Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Droughtbow

with 10 comments

The ancient Greek mathematicians considered 28 a perfect number because if you add up all the smaller positive whole numbers that divide 28, you get back that number. Behold the easy confirmation: 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14 = 28.

I bring that up not because I’m fond of number theory—which I am—but because for much of September 28 we had wispy clouds over Austin that turned the sky into a perfect spectacle. No rain-bringers these, but they did produce what I’m tempted to call a droughtbow above my Great Hills neighborhood that noon. Behold that too:

A droughtbow; click to enlarge.

And if you want to imagine that the droughtbow was the foreshadowing (foreclouding?) of a rainbow, or at least of bowless rain, you may, because at around 5:10 in the morning on October 9, yesterday, I was awakened by the sounds of thunder and of the first downpour we’ve had here in months. Maybe the remaining fall wildflowers will also wake up and make up for lost time.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2011 at 5:26 AM

10 Responses

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  1. Minus the droughtbow, we had several downpours here in Dallas as well–our first in months. It was lovely, and much needed. Can’t wait to see what flowers come back to life now.

    wallswithdoors

    October 10, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    • I’m pleased to hear you got rain too. Let’s all hope the widflowers take their cue from it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2011 at 11:51 AM

  2. It’s nice that you were outside at just the right time to enjoy and capture your droughtbow.

    Shelly

    October 10, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    • I was coming back from a couple of hours photographing along Bull Creek, a few miles from home. The bonus came when I was already back in my neighborhood and stopped to photograph the clouds. Only then did I notice what I’ve come to call the droughtbow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2011 at 5:35 PM

  3. The phenomenon of a “drought bow” is actually called a “halo” in meteorological terms. It is seen in thin clouds that are so high up in the atmosphere, that the water droplets that make up the clouds have actually turned into ice. The ice crystals have a special hexagonal shape that works like a prism, if the crystals are oriented in the right direction.

    The most colorful halos appear in a circle approximately 22 degrees out from the sun. A second halo can appear in a circle, although usually somewhat more broken, at 46 degrees from the sun.

    Nice photo capturing one of my favorite weather occurrences.

    Galen Leeds Photography

    October 10, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    • We appreciate your scientific explanation of the halo, Galen. I’m glad you like this picture of one. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever photographed the phenomenon, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2011 at 10:00 PM

  4. So beautiful!
    What a blessing to finally get some rain! I had to chuckle when the news came on saying that Texas was worried about the game being rained out. Some people really take their Football seriously, eh? 😉

    Praying Texas and all the other drought stricken states get more! ~ Lynda

    pixilated2

    October 11, 2011 at 7:52 AM

    • Thanks, Lynda. You see where most people’s priorities are in Texas. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get more rain this week, alas, but I’m hopeful that the two inches we had will still do wonders.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2011 at 8:33 AM

  5. I love the name you came up with for that- I was just admiring one yesterday over the prairie here and sure enough, I woke to rain. How about that?

    melissabluefineart

    October 13, 2011 at 7:02 PM


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