What follows is a series of photos taken from my balcony that illustrate some of the magic that is in the big sky, and the enchanted sky here in New Mexico. I've lived here long enough now to know that the truly wonderous sunsets are not as frequent as one might think, because frequently we have a cloudless sky in the west, and other than the glow, the radient colors are lacking on many many evenings.

Those days are peaceful to be sure, but they lack the high drama that comes when the sky puts on a show, viewed by me at least, in total amazement.

Looking back, the camera data reveals that we have progressed out of the depth of the short twilight and by the time early March rolls around, my photo session lasted from 6:14 to 6:35. Granted, it's nothing like the drawn out light of the northern Michigan sky, but perhaps it's brevity makes me appreciate it more.

I confess however, that this kind of series does not really lend itself well to the format of a blog. Click on the links to see them full sized in your browser window, and click on them again after they open to enlarge even more.

The larger image is here.

Generally the best sunsets occur when the light reflects off of high clouds, but the higher the cloud, the faster they generally move. It's not uncommon for winds aloft at the high altitutes to be pushing along at 70 miles per hour, so even in a short period of time, a third of the sky may be "new" during the fast sunset.

The converse is also true, thick clouds may move in and choke off all of the light and the show comes to an abrupt end.

But not this night.

As often happens, after the sun sinks below the horizon, there is a period during which the stage seems to get prepared for the reds and oranges that follow the early bright yellow.

larger image here.

As you can see from the next image, the sun is still south in the horizon, for in three months it will move significantly to the right of the mountain on the very edge of the photograph.

Larger image here.

As you can see, the thick high clouds that helped create the drama of the first photo have moved off stage and all we are left with is the fading yellow and orange in the western sky.