Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tranquil sunset as fierceness brews in the Atlantic

Earl, a major hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, pushed some high waves to the Space Coast this week, and I was charged with covering the conditions Wednesday. 'Tis a rough assignment to drive to Cocoa Beach, stroll on the sand and snap photos. But toward the end of my time on the beach, there was some relief: a beautiful setting sun. Crepuscular rays filtered through the clouds nicely. For the first shot above, a pelican was in the frame.

These were not storm clouds, just some puffy cumulus to the far west. Aside from the horizon, the sky was clear blue: another atypical day in this abnormally arid summer in Florida.

I, and many of the other beachgoers, were fascinated by the shadows cast by the clouds. A woman lying flat on the sand noticed me taking pictures, turned around and saw what I was shooting. She was thrilled. She shook her napping husband quite violently for a minute, yelling at him to wake up. He finally did. I hope he wasn't disappointed at the sight.

The real reason I was at the beach was the danger presented by Hurricane Earl: rip currents and 8-foot waves. Those swells are expected to hit 13 feet Thursday. The most horrible thing in all of this, however, is the poor use of punctuation in the sign to the left. That should be "swimmers," not "swimmer's." There is no need for possession here. And the sign to the right contains an error of fact. "Rip tides" are not the same as "rip currents." The sign meant "rip currents."

This is the last shot as I left the beach.

On my way back to the newspaper, I stopped quickly along the Pineda Causeway over the Indian River, just north of Melbourne. The sun really started to set.

This is one of the best sunsets I've seen this summer. I don't often get out during the golden hour because it's a prime writing period for me at work. Ideally, I'd be roaming around Brevard County all the time for my job.

Earlier, while I was driving, a cloud similar to this one was somewhat in the shape of a certain rodent's ears. The shadow it cast was, of course, magnified, making it look even more like Mickey Mouse. How typical of Central Florida. Hard to describe, but it was cool. Believe me.

In one of my favorites of the evening, sea birds fly through the frame. Oh, and coincidentally, I find it ironic that my home state of Maine has been hotter -- well into the 90s -- this week than Florida and that it's more apt to be hit by Hurricane Earl than this state ever was.

I snapped one last shot as I climbed back over the berm of rocks separating the roadway and the river.

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