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Morning photo: Solstice!

First day of winter

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Early morning rays illuminate an icescape along the Snake River.

FRISCO — To get some good solstice images, I headed back to the Snake River valley, between Keystone and Montezuma, knowing that the sun would rise almost directly above the water. The cold temps of the last few nights have helped build up intricate new ice terraces and ice dams and the rays slanting through the trees helped give the canyon a wintry glow. I took my iPhone, too, because the sensor on the little camera phone actually does a better job of picking up shadow details in a backlit scene. See if you can tell which of these pics was taken with the iPhone, and which ones with the D80.

Many of the images in Summit Voice photo essays are available in our Fine Art America online gallery, and there’s also Summit County gallery at our ImageKind website. You can also order images by contacting me directly at bberwyn@comcast.net. It’s a great way to support independent online journalism! Continue reading

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Winter Solstice 2012: The world definitely is not ending

Winter starts

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The 2011 winter solstice sunset in Frisco, Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With all the hoopla of Christmas, it’s easy to forget that the winter solstice was marked by deeply spiritual ceremonies long before the emergence of Christian traditions. But if you take a moment today to contemplate the sun hanging at it’s lowest and most southerly point in the sky, it’s a little easier to understand why ancient people took the trouble to erect massive stone monuments to observe the day.

Try and see the world from the perspective of a Stone Age hunter in a time when the universe was infinitesimally more mysterious than it is today. Now, we understand orbital cycles. Notwithstanding the end-of-the-world hype, we can be fairly certain that the days will soon start getting longer again. We can keep warm in our homes, and fend off the dark with electric lights.

But there must have been a time when the long, dark nights at the start of winter were frightening, with no real assurance that spring would arrive once more. Gradually, through observation, even the ancient ones figured it out, and the fact that the cycle of shortening days was at an end became reason for celebration. Continue reading

Colorado: Approaching the winter solstice

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Winter sun. Bob Berwyn photo.

Tuesday’s sunset the earliest of the year; afternoons will start getting longer on Dec. 12

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’re tired of the sun setting behind the western mountains in the middle of the afternoon, fear not, there’s some relief in sight. As of today (Dec. 4) the sun has completed its southward peregrination along the western horizon, which means the afternoons won’t get any shorter.

For the next few days, the sun will set at nearly the same spot at 4:40 p.m. Then, starting Dec. 12, it will start to set a little bit later each day. By December 31, sunset will be a full 10 minutes later, at 4:50 p.m. Continue reading

Morning photo: Winter light

December begins …

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Late afternoon light in Frisco, Colorado.

FRISCO — OK, so it’s not quite winter yet. Officially, that season begins on the day of the winter solstice, according to the celestial calendar. On the other hand, meteorologists start the winter season on Dec. 1, so by that measure we’re a few days into the season. Either way, the light is stunning this time of year. Even mid-day, the low angle of the sun casts long shadows and creates gorgeous golden glows on dried grasses. It’s actually a bit unusual to be able to photograph so much bare ground under these light conditions. Usually by the first week of December, there’s already a good solid coating of snow on the ground, but not this year … C’est la Vie.

Many of the images in this slide show are available in our Fine Art America online gallery, and there’s also Summit County gallery at our ImageKind website. You can also order images by contacting me directly at bberwyn@comcast.net.

Continue reading

Winter solstice, 2011

To everything, turn, turn …

Solstice at Stonehenge. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ANDREW DUNN VIA WIKIPEDIA AND A CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Today is the first day of winter, but if you’re waiting for the solstice, you’re too late. While we commonly refer to an entire day as the solstice, in reality it’s just a short moment in time when the northern hemisphere is at it maximum tilt away from the sun, at 23.5 degrees. That moment occurred last night Dec. 21) at 10:30 p.m. Continue reading

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