January 29, 2012

Why Is The Sky Moody Blue?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — geoff @ 6:03 pm

Good morning and greetings, Super Bowl fans. That’s right, we’ve started the countdown to Super Sunday, the same day twenty-four years ago that I bought my wife a surprise engagement ring after she picked it out. I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic.

Next Sunday is also a day when the earth stops orbiting on its normal axis, as Americans will consume 200 hundred trillion chips, 400 billion slices of pizza and enough guacamole to fill Lake Erie. Throw in enough beer and alcohol to double the size of the Red Sea, more money being gambled then what we owe the Chinese and we’re talking that special day where we honor the national pastime of violence, NFL football.

So this leads to the questions that everyone will be asking next Sunday. Can Gisele Bundchen’s main squeeze, Tom Brady, obtain redemption for the Patriot’s 2008 shocking defeat in Super Bowl XLII that crushed their hopes for an undefeated dream season? Can the league’s hottest quarterback, Eli Manning and the Giant’s Big Blue defense continue to sizzle in the postseason and take home another championship trophy? And most importantly, the question fans all over the country will be asking themselves the next day around the water cooler, what was your favorite commercial?

Well, speaking of the Big Blue, I came across an article last seek written by Natalie Wolchover for Yahoo Live Science that tickled my New York Giant’s fancy. Have you ever wondered why the moon is out sometimes during the day? Why is the sky blue? Will we ever discover aliens? How much does the Earth weigh? How do airplanes stay up? And what’s the point spread on the Giants-Patriots game?

According to a new survey conducted over fish n’ chips in England, these are the five questions kids most often ask their parents. In my case, it was, “Why do I have to study algebra?,” followed by “How do the storks know where to deliver the babies?” and “Can I have a raise in my allowance?”

Of the 2,000 parents of children ages 5 to 16 who were surveyed about their kid’s questions, two-thirds said they struggled with the questions and depression. One-fifth of the parents admitted that if they didn’t know an answer, they sometimes made up an explanation, pretended that no one knows or went into a trance. And one-third of the parents said they thought the moon was made of cream cheese.

Myself, I never wondered about the moon making an appearance during the day and I believe there are aliens out there and in Hollywood. I’ve never pondered how much the earth or Oprah weighed and forget about how airplanes stay up, I’m amazed that my pants stay up without a belt.

But being a photographer and a citizen of the world, the question that really caught my interest was, why is the sky blue? Or in the words of former Chapel Hill resident Dr. Michael Schur, “If God isn’t a Tar Heel, why is the sky Carolina blue?”

So here we go. The light coming from the sun is made of many colors; light travels as a wave, and each color has a unique wavelength. Violet and blue light has shorter wavelengths, while red light has a longer wavelength, particularly in Amsterdam, and the other colors have wavelengths in between. And the cheese stands alone.

When the different colors of light pass through the atmosphere, they run into molecules, water droplets, bits of dust and friends from the old neighborhood. Because all these particles are closer in size to shorter wavelengths of light, they tend to scatter violet and blue light much more than red. They send rays of violet and blue light richocheting toward the ground and your eyes like an Eli Manning third down sideline pass to Hakeem Nicks. More violet light actually gets scattered by atmospheric particles than blue light, but your eyes are more sensitive to blue, so in accordance to K-mart shoppers, the sky appears like one big blue light special.

Sunrises and sunsets are orange-red because with the sun low on the horizon, sunlight must pass through more atmosphere to get to your eyes, and only the red light can make it all the way through. The shorter wavelengths have all been scattered toward the ground and the sky is defenseless in holding back the incredible colors that these moments bring. Or in the words of the Classic IV “Traces of love, long ago, that didn’t turn out right.”

And that leads us into today’s photo funhouse. We harken back to the morning of January 19, when at first glance the early morning sky showed more promise than the Fox Network’s much ballyhooed new series “Alcatraz.” Although I was still without my regular lens, I had my new zoom in hand, which I used to capture this morning of spectacular color and pageantry.

And I am happy to report that after a three week hiatus, Sunrise Santa Cruz is back in the digital ballgame. Now all I need is some clouds and a miracle. Actually, all I need is you, my cyber audience. At least that’s what Mike & the Mechanics told me.

