Yesterday Wellington had a lovely summer's day that was actually warm (24 degrees!) and sunny with clear blue skies and almost no wind. As the day ended, halo phenomena became evident in the high cloud that had developed. I could see what looked like one side of a halo, with the rest hidden by the headland at the southern end of Island Bay. I think the bright spot (which is in line with the position of the sun) was a parhelion or sundog. Here the arc of light is seen reflected in the calm water of Island Bay. Some divers in the water, the rocky shore, and the island Taputeranga are all in silhouette as is the misty outline of distant mountains in the South Island. The arc of light appeared brighter than in the photo, and you can just see the characteristic reddish tinge on the inside.
The sun was low in the sky. It was too bright for me to try and photograph its position in relation to the arc of light. As the sun continued to set the halo was less evident and the colours of sunset started to take centre stage.
First a soft golden light contrasted with the rocky shore, coast road, and South Island in the distance.
Then the colours warmed up - pinks, apricots and gold, and the sky darkened - seen from a vantage point further from the beach.
But it didn't stop. A feature of high cloud is the way it captures colour after the sun has gone down - and sure enough, the wait was worthwhile. A fiery red was the finale.
Now I am accustomed to the idea that a red sky at night, "shepherd's delight", signifies good weather the next day. So I was surprised to read that high cloud like this, which colours red at sunset, can be a sign that the weather is going to deteriorate, that there may be an approaching front of a depression bringing rain in the next day.
Sure enough, mist and rain today. Oh well, it was lovely while it lasted!