Easter colors at sunrise in Washington, D.C.


Shades of pink and blue appeared in the sky moments before sunrise on Easter morning. (Kevin Ambrose)

As I watched the sunrise on Easter morning, I noticed that Easter colors were painted across the sky over Washington.  There were shades of pink and blue to the east while the Jefferson Memorial glowed in striking contrast with shades of yellow and green.  It was a fitting scene for an Easter sunrise photo shoot.

I was even tempted to remark to some of the other photographers who were shooting the sunrise that the Jefferson Memorial and its reflection resembled a giant Easter egg that was offset by the pastel-colored sky and Tidal Basin.  That’s what struck me at the moment I was shooting.

But since I attended the University of Virginia and I studied Jefferson and his architecture, I could never say, in good conscience, that the Jefferson Memorial resembles a giant Easter egg.  We all know the Jefferson Memorial is a fine work of architecture that resembles Monticello and the Rotunda, not an egg.

OK, let’s get back to the weather discussion.


The sky glowed with a shade of pink at the moment of sunrise on Easter morning.  (Kevin Ambrose)

The reason for the unusual and striking colors at sunrise Sunday morning was that a storm system was approaching our area from the west and its rain bands were just starting to push overhead.  Because the sky to the east of Washington was relatively clear, the light from the rising sun was filtered and scattered by the moisture in the air, which in turn produced the pastel colors that were painted in the sky at sunrise.

I have often said that our best sunrises and sunsets occur on the edge of storm systems.  During sunrise, the sun’s light undercuts advancing storm clouds. During sunset, the sun’s light undercuts departing storm clouds.  The sunrise on Easter Sunday was an example of the advancing storm scenario.  Rain began soon after sunrise.

As for the comment that the Jefferson Memorial and its reflection resembled a giant Easter egg, you can decide for yourself.  Regardless, it was a cool Easter sunrise.


A wide view of the Jefferson Memorial photographed just before sunrise. (Kevin Ambrose)

 

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Jason Samenow · April 1, 2013