Sunset on stratocumulus (d-040913-043)

In gallery: Photos of the month (2004)
Related photos: Atmospheric optics Sunrise and sunset Low-level cloud coloring

Stratocumulus clouds are low-level clouds, and can become spectacularly colored during sunset or sunrise. This is because the reddened clouds are near to you with little air in between, leaving the colors more pure. There is little scattering by aerosols and the air itself. High clouds or faraway clouds generally give less saturated colors. Because stratocumulus clouds are low, the colors also don't last very long. You have to be expecting such a sunset with your camera ready to capture the colors at the right moment.

Imaged with a Nikon D100 digital camera, fitted with 28-70mm/2.8 zoomlens set at 70mm f/5.6. Shutter speed was 1/125 sec. on 200 ISO sensitivity.