Pretty Sunsets

I don’t know the physics of why it happens (well, I mean I think I sort of know that the earth’s position relative to the sun is different and that results in light refracting differently producing a different spectrum ), but the amber glow of fall sunsets has always really messed with my eyes and looked completely different than sunsets in the spring and summer to me. Regardless of whether or not I am just imagining things or I am right about the lighting, tonight’s sunset was really pretty:

West Virginia is such a beautiful state, I wish it wasn’t such a shitshow politically. And I wish we were doing more to protect our water from coal and frackers, because with the earth heating up the way it is, WV is prime to be an agricultural oasis with our good rain fall and soon to be longer growing season.

Very few leaves have changed or begun to change, and I have just had a feeling that we are going to have a very short fall in terms of leaves changing and then a very brutal winter. I don’t know why, but I think we just do. I also always know which way north is (and, I guess, consequently, east, south and west) instinctively. Or maybe I am totally full of shit and we will have a mild winter.

But I think it is going to be a brutal one. I’ve got a feeling that I can’t explain.

45 replies
  1. 1

    Your second photograph is a keeper.
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. 2
    Ohio Mom says:

    I am not sure we humans deserve such a beautiful planet.

  3. 3

    @BruceFromOhio: Yup, the second one is pretty good.

  4. 4
    opiejeanne says:

    Very pretty, John.
    In SoCal we used to say that smog makes a pretty sunset. These days it’s smoke from brushfires.

  5. 5
    Mart says:

    In the spring St. Louis went from Winter to Spring overnight. Maybe I held out for a day, but it went from high 40’s to high 80’s in a day. Now, a couple weeks before Fall, we are going from high 80’s to low 40’s overnight, from AC to heat. I think I can get another day before turning on the heat, but we are already layering. Seems like the past twenty years I have been here we get three to six weeks between seasons without burning carbon. Now we get a day?

  6. 6
    Ohio Mom says:

    But no brutal winter please. I am getting too old for brutal winters.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Mart says:

    @Ohio Mom: Per John

    But I think it is going to be a brutal one. I’ve got a feeling that I can’t explain.

    They are talking about snow before Halloween in St. Louis. I got bit by a mosquito eating and sweating at a family Thanksgiving party when we moved here in 1989.

  9. 9

    Gorgeous! Especially the second photo.

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    Get Ojeda to replace Capito. That will help.

    Also: sunsets are always amazing. Even if it’s just a trick of the atmosphere with visible light.

  11. 11
    khead says:

    Haven’t had a chance to check in but Mrs. Khead was released last night. Thanks to the folks for your kind comments. Just happy that things worked out and she is home and resting. I am also behind wrt the news and the comments here so I will guess someone has already made this joke. But just in case….

    Imagine – if you will – a world where Kanye did that shit in the Oval Office with Obama behind the desk. Pretty sure I’d already be watching same day impeachment hearings on C-SPAN.

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I just spent 45 minutes drafting a post on the Jamal Khashoggi stuff. WordPress just forced log me out when I hit publish. I’m not burning another hour on it. You’re all on your own.

  13. 13
    Aleta says:

    Leaves are probably peaking here now, especially if it rains and they come down fast in the wind. Then they’ll be red and beautiful on the ground. Along the river the hardwoods look amazing.

    Sunset colors get very bright here in the winter because of low humidity. Also seems extra vivid because almost all the color is gone from the trees and ground. The sunset goes fast then. So short. (Followed by the dark–solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and long.)

  14. 14
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Leonard Cohen is taking shots from the grave.

    Kanye in the sights.

  15. 15
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I have questions, about how necessary Saudi Arabia is based on the different things they’ve done & are doing that are causing major headaches. Bc I get the necessity & calculus that went & still goes into our relationship, but I’m super angry right now at any of our allies whose corruption is helping to corrupt our own government, on top of the different awful things they’ve done. So anyway. maybe tomorrow?

  16. 16
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Oh, man, I can relate to that.

