), at least until recently when much more frequent showers and storms visited the area.

Despite the persistent heat, I've found myself going out with my camera more often to try to capture some weather photos. Last Tuesday, a line of showers and thunderstorms was largely headed south of D.C., as forecast, but the northern end was threatening to impact parts of the area. So, I "went with my gut" and booked it to the Mall. Instead of storms, I ended up with a gusty outflow boundary, some drippy rain, and one great sunset.

Keep reading for a little more on the setup for this spectacular Washington, D.C. sunset and a photo time line of how the display progressed.


Clouds associated with the outflow of showers and storms passes by the Lincoln Memorial.

As I arrived on location, I noticed the outflow from the showers and storms heading toward the city, so I walked over to the banks of the Potomac just west of the Lincoln Memorial to watch what I hoped would be storms moving in. Instead, storms gradually fell apart. Just some spits of rain, occasionally almost to the "light" category, fell over the south part of the city. For the most part, it was light enough I did not need to use an umbrella.

What started as a faint glow on the western horizon around 8:10 p.m. grew, slowly at first, into something much more by sunset at 8:29 p.m. Once I saw the first bit of light, I knew I needed to start heading to find a spot to frame the coming display with. As the intensity of lumination in both the clouds and falling rain at their base expanded, it was apparent the brightest area would set up to the northwest of the Mall.

The period of best color lasted about 6-8 minutes surrounding sundown, and during this time I frantically moved to a few different spots. As quickly as the best color came, it departed and I stuck around for a dusk shot or two before going on my way.


Light rain falls on the Mall. The sky, while not totally bland, remains fairly colorless though the glow was growing at my back.


Clouds and light rain mix with the sun to create a colorful scene for those walking along the reflecting pool.


A faint rainbow above the Washington Monument within a minute of sunset.



People walk along the reflecting pool as the show continues.


The post-sunset "blue hour" always delivers.

By Ian Livingston  | July 28, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Photography  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Were you caught off-guard by Sunday's storms?
Next: PM Update: Heat's back for short stay

Comments

The reflecting pool photo is stunning! Great photos!

Posted by: KimG1 | July 28, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Nice sunset and rainbow shots Ian!

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | July 28, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

These are nice. Thanks Ian.

Posted by: FIREDRAGON47 | July 28, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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