Tag Archives: Sunset

An Extraordinary End to Monsoon 2016

Today is the last day of Monsoon 2016.  The best Monsoon I’ve experienced in my 11 years here.  I’ve neglected the blog so the entries of our microburst  in Oro Valley last month, varies rainbows, lightning shots, downpours, and other sundry Monsoon 2016 occurrences are missing from mikeshaw.tv.  Perhaps I will go through my pictures and catch some of those things up.  Perhaps.

Before I get into my story about last evening’s drive home, here’s how the day started yesterday:

092916ppsunriseYeah.  Not bad!  I love the view from my deck here in Oro Valley.  I’m happy to say that sunrises like that happen pretty frequently here and I have a front row seat.

Now.  On to yesterday’s drive home from the radio station.  Extraordinary indeed!  Every direction of sky brought joy and wonder (too much?).  It was a cool night.

It was raining pretty good when I left the station with a bright rainbow forming but nowhere to pull aside and grab a shot.  As I raced toward downtown I mostly drove out of the rain only to have it catch me again as I navigated down Congress.  I drove out of the rain again as I headed north on Granada which turns into Main which turns into Oracle.  As I approached River I could see a bright rainbow against the Catalina Mountains contrasted by dark menacing storm clouds.  I found an apartment complex off River Road and grabbed this shot:

092916rainbowToo bad I can’t include the rumbling thunder in the jpg, but it was cool.  I then continued on my trek north on Oracle and noticed the sunset was starting to pop.  I made it to Family Life Radio near Ina and Oracle just in time.  I pulled into their back parking lot.  Parked.  Walked to the eastern fence of Tohono Chul Park, and facing west (often the best direction for capturing sunsets), I got this shot:

092916sunsetI needed some supplies, so I doubled back a block to the Safeway and did some shopping.  By the time I got through the line and back to my car I could see lightning to the northeast.  As I neared my apartment it was apparent that the lightning was frequent and, as lightning tends to be, rather bright.  I parked in my spot.  Gathered my things and climbed to my third story apartment.  I efficiently put away my groceries, grabbed a cigar and my phone, and went out on the deck.  What a great light show!  I tried to get some shots with my iPhone 6S Plus in burst mode and they came out surprisingly good!  Grainy, yes.  Still not bad.  Here’s the best one:

092916lightningLast day of Monsoon 2016 is today.  There is a slight chance of storms in our forecast.  Will this evening equal yesterday’s in amazingness?  Not likely, but I’ll share if it does!

Here’s an animated gif of the storm just in case that works:


Best Sunrises and Sunsets on the Planet! January 23, 2016

Great way to start the day yesterday!  This is looking east to Pusch Peak from my perch here in Oro Valley.


As 6:00 pm approached I had a feeling that the sunset would be special if the sun could duck underneath the high clouds.  It did.  It was.  I drove less than 2 miles from the apartment to a spot on Magee east of Oracle near Pima Canyon.  God does the hard part, I just point and shoot.


No doubt that Arizona is God’s favorite place to paint!

January 27, 2015 Oro Valley Sunset

I can’t always tell when there is going to be an amazing sunset, but sometimes it is painfully obvious.  Today was one of those days.  I left the station on the south side of Tucson about 5:10 in the evening.  A few minutes earlier than most.  The western sky was mostly overcast with mostly high clouds, but a few at mid levels.  I was thinking, “if the Sun can get below those clouds tonight’s sunset will be really nice.”  As I was driving north, the Sun came out.  The Sun had indeed gotten below the clouds.  The amazing sunset was on!  The next problem was, could I get to one of my favorite places on Magee in Oro Valley in time to get the shot?  Turns out I arrived with a good 10 to 15 minutes to spare.  I ended up taking at least a dozen shots, but this one is my favorite.  I think of all the places on the planet, Arizona is God’s favorite place to paint.


