Rainless rainbows and giant prisms in the sky... that's what ended our Labor Day

Hunkered down inside all day (despite the holiday) because of the heat and humidity, Hubby and I finally decided it was cool enough to venture outside to take a short drive just before sunset. We wandered out to the car in the driveway and looked up. What we saw stunned us both.

Above us was a sky lit up like fire as the setting sun reflected off the unusual clouds. And in the midst of it all was a big rainbow coming down out of the middle of a cloud.

It hadn't rained. It wasn't going to rain. Yet there was a rainbow.

Our iPhones came out and we starting taking pictures thinking there was no way we could capture the intensity of the moment with little cameras in our cell phones.

We finally got in the car and headed out of our little hamlet and onto the big freeway that takes us up and out of our hilly terrain into the large valley that sits at the base of "our mountain" which hovers over the valley at 3,864 feet (1,178 m) in elevation. This is a drive we've made a thousand times. Our car always goes up and over the rise in the freeway until we reach the crest and suddenly the valley opens up in front of us with the majestic mountain rising in the distance (a camera never does this scene justice).

Yesterday evening the vista was even more magical than usual. To the right of "our mountain" was a giant shaft rainbow. I've never seen one before. It was like a huge prism hanging in the sky from the clouds overhead. The mist from the clouds was hanging in vertical bars and refracting the setting sun so perfectly that it was creating this beautiful phenomenon of nature--not a rainbow but a shaft prism.

I took out my iPhone again and started taking pictures as the car jiggled along the freeway toward "our mountain". I hoped and hoped that it would even capture a tenth of what we were seeing. It did capture that (and then some). Even though it couldn't capture all the bands of color our eyes were seeing, it caught enough to show the enormity of the miracle we were witnessing.

For those of you that experience summer rain and/or summer heat and humidity, you'll have to forgive our childlike excitement. These cloud formations aren't what we normally witness here in the hot, rainless summers of the San Francisco Bay Area. And we certainly don't experience them by the time September rolls around and we're completely starved for rain. Usually we still have a month or so to go until the autumn and winter rains come. So you can imagine our sheer childlike wonder and delight seeing rainless rainbows and giant prisms in the sky as the sun set on a September evening.

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  1. Cindy, wow, those are amazing colors and sights...

    So pink, I could only imagine that happening here.


  2. I only wish I could have seen it. Your pics are amazing, Cindy. Love the colors!

  3. Gorgeous! A sunset AND a rainbow! Such a rare sight and I'm so glad you were able to capture it.



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