On a recent shoot in the US I captured this landscape image of golden light over a cold and windy morning on the frozen Bering Sea, Nome, Alaska.  The ice crystals in the air have formed a sundog (the small rainbow like colours parallel to the sun.)

From Wikipedia: Sundogs are commonly made by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, these ice crystals are called diamond dust, and drift in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen — a halo. But often, as the crystals sink through the air, they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally — in this case, sundogs are seen.

As the sun rises higher, the rays passing through the crystals are increasingly skewed from the horizontal plane. Their angle of deviation increases, and the sundogs move farther from the sun. However, they always stay at the same elevation as the sun.

For a print of this popular image visit our online store here.

And for information on my next exciting Winter Photo Tour to Alaska in 2016, keep an eye on my Photo Tours page here.

Copyright Chris McLennan

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