A Spectacular “Fire in the Sky” Bookend Set of Dusk and Dawn Displays with a Side of Driftwood Astrophotography
Late last week, we had the pleasure of spending a night along Georgia’s beautiful Golden Isles before photographing the Days Inn Jekyll Island to help them highlight their newly remodeled rooms. The evening happened to coincide with the Alpha Monocerotids meteor shower which promised to deliver up to 400 shooting starts per hour as the earth briefly passed through the debris field of this ancient comet. Add to that an absolutely stunning sunset and sunrise, and the night’s session certainly warranted our “Fire in the Sky” moniker. Here’s just a sampling of the over 100 fine art images we captured – but please feel free to visit our full collection from Jekyll Island here.
As I made the hour and a half drive to Jekyll Island on Thursday afternoon, skies were a beautiful azure blue, with only a hazy hint of what was to come lingering on the distant horizon to the west. But as the sun began to set, almost our of nowhere, high, wispy cirrus clouds began to materialize all around, casting Jekyll Island in a warm pink hue as twilight descended on the Atlantic Coast. Indeed, it appeared as though the entire sky were ablaze, with bright oranges, yellows and reds filling the entire dome of heaven from west to east. The skies were so intense, that it even rivaled the glorious sunset over Acadia’s, Bass Harbor Light from our travels earlier this summer.
Unlike most extraordinary sunsets, the vibrant sunset colors lingered well into the night, giving me enough time to zip over to Driftwood Park on the north end of Jekyll Island to scout out my location for the meteor showers. As I was there, lower, denser cloud cover began to roll in – a foreboding sight for a guy hoping to capture the meteor showers later that evening.
After a quick bite to eat and a bit of a nap, I headed back out to Driftwood Park at about 10:45 to prepare for the meteor shower. For the next two hours, I waited for the spectacular display, but it never came. In two hours, I saw a staggering 2 shooting stars – far from the 400 that had been predicted. In part, this was due to a pesky and persistent dappled cloud layer that never quite went away, and, as I gather from other observers who had clearer skies, the fire in the sky just didn’t materialize this year. It was a bit of a dud. But despite the disappointment, the mingling of the starts and swiftly moving clouds made for some fantastic photographic opportunities that I otherwise would not have had.
And then, just like that, it was morning. After another several hours of sleep, I awoke before the dawn to capture images of the Days Inn’s expansive breakfast buffet before guests arrived for breakfast. From there, I headed out to the beach, just a few steps away, to capture the predawn fireworks show that was just beginning to materialize; the crescent moon still hovering over the eastern horizon. What started as a distant sliver of intense red on the horizon quickly overtook the entire sky with reds, purples and deep blues. It was a truly glorious sunrise that lingered for nearly an hour – the glassy-calm ocean accentuating the beauty – with pastel tones giving way to intense fiery notes as the sun peeked over the horizon.
And then, just like that, it was morning; the vibrant colors of the dawn replaced by the warm yellows of the day. Needless to say, it was one spectacular night – a precious gift from God that I won’t soon forget. And then there was the Bald Eagle that greeted me on the way off the island, but you’ll have to visit the full gallery to see him…
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