    Ya know, now a days there are some software toolsets that auto-save work every set time interval (like 5 seconds) or even every change in the work data,. just kidin’ — I know you don’t pick the software tools… ;-)

  17. 17
    Mj_Oregon says:

    The Willamette valley here in Oregon continues to enjoy mild and pleasant weather, which is a problem because our fall rains are now a month overdue and after a comparatively dry spring and summer we’re now in “severe drought” edging slowly into extreme territory. So while our trees are showing their colors, it’s water stress that’s doing it, not frosty nights.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: I was working in wordpress’s dashboard.

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tenar Arha: Possibly.

  20. 20
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Can you give us a short synopsis instead? Something like “Saudi Prince did it. Kushner bad. Trump also bad.”

  21. 21
    Ilefttxwhenannlost says:

    @opiejeanne: it’s always particulate matter could be water drops or petrochemical exhaust Houston has beautiful sunsets still kinda stinky

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Basically MBS is gambling that his raised stakes won’t be called because the Saudis have spent a lot of money with the President’s business and Jared’s an idiot. The arms sale isn’t actually an arms sale. It’s several letters of intent, with a steep discount for the Saudis that Jared agreed to as a sweetener, and the agreement, if ever finalized, would require at least 50% of the arms to be made in Saudi. So no real increase in American jobs despite the President’s assertions this morning.

    Moreover, Intel Directive 191, entitled Duty to Warn, required the US to warn Khashoggi. Apparently we didn’t. MBS is gambling that he can get away with this because of the money Saudis have put in the President’s private pocket, the arms sale, which isn’t actually an arms sale and would be a bad deal anyway, because Jared’s a dumbass and the Saudis may also be into him for his private business funding, but that’s unclear. Corker invoked the Magnitsky Act, but I expect the President and his White House to do what they always do, which is basically whine, drag their feet, claim they’ve complied, but not actually done anything to comply. That may be the case now, but the Congress and the White House won’t always be in Republican hands.

    Lobbyists are already moving to drop the Saudis. I expect that if the diplomatic and financial pressure begins to mount, this might be the push that MBS’s senior cousins among the prince’s need to get rid of him. And I suspect if they get rid of him, they’ll have him killed as they won’t want to leave the chance he could make a comeback given he’s demonstrated he’s got a particularly nasty vindictive streak.

  23. 23
    tobie says:

    @khead: Wish we could ask the Trump-loving nurse at the hospital what she would have said if Obama invited Kanye West to the Oval Office and let him rant that way. Actually, never mind, we know what she thinks. I’m happy your wife is home and getting rest.

  24. 24
    HumboldtBlue says:


    Although the coast has maintained or exceeded historical norms during this drought, we haven’t gotten the rain, real rain, leaf-cleaning gully-washing rain, that is followed by autumnal patterns.

  25. 25
    NotMax says:

    re: winter, The Old Farmer’s Almanac begs to differ.

    This winter, we expect to see above-normal temperatures almost everywhere in the United States, except in the Southwest, where we’re predicting a colder-than-normal season. It’s still going to be wintery, of course, but it won’t be an especially frigid year. Our milder-than-normal forecast is due to the expected arrival of a weak El Niño, which will prevent cold air masses from lingering in the North. Despite a decrease in solar activity, we predict that the other factors that contribute to winter weather will keep temperatures above normal. Source

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Well this explains why my mail doesn’t get delivered…

  27. 27
    lahke says:

    The only leading indicator for winter I have is that my little plush cat Gretel is already fluffed out with her double coat and toe tufts. To the point that she’s getting matted fur, even with daily brushing, sigh. And the cats are sleeping on the bed again to wallow in the comforter, but that’s because I refuse to turn on the heat before Halloween.

  28. 28
    The Dangerman says:

    Oh, we’re doing sunset shots? I’ll toss this out there! Sorry about the resolution, it was my cell phone.

    For the curious, this is the Pismo Beach area.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:

    @Adam L. Silverman

    I was working in wordpress’s dashboard.

    That’ll larn ya.

  30. 30
    Doug R says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Maybe someone in Kayne’s entourage noticed he entered his password on camera.

