Nevada "sun dog"


TPF Noob!
Aug 8, 2013
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Colorado, USA
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I took a recent trip to Las Vegas and was fortunate enough to capture this uncommonly vivid sun dog in the sky.

The next three were taken from the window of a vehicle as it barreled down the highway at 80MPH.

I had to use a fairly high ISO on #2 and #3 to compensate for both the late light and the movement of the vehicle, but I decided to embrace them as they are, noise and all. I find it challenging to get good photos from a moving vehicle, but the scenery I see on these road trips makes it impossible for me not to at least try. Stopping the vehicle is not always an option as I usually travel with others, and they are usually on a time table.

The last one was a longish exposure as we were heading into a storm over Las Vegas at night, which meant that I could use a lower ISO and thus there is much less noise in that one.

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I can TOTALLY get on board with embracing these, noise and all! I love the driving lighting shot especially, but also love the "feeling" these photos show! They are not all sterile. LIke so many people have said before, a good photo does not have to be all "that sharp", nor perfect, to still be good! Feeling, mood, the scene, weird environmental conditions, all those things carry some weight. Sheer technical virtuosity is not the be-all,end-all of photographic evaluation.
A "sun dog" is a new term to me. Please explain.

A sun dog is what you see when sunlight passes from behind ice crystals, usually high in the atmosphere. Often it is a whitish glare, sometimes it looks like a second sun, and other times it forms a prism as in this image. I have heard that they can occasionally form circular prismatic rings around the sun under rare conditions.

You can tell a sun dog from similar-looking effects by the fact that a sun dog is always near the sun (like a dog following its master).
Is this a 'sun-dog'? I took it about a month ago. To the naked eye, the sun looked like this!!

It's a bit more subtle, but it looks like one to me! Another name for this effect is parhelion. Google it and check out some of the images- it's a pretty cool phenomenon!
Coincidentally, my local newspaper has an article today on sunsets and mentions this phenomenon in its printed version; I never heard of the technical term for it. This is a very interesting article, especially for us photographers:

There's a distinct science behind beautiful sunsets

The printed article also mentions a brief green flash around sunset, which I never have seen. Perhaps this is what is occurring in Nancy's above photo? (To me I see a green hue above the sun, at least on this monitor!)

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