The rising sun is divided by the Washington Monument on Sept. 16. (Kevin Ambrose)

Twice a year, the Washington Monument bisects the rising sun when viewed from the Netherlands Carillon. It occurs within a few days of the spring and fall equinox and it's a beautiful scene, but the weather conditions have to be perfect for optimal viewing.

Clouds and fog often produce beautiful colors across the sky at sunrise, but clouds and fog also hide the sun's shape and exact position in the sky. A clear sky is needed to see the sun cut across the Washington Monument.

But if the atmosphere is too clear and dry, the rising sun is too bright to photograph cleanly after it rises over the horizon.  So, for optimal photography, there is a fine weather balance required of a cloudless, or mostly cloudless sky, with just a touch of haze and humidity in the air to tone down the brightness of the sun.

A time lapse video of the sunrise Sept. 16. (Kevin Ambrose)

Fortunately, the weather conditions aligned perfectly Saturday morning to produce a wonderful sunrise. I was at the Netherlands Carillon to photograph the scene and I have included a couple of photos and a time lapse video from the morning's sunrise.

The time lapse video was created by shooting still photos every five seconds. I put the photos into a video sequence using Adobe Premiere Pro. In the video, I like the wispy cirrus clouds that move slowly from south to north. They don't block the sun but add a touch of contrast to an otherwise featureless backdrop.


The sun begins to rise over the Lincoln Memorial on Sept. 16. (Kevin Ambrose)