My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, June 22, 2012

SkyWatch: Cemetery Sunset

Great balls of fire, it's been a long time since I participated in SkyWatch Friday! We just haven't had very photogenic skies since moving to town last autumn.

But last evening, after a long, hot day, I was in need of some fresh air and exercise so I took my bike for a spin. I'd gotten three blocks when the trees grew sparser and I could see we were in for a spectacular sunset. So I raced back home, grabbed my camera, and headed for the cemetery, where I had a perfect scene in mind: a silhouette of the elk statue against that fiery sky. The light and colors of the sky kept changing, so I just kept snapping photos...

...until I got my favorite!

As I took a final twilight spin around the cemetery, this headstone caught my eye. A lot of graves are decorated with solar lights, but when I saw this I thought it was some sort of new tombstone technology - solar LED illuminated headstones! But no, it was just the polished granite eerily reflecting the last dying light of that vivid, blazing sunset...

How strange this fear of death is! 
We are never frightened at a sunset.
~ George MacDonald
Scottish author, poet and minister
Dec 10 1824 - Sept 18 1905

Happy early days of summer (or winter, depending on where you are)
and have a beautiful weekend!


  1. Wow! A brilliant silhouette sunset.

  2. Great photos! Stunning sunset shots!

  3. WOW WOW WOW WOW and WOW. Absolutely breathtaking!
    Jane x

  4. Beautiful photos. The last two are fantastic. Happy sky watching.

    My Sky.

  5. Wow Laurie, they are just stunning! I have photo envy! I thought that headstone was illuminated too in a sort of Viva Las Vegas way... :O)

  6. What lovely captures of tones and light.

  7. I like the composition on the second one the best. Nice!

  8. Wow! I'm so glad you went home to get your camera! Interesting about the beautiful light on the gravestone. A superb skywatch post, I'd say!

  9. Thomas ~ Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for following my blog! :-)

    Carol ~ Thank you! I'm sure glad I decided to go for that bike ride last night.

    Jeannelle ~ Thanks! With a sky like that and a point and shoot camera for dummies, I can't really miss!

    Jane ~ LOL, you sound like you've just spied a bear out your window! :-) It was a breathtaking sky, and I'm glad I could share it.

    Liz ~ Thank you, I almost didn't include the last one because it's not a sky shot (not directly), but I couldn't resist. It was just too unusual.

    Barbara ~ Photo envy? Thee? Of ME? LOL! Your photos always amaze and impress me so, I'm very tickled whenever you have a similar reaction to mine. LOL at "Viva Las Vegas" - it does look like it could be at home on the Strip, along with the Elvis impersonators. ;-)

    Jewaicious ~ Thank you! The low light was a little challenging at times, but I was really pleased with how most of the photos turned out.

    Antonina ~ Thanks, I'm glad you liked them!

    Maurizio ~ I appreciate your opinion on that, especially since you're a pro! (Your photos are amazing, I must return to your web site when I have more time!) I agree, that one has the better composition of the two, but try as I might I couldn't leave out the other one - that sky was just too pretty! :-)

    Black Jack's Carol ~ Funny, I was thinking the same thing when I downloaded the photos last night and when I was reading the comments today! I'd missed an even MORE spectacular sunset the night before (if you can believe that!) and didn't have my camera. I thought about riding home to get it, but usually our sunsets don't last very long and I didn't think I'd make it back in time and didn't want to miss the experience. So I just gawked at it while trying not to kick myself for not having my camera velcro'ed to my person at all times. :-) That sunset stayed incredible long enough that I could have fetched my camera and gotten photos of it after all. No way was I going to make that mistake again last night!

    I'm glad you found the reflection on that headstone as interesting as I did, and I thank you for your kind compliment!

  10. Oh Laurie, those are stunning shots! The elk nearly comes to life; what colors, what beauty! The light on the headstone is cool, a bit eerie, but very unique and interesting aspect of the light/time of day.

  11. Wow, Laurie, those are gorgeous captures!

    Funny how the light reflected off the headstone like that. Wow!

  12. Rose ~ Thank you! I know exactly what you mean about the elk nearly coming to life. At times I almost felt like I needed to cajole him to keep standing still and hold that pose! :-) The more I look at it, the more I'm really liking that illuminated headstone photo. I figured it wouldn't turn out well in such low light (and I was quite far away, had to shoot it with my zoom), but took the photo in hopes it would turn out well enough I'd be able to show BW how cool it looked. Turned out far better than I'd imagined it would. Such a nifty little camera!

    Molly ~ Thanks, Molly! I know! The sunset was reflecting off a few others as I rode past them, but those didn't have that interesting, sharp outlined effect like this one does. It was quite unique and I'm glad to have been able to capture it.

  13. Incredible skies, and that cemetery shot is WOW!

  14. Greetings from Oman!!!I loved all your shots...amazing!Have a great weekend!


  15. More of your spectacular sunset photos! You do get the most amazing sunsets there. And the gravestone is eerie — it looks like there's a fire inside. Who knows, maybe there is ...