  31. 31
    Doug R says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I was working in wordpress’s dashboard.

    Should have saved in drafts, like the trump team or al quaeda.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Doug R: It is set to autosave every couple of minutes. I also save as I go along. What it didn’t/doesn’t do, apparently, is autosave as it kicks you over to a forced log back in and that’s where at least half the post got eaten.

  33. 33

    @The Dangerman: Good pic, but resolution didn’t seem to be a problem.

    (Highlights and shadows, on the other hand…)

  34. 34
    The Dangerman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    ….Jared’s an idiot …. Jared’s a dumbass…

    Hold on. Nikki Haley tells me he’s a genius. A super genius. A super duper genius.

    Nah, he’s an idiotic dumbass.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @The Dangerman: I had The Hidden Genius several times in the post in reference to him. Usually right after pointing out why he’s a dumbass.

  36. 36
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m going to pretend my joke was a clever way to get you to rewrite your article. Go me.

    More seriously, thank you for th analysis, even if it’s the short version.

  37. 37
    Jay says:

    Remember when MBS said Jared gave him intel on Saudi’s who were his enemies?

  38. 38
    HumboldtBlue says:


    I found the Em dash under the Omega sign for special fonts.

    I don’t like the Word Press dashboard.

  39. 39
    Pogonip says:

    My area has also had only 2 seasons this year. In late April, we had to replace the furnace, and the HVAC co had to loan us space heaters because it was so cold. The following week, temperatures jumped from the 40s to the 80s. Last week and early this week we were in the 90s, now daytime highs are in the 50s.

  40. 40
    Dan B says:

    John Cole;

    Great looking sunsets!

    Longer growing seasons are not guaranteed from global warming. It’s less an issue at West Virginia’ mid latitudes but destabilization of the jet strem will allow arctic air incursions. Timing will be key.

  41. 41
    rikyrah says:

    Beautiful pictures, Cole

  42. 42
    JoyceH says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    But no brutal winter please. I am getting too old for brutal winters.

    Me too, but I’d like at least a couple decent snows for my dog. She’s a Samoyed and Virginia doesn’t get nearly enough snow to suit her. This summer, sometimes she was like ‘and now, I tink I go back to Rrrrussia’. And I’d be like, ‘don’t give yourself airs, you’re from Pennsylvania.’

  43. 43

    John, your impression is confirmed by science. Following are two paragralphs from article on I would provide link, but I am afraid moderation would prevent posting. Just google “beautiful sunrises and sunsets earthsky.” It will come up as first hit in results.

    —- From —-
    Have you ever driven home from work in the evening hours and noticed the sunset? Did you ever wonder what causes such brilliant colors in the evening and when the sun rises in the morning? Beautiful shades of orange, pink, purple, and red can be best seen in the fall and winter seasons at mid-latitudes. In this post, we’ll look at images of various sunrises and sunsets and explain why they show such beautiful colors!

    The best time to see amazing sunrises and sunsets is typically in the fall and winter months in the mid-latitudes. The key ingredients to see such beautiful colors is a lack of pollution, a few high clouds, and the sun angle. Have you ever wondered why the sky is blue? The sky appears blue due to a scattering of violet and blue light by air particles. Visible light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see. The blue colors in the sky is due to a process called Rayleigh scattering. Blue and violet colors have shorter wavelengths (0.47 nanometers [nm]), and are typically scattered more due to the gases in our atmosphere. Longer wavelengths such as red, orange, and yellow (around 0.55 to 0.65 nm) simply pass straight through our air, which explains why our sky cannot be red. Pollution in the atmosphere can soften the colors in the sky and reduce the light given. In this case, pollution can negatively effect the colors seen.

  44. 44
    Caracal says:

    Nice picx. Still pretty hot here in Altanta. I was thinking of taking a long weekend vacation somewhere a bit cooler. Maybe North VA/WV. Just for a day or three.

  45. 45
    Tim Devitt says:

    West Virginia was formed in 1861 by breaking away from Virginia in order to stay in the union.
    They get props for that!

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