The Sign of the Storm

by | Jan 22, 2016 | Stories & Expeditions | 2 comments

Have you heard about the storm?

If you watch the news much, you’ll surely have heard about winter storm “Jonas”, the blizzard predicted to hit D.C., Baltimore, and New York City this weekend. Funny thing is, I don’t watch the news much, but I still know about the snowstorm. Why? Because I’m traveling with my family just outside of D.C. this weekend!

When I woke up this morning, having just arrived in northern Virginia last night, there was a most beautiful sunrise. A unique one though, showcasing a phenomenon I’ve not quite seen the likes of before.

3835_Brandy Station-Virginia-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 40 mm, 1-30 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 500-2

I wasn’t prepared to shoot any pictures this morning, so when my brother ran in and told me to get out and look at the sunrise, I grabbed my camera, threw on my coat and walked out onto the porch in my socks (my shoes were not close by) to see if it was worth taking pictures of. Well, I figured it was, but knew it wouldn’t last long, and soon discovered that stockinged feet work just fine if the ground is hard and frozen . . . 

At first, I just took a picture of the sunrise.

3834_Brandy Station-Virginia-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 105 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 500

It’s terribly disappointing how poor the camera renders reds and oranges and magentas, amassing them all together into one blob of almost-textureless color. Oh well, that’s just a fact of photography one has to deal with these days.

After my first shot, I noticed the “fan” shape created by the clouds around the singular projection of light.

3835_Brandy Station-Virginia-USA_Fan example

I think including that shape in the clouds made for a better composition. Multiple elements now. Leading lines. More texture. A better balance of colors.

I went looking for a third element, a foreground element, but the sunrise was pretty much gone by the time I had found something.

3840_Brandy Station-Virginia-USA_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 45 mm, 1-25 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 500

It was a fun try. And while the sunrise was beautiful and unique, it was also red.

Red in the morning, sailors take warning, I’ve heard. Well, how about, red in the morning, photographers get ready for some awesome photography ops! While photographing in inclement weather can be fun sometimes, doing so is placing yourself at dangers threshold. So, if you’re out east this weekend, have fun, but stay warm and stay safe. And let us not forget to pray for those who may be adversely affected by the snowstorm, and used of God to draw many to Him.

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  1. Daniel

    Cool. I’ve only seen a sun pillar once like that.

    • James Staddon

      Oh, so that’s what it’s called. Interesting.


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