Photographer's Note

I listed this as Tocumen because that was my destination at the time. I was actually flying enroute from Kingston, Jamaica to Tocumen, Panama at 11,000ft (3350m) MSL. I was still about 170NM (315km) from northern Panama coastline when this picture was taken a few minutes after sunset.

Sunsets while flying in the Caribbean are often a sight to see, for nine times out of ten there are afternoon cumulus buildups like the ones you can see here on the horizon. These are not very big by any means, which was fine with me because the larger the buildups, the rougher the turbulence. This particular sunset went through several stages--each time I thought it was done I put my camera away. I had to get it back out three times :). I was talking on the radio with a coworker flying 2000ft above me, he said he had to do the same thing with his camera.

Standard Caribbean weather for this time of year (the beginning of the dry season) typically sees a tropical depression moving slowly from east to west between 10 and 20N, with a clockwise rotation. Looking at two resources, GOES Satellite and the jet stream, these become apparent. (Of course there isn't a good example right now when I need one to show...)

On the satellite especially, you can see thunderstorms forming on the lee coastlines, and the Caribbean has a lot of coastlines :). They form as the air travels from over the land (which cools rapidly as the sun descends) to over the water (which retains its heat much longer). The warmer air destabilizes the air and causes it to rise. Viola thunderstorm! In my photo above, the cumulous clouds you see are trailing downwind (to the northeast) of southern Central America.

I know it probably looks a little underexposed, but previous pictures I had taken just minutes prior really washed out the clouds at a higher exposure. One fiftieth of a second was probably just a bit too slow though, to take a picture from a vibrating airplane. Rotated 1 cw, sharpened, increased contrast a touch, cropped, and resized. Of course a larger resolution looks more impressive (here).

ISO 50, focal 8mm, EC -.7

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Johnny Five (johnnyfive) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 22 W: 1 N: 44] (94)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2004-12-09
  • Categories: Nature
  • Camera: Olympus C-750UZ
  • Exposure: f/2.8, 1/50 seconds
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2004-12-16 13:12
  • Favorites: 1 [view]
Viewed: 3050
Points: 2
  • None
Additional Photos by Johnny Five (johnnyfive) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 22 W: 1 N: 44] (94)
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