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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Light on the ocean

I was getting ready to leave work tonight when I noticed unusual light out on the ocean.  I walked up to the edge of the bluff to take a look.

There was a bright band of silver on the surface about a kilometer offshore, with curtains of very light fog blowing along it to the southeast.

Above the bright patch, there appeared to be a reasonably large cloud bank:

 The conditions were hard to photograph, so I kept trying:

As the sun slowly set, the colors started shifting from silver to gold:

With shades of purple above:

And a very coppery reflection remained until the sun was gone:

I'm not sure what caused this interesting lighting.  Was the water in that area a different temperature?  Did it change the conditions on the surface?  Did it cause a fog bank to form above it?  Did the fog bank reflect the sunset down to the surface of the ocean?  What other ideas do you have?

Even after more than 40 years of watching the ocean, I'm so grateful that there's always something new to see and wonder about!


Dan Gurney said...

Mud-laden freshwater Russian River runoff floating atop the denser salt water, perhaps?

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Dan!

I ran into someone else who thought this might be driven by a plume of fresh water from the Russian River. Not as sure about the color, as the water itself didn't seem to be brownish (but I'll check again today, if possible). But he suggested the fresh water might alter the surface features (waves/roughness) and alter how light reflected off of it (when compared to other areas).

:) Jackie