  16. Like how the sunset seems to fill the sky laterally -- spreading over the whole of town. I have never experienced a sunset like this. You are fortunate to live where you can experience such beauty. Thank you for the grand show. -- barbara

  17. Spare Parts ~ They sure were! (Just to clarify, all the photos were taken in the cemetery, but I'm guessing the "wow" shot you're talking about is the last one of the glowing headstone!)

    NatureStop ~ Sending a howdy back to Oman, along with my thanks! :-) I'm very glad you enjoyed them, and appreciate your visit and comment!

    Andrea ~ It's the spectacular sunrises I miss not living on the side of the mountain, but we do get to see sunsets down here that we usually didn't up there (the mountains often blocked them!)

    You're right, it does look like there's a fire inside that headstone! Makes it even eerier.

    Barbara (KY) ~ It did cover half the sky (and as it dimmed there appeared the slimmest sliver of crescent moon I'd ever seen, but my camera was definitely not up the the task of photographing it). I'm not sure why we get such beautiful sunsets and sunrises - if it's because we have wide, unimpeded vistas so we can see them or if it has to do with dust particles in the sky, or something else, but we are lucky ~ the skies are beautiful here. I'm grateful to be able to share them with others like you who appreciate them as much as I do!

  18. TW!
    I can't say that I've seen anything so beautiful and inspiring in quite some time. Thank you you so much for sharing ;-) xoxo

  19. Spud ~ Well, thank you! I'm gratified that I was able to share it with you, as I found it beautiful and inspiring as well! Aren't digital photography and the internet just the handiest things? :-) xoxo

  20. Hey Laurie! I'm back finally after a lot of hullaballoo (posted an update recently). And so happy to see you still here posting your amazing photos and being an unbelievable sweetheart. I missed you! These sunset pictures are too great to be believed, as are all your Skywatch posts!

  21. Georgia ~ Yay, welcome back!! It's so great to see you in the blogosphere again! I must check out your hullaballoo update post ASAP, for I've missed you too and been concerned about you! (In other words, I've had Georgia on my mind). :-)

    Thank you for your compliments, I'm glad you enjoy my SkyWatch posts (I've been a SkyWatch delinquent of late, lol). Looking forward to catching up with you soon!

  22. These are absolutely wonderful! Your favorite is also my favorite. Odd but I thought about taking some sunset shots in a nearby cemetery but there were just too many tall trees blocking the sunset. I will have to find another one. Have a great week and Happy 4th of July.

  23. Nita ~ Thank you! I really like the second shot too, but the sky in our favorite one is just too amazing. Our cemetery has a lot of big trees in it too, but we're lucky that there's also this large treeless space with a great open vista to the west that just cries out for photos of the mountains and sunsets. And they sure knew right where to place that elk statue, didn't they? :-)

    I hope you're soon able to locate a cemetery that offers lovely open sunset views too (though a tree or two to provide a silhouette would be nice!) I know that's a tougher assignment where you are now compared to Sioux Falls.

    Thanks for coming back for another visit!

  24. Boy you sure got a lot of comments on this post and no wonder.

    I have to say that I had scrolled past this one a number of times and I can tell you that I thought you were posting about something about someone else and had put in commercial photos. I was really amazed when I started to read this one from the top and these turned out to be your photos! That fourth one which is your favorite is just absolutely amazing. It doesn't even look like a photo - just like a painting since the colors almost see impossible for nature. And with the elk statue and that tree framed in so perfectly, it's really something. I'm a pretty big fan of the first photo too. I love the colors in the sky. The blue is still so blue rather than the dray of dusk while the yellow is so bright and there's orange too. And that's contrasted with the earth that is sort of dark.

    I love that pink tombstone and would never have thought that the granite would reflect the sky like that. Totally a great shot for a horror movie!!!

  25. Jo ~ Gosh, I don't know whether to be offended that you thought me incapable of taking these photos or flattered that you thought they were professional commercial ones! LOL But given that the comment came from you, I choose to feel flattered. :-)

    I almost didn't post the first photo, but I'm glad I did. I do love it when the horizon is filled with fiery sunset colors, but the sky is still the bright blue of mid-day above.

    You can see why, when I saw this amazing sunset developing, I instantly thought of that elk statue! I knew it would make for a wonderful composition, but the tree silhouette was a bonus! I hadn't remembered the tree till I got to that spot. A spot which provides a perfect vantage point for the sunsets. I'll need to find an equally good one when we move! Won't be able to ride on my bike and be at the elk statue in 3 minutes, that's for sure!

    I wouldn't have thought the polished granite on the headstones would reflect the sky like that either, and thought its was quite awesome! The other headstones that did it were out in the open and so also fairly brightly lit by the ambient light remaining in the sky - not nearly as dramatic. But that one in the relative gloom of the shadows under the trees - wow! It stood out just as you see in the photo. I was glad I was able to get a fairly decent, though grainy, photo with so little light available and from a pretty good distance (had to use the full powers of my zoom!)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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