Road mirage (w-364-19)

In gallery: Photos of the month (2001)
Related photos: Atmospheric optics Atmospheric refraction Inferior mirages (road)

On sunny days, the asphalt of a road is warmed up much more than the air above, creating mirages of objects just above the road, like people on bicycles, cars, trees, the sky, etc. The mirage causes the road to look wet, because water surfaces are what we associate with reflecting surfaces in nature; but this mirage consists only of warm air (a temperature gradient) which bends light rays upwards.

Fuji Superia 400 film, with 2000mm telephoto lens. Taking such a photo with this focal distance usually results in unsharpness due to the air turbulence.