On to the late night. “Rick Perry dropped out. He said while it’s sad he won’t be president, he can always run again next year. Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife went on nightline and said that he wanted to have an open marriage. This is the second wife, talking about him when he was fooling around with what became the third wife. Newt wanted apparently to have his wife and his marriage and also women on the side giving him oral sex. This way he could be nice and relaxed when he went to work and accused blacks of feeling entitled. “Meanwhile, at the debate, Mitt Romney’s got a look on his face like, ‘Three women at once? Who’s the Mormon in this race?’” –Bill Maher

“Scientists announced that they have detected a brand new subatomic particle. This particle is so tiny, it’s actually smaller than the income tax rate paid by Mitt Romney. “Mitt Romney won’t release his taxes, but on the other hand, turns out Newt Gingrich wrote off two of his marriages as a total loss.” – Jay Leno “Mitt Romney is going to release 2010 and 2011 tax returns. Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich is going to release his 1988, 1994, and 2005 wedding vows.” –Conan O’Brien

“Newt Gingrich was cheating on his second wife while he was prosecuting Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky thing. In other words, Newt puts the ‘hippo’ in ‘Hypocrite.’ “Gingrich is lining up impressive endorsements. Todd Palin, Gary Busey, and now, Chuck Norris. I’ll tell you, his endorsements could beat up Mitt Romney’s endorsements.” –Jimmy Kimmel “You’re not a Washington insider? You, the former Speaker of the House and Freddie Mac consulting millionaire, are the Washington insider. When Washington gets its prostate checked, it tickles you!” –Jon Stewart, on Newt Gingrich campaigning as a Washington outsider

“Yesterday in Florida, President Obama kissed a woman on the cheek after she told him he looks good. Which explains why last night, Michelle made him sleep on Air Mattress One. President Obama aired his first campaign ad of 2012, which promotes his record on clean energy. Obama’s a big environmentalist. In fact, for the election he plans to recycle the same promises he made four years ago. “Next week Obama will visit Iowa, Arizona, Las Vegas, Denver, and Detroit. Not because he’s campaigning, just because all he could afford was a Southwest flight with a bunch of layovers.” –Jimmy Fallon

“A hiker who was lost in a blizzard said he stayed alive by digging a snow tunnel and burning dollar bills for warmth. Today he was offered a job as President Obama’s economic adviser.” –Jay Leno “People who saw Steven Tyler sing the National Anthem at the Patriots game yesterday said, ‘Nancy Regan really looks good for her age.” But Steven Tyler got some of the lyrics wrong, so now everyone thinks the song goes, ‘Flag looks like a lady.’” –Conan O’Brien

So that’s our last blast for January. Birthday wishes go out next Sunday to my longtime confidante and the First Lady of the state of Western Kentucky, Nancy Mager, who predicted years before the internet was invented that I would someday be blogging for no compensation. As they say, keep your friends close and your good friends closer.

So enjoy Super Bowl week and we’ll catch you at the trophy presentation. Aloha, mahalo and later, Victor Cruz fans.


  1. The two questions I’m still wondering about is why aren’t people on the other side of the earth upside down and if the earth is always spinning why when we jump up in the air do we come down in the same place? Perhaps you could address those in next week’s blog? And here’s hoping that the Giants performance in the Super Bowl may be as glorious as the pictures in this post!

    Comment by Cooper Manning — January 30, 2012 @ 8:46 am

  2. Here’s my questions of the day:
    Why do they call it Ocean Spray Cranberry “Sauce”, when it’s a staple side dish, and not a sauce at all?
    Why do they put Ocean spray cranberry sauce on sale for so cheap, when it’s so valuable?
    How many people would choose jellied cranberry sauce versus motts apple sauce?

    keep the interesting info and fabulous photos coming.


    Comment by Wendi Gilbert — January 30, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  3. Most of us would never see these inspiring shots if you weren’t there. That’s why you are the Abe Zapruder of our generation.I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the news about wavelengths,as it pertains to color.
    And a special shout out to Cooper,who posted. We all know what Archie, Peyton and Eli will be doing Sunday. But if it wasn’t for the Coop Man, we wouldn’t have our pizzas delivered on time.

    Comment by Cosmo Kaman — January 30, 2012 @ 10:24 am

  4. Another cosmic question would be “why does our local school board schedule sports events on Rosh Hashanah and a BBQ on Yom Kippur?”

    Comment by Questions 67 & 68 — January 30, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  5. Beautiful pictures Geoff.

    I just found you, but am looking forward to going back through a bunch of your work!

    Comment by Santa Cruz Local — February 3, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

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