Three in one.

A fogbow, solar glory and Brocken spectre are all coexisting in this wonderful picture taken from San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge. As Marc Twain famously quipped, the worst winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco, and the bay is famed for its heavy mists that sap the heat out of the air. For these to be visible, the fog must be below and the sun above the photographer. Seeing all three of these together, the first two covering 360 degrees is uncommon at best. Fogbows are similar to rainbows, due to reflection and refraction of the light passing through them though their colours are usually weak. Glories resemble saint’s haloes, and are caused by complex optical phenomena that are still being debated, to do with resonance between different light paths within the drops. The spectre is the large magnified shadow of the photographer in the centre of the halo, and only arises when the sun is behind the observer. What a wonderful combo…


Image credit: Mila Zinkova via EPOD.


Best GoPro of the season, taken last week flying helicopters through a fogbow while breaking ice south from the North Pole. 

boat of lights, by george david clark

I’ve been out walking at night and low tide,
considering the beach complicated with driftwood,
how the sea loosens its grip  

on a shore. But more than that
I’ve been considering the book
the wind’s been proposing to write in me. 

On one page, the languid nod
of cattails in the marsh answers yes.
And yes and yes to anyone’s ultimate question. 

On another, over the dry littoral
zephyrs tow their sheer lace curtains of sand.
Veiling me and unveiling me again. 

At the bend in the boardwalk, lunch and low tide,
I’ve felt the barometer falling,
heard a sigh in the absence of gulls. 

Man before science, our original man—
suppose he lay down naked on the face
of the beach. The roiling fullness of cloudbank 

plowing in from the east could have been anything
his heart described: anathema, benediction,
justice, grace. I’m inclined to believe it was, 

inclined to replace him down there on my back
in prayer, awaiting rain’s ministrations,
those thousand wet hands of the rain. 

And tonight out again in the wind and low tide,
I’ve brought the son I want to conceive
to walk alongside me. 

He knows the names of the stars and their myths
because he is only this moment electing them.
The North Star after his mother, 

her luminous gown. A satellite: the boat of lights
that carries him to her. And when I ask him
if I’m there, he laughs. Fragile colors of the sky, 

fogbow dawn, thunderclaps—I want to refuse
for a moment the drive to explain them.
I’d like first to ask my child what they mean.


I saw something on the BBC today about someone seeing and photographing a fogbow and that it was “quite amazing” and “unbelievably beautiful”. I’ve been pretty lucky this year, seeing them in several places on at least three mornings! <3