I Saw God Today

The light in the desert can play tricks on you. Make you see things that aren’t really there. After a morning of landscape photography, Jack and I were driving north through Big Bend National Park to the Persimmon Gap ranger station. We pulled over for a quick shot of the long park road running east into the distance and I noticed a “halo” around the sun.

Looking up, I honestly thought it was just a trick of the light; of the clouds and smoke from the recent wildfires. It never really occurred to me that the atmospheric conditions would be just right to form not one, but two distinct “halos” around the midday sun. Still not believing what my eyes were telling me, I quickly turned my camera straight up and took several shots, trying to center the sun and halos in the frame.

I’m still not sure what caused this incredible effect but I swear to the Lord that this image is completely untouched, except for adjusting the exposure in Adobe Lightroom 3.

I think I saw God that day!

I Saw God Today

Desert Halo – Big Bend National Park, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1/1000th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

22 thoughts on “I Saw God Today

  1. Jeff

    Lovely image. There is indeeed something spiritual about photography…


  2. This looks like the fairly common 22 degree halo; it’s even more common in colder climates. But ground temperature has little or nothing to do with it: ice crystals in cirrus clouds are located high in the atmosphere, where temperatures can be very cold.

    Tons more info here:
    (see especially “ice halos”)

    Also: sharpening (especially using USM) may make the image less appealing (especially if done to a high degree) but may bring out extra halos/features, so feel free to play around.

    If you notice any sort of atmospheric optic (halo, sundog, etc.), look around; there may be more. (I don’t need to tell you this; this is more for your readers): This is a great reason to have a camera at all times.

      • Ok, some more information about Halo’s, which has been taken from the book. I assume chapter 6 in English is called Ice and Light:
        A person called William Perry sketched several Halo’s and other effects during winter time 1819/20 at the coast of Melville-Island.
        All these effects can be seen individually or combined in the arctic. There are a 22° and 46° Halo. There’s also the term parhelic arc, which defines positions of additional mock suns at the 22° Halo. These phenomena can be explained using the mechanic of waves.
        As far as I understand Halo’s also appear at full moon…
        Fascinating at least!

  3. Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork .

    Just one of the reasons I got into photography.


  4. Jeff, Dan is right. The halo is a result of reflection and refraction of light by ice crystals in the upper troposphere. That is 3-6 miles above the surface of the Earth. With some standard assumptions (5.4F drop every 1,000ft), if its 90F in the desert where you were, it would be 5F up there.. plenty cold for ice crystals.

    Halo (optical phenomenon)

    Cool shot!

  5. Jeff,
    I see Him every time I get outdoors to shoot. I’ve never seen a halo like that, but sometimes it is dramatic. Other times it is much more simple, but He is still there.

  6. Ice crystals in the upper atmosphere… Great shot! You even picked up a little color.
    I’ve seen a moon halo and thought in was seeing things too…

    • Dan,

      Thanks for reading and for the kind words. I doubt it was ice crystals in the atmosphere that caused the double-halo since the temperature in the desert was over 90F.


Comments are closed.