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Iridescent Clouds by Qrystal Iridescent Clouds by Qrystal
For the longest time, I thought I was nuts, or my eyes were playing tricks on me, or something. But I kept seeing this phenomenon, usually not as vivid or widespread as depicted here, and always when I was nowhere near my camera.

Until this time.

This time, I even knew that the phenomena I was admiring was called Iridescence, and that it is caused by the diffraction (or bending) of light as it passes through clouds that are made up of fairly uniformly-sized particles of water or ice. I knew this because I read it in a book I bought about a month ago called "The Weather Identification Handbook" by Storm Dunlop: [link] (This book also has some good tips about taking photographs of sky phenomena, none of which I had to actually use here because the sky wasn't too bright to handle, but I thought I would mention it anyways.)

Apparantly, this is a rather common sky phenomenon, but it is easily the most overlooked because it is always in the general direction of the sun and thus it is often lost in the glare. When I have seen it before, it was when the sky was partly cloudy and the sun was covered, and I could see traces of iridescence around the edges of the clouds. My book says the phenomenon is usually about 30-35 degrees from the sun (about a handspan and a half at arm's length), and that sounds about like what I saw. The pastel shades seen here are quite common, but from a google image search, I found some quite vividly coloured ones as well. I also did a deviantart search, and found this beauty of a photo of iridescent clouds: [link]

I am glad I finally got to capture iridescence in a photo, and as a bonus, I caught a few crepuscular rays of golden sunlight from the setting sun. I took a few shots without these rays, but I felt the image was more complete with the grey and gold contrasting with the pinkish iridescence, and with the little tree in the bottom lefthand corner completing the framing that the maple boughs provide around the rest of it.
PolaristheCepheid Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2009
yes you have iridescence here....but a small one :D
magickpixie Featured By Owner May 1, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
wow, that looks really cool
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Submitted on
May 1, 2006
Image Size
330 KB


1 (who?)

Camera Data

Canon PowerShot A75
Shutter Speed
1/501 second
Focal Length
13 mm
Date Taken
Apr 4, 2006, 6:47:59 PM


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