Rain Shaft Lightning Sunset from the Deck

Another amazing evening on the deck last night.  A severe thunderstorm was directly west and from my vantage point the Sun was setting behind it.  The dark and menacing storm was being back lit with muted reds and oranges with flashes of lightning accents.  Really cool!  So of course I grabbed my camera.  I knew the odds of timing a shot and catching some lightning were slight.  After taking a few pictures I switched my camera to video mode and recorded for about a minute.  Toward the end of the recording I noted a particularly strong bolt of lightning in the field of view.  I was not disappointed when I went to get the screen grab.  After some minor tweaking in Gimp, this is the result:

Pretty amazing! The regular pictures didn’t turn out so bad either.

Of course I have already shared theses shots on my Sunrise/Sunset blog, www.TonightsSunset.com and on Facebook.  I will admit.  I am a little spoiled with such an amazing view here at the apartment.


Your Complete Annular Eclipse Viewing Guide

Happy Annular Eclipse viewing for my son in Albuquerque celebrating his birthday today!  Also for my Mom in Lubbock, Texas if they can keep the skies clear enough just before sunset.  Here are viewing times and tips from NASA and your friendly announcer dude:

Create and Sell Your Own Calendar Online

Like I did!

It’s no secret that I have a serious photography addiction.  With sunrises and sunsets as beautiful as they are around here it’s hard to resist.  The perils of living in a target rich environment I suppose.  As a result I have all these pictures.  What to do?

Over the last couple of years I have been playing around with Zazzle.com.  I have a little store there with some of my pictures on coffee mugs and mouse pads.  I’ve sold a few and it’s pretty neat to see some of the great scenes I capture around here on a mug.  My favorite is the “God Is Amazing” mug with a great shot of Pusch Peak after a storm.  The other is a mug that screams Valentine’s Day gift.  The, “Life is Better Shared” mug features two hummingbirds enjoying a sunrise lit breakfast together.  Aw.

I’ve had a couple of friends asking when I was going to have a calendar for sale.  Well today I finally went through my pictures and have published two calendars you can buy at my Zazzle store.  The Oro Valley 2012 Calendar and the HummingbirdFeederCam.com 2012 Calendar.  The cost is kinda high though.  Almost $21! and I only make $2 of that.  Calendars are half price today at Zazzle, so you might could grab one for $10.50 plus shipping.  I’ve sold a couple so far today!

Still, $21 is kinda high for a calendar.  I don’t care how much you like me :-)  So, I was looking around for a better solution and I found it.  A quick web search landed me at Lulu.com.  I remember my Mom telling me about it.  A site mainly dedicated to self publishing authors, but they also have a slick tool for creating calendars.  Here’s what I came up with.  My self published TonightsSunset.com 2012 Calendar:

Best part is I can offer it to you for $15.99 and I make almost $3. I call that a win win.  Order up a couple today and tell your friends.  2012 is only a week away!

Here is the HummingbirdFeederCam.com 2012 Calendar:

Sunset Time Lapse

I saw the high clouds late yesterday afternoon and knew it was going to be another one of those amazing Tucson Sunsets (patent pending) that we Tucsonans love so much.  So I grabbed my tripod, camera and FlipUltra HD and headed for Pima Canyon.  I hiked about a half mile up the trail, ducked behind some cacti and ocotillo, set up my tripod and started rolling.  Meanwhile, I hiked around with my “regular” camera and got a few dozen shots.  The best ones are here.

I sat on a rock drinking in God’s handiwork while the Flip did all the work. I love watching Him paint and repaint and repaint the sky.  As it got darker and darker the Moon seemed to get brighter behind me.  I followed my Moon shadow back to my car and coasted (almost) down the hill to edit the video.

Here it is.  45 minutes of sunset condensed into 3 minutes-ish with Selah’s, “Oh Draw Me Lord.”

Sun Dog

I snapped this Sun Dog late this afternoon.  Unfortunately it was even brighter a few minutes before but I didn’t have my camera with me.

Oh Doggie!
Oh Doggie!

Sun Dog’s are formed by the refraction of the Sun’s rays by ice crystals in cirrus clouds.  Usually 22 degrees (or more) from the Sun, Sun Dogs are usually seen when the Sun is low in the sky.  Conditions were just right this afternoon with clouds (including cirrus) were streaming toward the eminent sunset.  With the naked eye, it just looked like a small part of a rainbow.  Sun Dogs are more rare for Tucson than colder spots, but obviously we have them!