A wit could say that a sunrise is a rise is a rise, but the distinction is not in the sun, which is constantly round and white. It's what happens in between here and there that makes the performance. Our atmosphere in winter has tendencies to cold and clarity that orchestrate brilliant dawn skies.Cape Ann's maritime position usually buffers us from continental cold. But if frigid winds prevail our atmospheric clarity goes up in 'sea smoke.' Mists may form as relatively warm ocean evaporation condenses in contact with super-cold air.
Early morning sun imparts its low-angled warmth to a quarry stone. The ice, still in shadow, appears violet.
Toward midday sunlight whitens as it travels through less atmosphere from an overhead position. The granite cools in appearance.
The spare qualities of light and landscape in winter accentuate forms. Cold dry air sharpens visibility. Details and patterns come into crisp focus.
By late afternoon the light mellows as it once again traverses a greater atmospheric distance close to the horizon. Colors come back to life.
Softer evening light enhances a wide range of tonal patterns. An apron of ice contributes to the February illumination.
A month earlier I recorded an entirely different scene from the same spot, without the ice and under a different sky.
Each moment reflects its own atmospheric personality.