Stopping to admire the sky "art"

Susan Manzke
Susan on her front porch taking a sunset photo with her cellphone.

Watching the clock, that’s what I do every afternoon. No, I don’t have scheduled work, well not exactly. The reason I keep check of the afternoon time of day is that I’m waiting for sunset so I can snap a photo.

If you are one of my Facebook friends, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting sunset photos for a few months now. I believe I started when our days were long and the sunset was at its farthest north on my Wisconsin horizon.

In the past, I’ve snapped photos of nice sunsets when it occurred to me to take out my camera. Otherwise, I would stop and just enjoy the colorful show in the sky. Oh, I’d share the view if it was spectacular, calling Bob’s attention to it, too—my husband appreciated a good sunset, even stopping work to admire the sky-art.

Now that I’m alone, I felt cheated, not being able to share this beauty with anyone. But then I started to post on Facebook and reactions flooded in and gave me something more to chat about.

Because my kitchen window faces west, I usually observe when the sun is going down. Since I started my sky photos around the summer solstice, and long daylight hours, I’ve noticed how the sun moves to the south and daylight hours shortened.

Many evenings, I’m at the kitchen table when I spot the sun coming in the window at a low angle. This reminds me that it’s time to look outside and gauge the best time for me to step out on my front porch and snap a photo. If I do this with my cell phone, I can immediately send a copy to my Facebook page. If I happen to be using my camera, it takes me a little longer as I have to remove the card from the camera, plug it into my computer, cue it up, and eventually paste it to Facebook.

I do love hearing from my Facebook friends as they tell me about their sunset, or lack of a colorful sunset because of clouds.

Sunset taken after Rebecca called.

One day, after I had posted a rather ordinary sunset photo, my daughter Rebecca called me. “Mom, go outside and look at the sunset now! It’s spectacular!”

I was so thankful for Rebecca’s call. The sky had changed dramatically since my first photo. Clouds were reflecting all kinds of color, even though the sun was far below the horizon. And it didn’t end there. The sky kept changing and changing, more beautiful by the minute—I posted three Facebook photos that evening, though I took more and have them in my camera and computer. It was a beautiful evening that needed sharing.

Since windows on the east side of my house are not as numerous, I don’t often see the sunrise. Sometimes, the sky turns too early for me.

The best place from my house for a sunrise photo is from the deck above my back porch. It takes a bit more planning to remember to look outside early. Often, the sunrise captures my attention when I’m taking Sunny outside for an early morning potty walk. Even then I don’t pay much attention to what the sun is doing as trees and buildings are in the way.

Sunset photo taken in September when the leaves were still on the trees.

Recently, as I walked Sunny, the sunrise caught my eye. Clouds were moving in fast and would soon obscure it, yet the dog didn’t seem to care. He continued to take his time with his morning constitutional. He finished just in time so I could race upstairs to get a nice sunrise photo.

My photos aren’t earthshaking, but I do feel lucky that I can share them with friends.

The Internet, YouTube, and Facebook keep me in touch with people who are far away, or around the corner. I do appreciate these modern inventions. Through them, I’m also able to share a reading of my column archives.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;