As the Storm Moves In

Brilliant Arizona Skies

 

Writer Amanda Christmann
Photographer Saija Lehtonen

If we ever were to forget exactly why we chose to live in the desert Southwest, all we need to do is look up. Every morning and evening, no matter if it’s in the dead of summer or the glory of Arizona winter, we’re treated to the kind of postcard skies that steal our breath and make us forget the world around us, if just for a moment.

In their golden hours, Arizona skies are heart-stopping and stunning, and there is likely not a one of us who hasn’t found ourselves struck by the beauty of their brilliant oranges framed by purple mountains.

Photographer Saija Lehtonen, a Chandler resident originally from Helsinki, Finland, is one of the best we’ve found at capturing these stories through photography. We hope you enjoy her work as much as we do!

“If you have a love for photography, then pursue it. Get out at least once a day and take some shots. You will develop your own creative eye and begin to see things differently. To me creating your own style is the most important thing. The technical aspects of photography will fall into place with time and practice.”

Inspiration

“My original inspiration was to capture the beauty of the world around me with my camera and share it. As I grew as a photographer, I wanted to capture those special and beautiful moments that so often get overlooked in our busy lives these days.

“I find my peace and solitude out in nature, whether it be Mother Nature’s beautiful scenery or wildlife that we share this world with. I am always exploring to see what I can find.” Saija Lehtonen

If we ever were to forget exactly why we chose to live in the desert Southwest, all we need to do is look up. Every morning and evening, no matter if it’s in the dead of summer or the glory of Arizona winter, we’re treated to the kind of postcard skies that steal our breath and make us forget the world around us, if just for a moment.

In their golden hours, Arizona skies are heart-stopping and stunning, and there is likely not a one of us who hasn’t found ourselves struck by the beauty of their brilliant oranges framed by purple mountains.

Photographer Saija Lehtonen, a Chandler resident originally from Helsinki, Finland, is one of the best we’ve found at capturing these stories through photography. We hope you enjoy her work as much as we do!

“If you have a love for photography, then pursue it. Get out at least once a day and take some shots. You will develop your own creative eye and begin to see things differently. To me creating your own style is the most important thing. The technical aspects of photography will fall into place with time and practice.”

Why are Arizona Sunrises and Sunsets so Brilliant?

The science-y explanation for our amazing sky shows is all about the wavelengths of light. Violets, blues and greens have short wavelengths and are on one end of the spectrum of light; oranges, yellows and reds are on the other end with long wavelengths.

In order for light to be seen, it has to pass through atmospheric molecules. Short wavelengths of light—those purples, blues and greens—have a harder time passing through the molecules. They tend to scatter before we see them. Longer wavelengths of light—the oranges and reds—make it through, turning otherwise ordinary skies into fire-filled heavens of wonder.

At times of day when the sun is low in the sky, light has significantly more particles to pass through than it does, say, at noon. Here in Arizona, pollution and humidity don’t dull the colors like they do in other parts of the country, so what we see is especially bright.

What does influence the color of our sunrises and sunsets is dust in the air from the desert landscape: the dust filters out some of the shorter-wavelength yellow light, leaving us with more oranges and reds.

Below those gorgeous skies, light tends to reflect from our desert mountains, turning them shades of purple and pink. That means we get an even more spectacular show each day.

About the Photographer

Saija Lehtonen

About the Photographer

“The shutterbug first bit me when I was 12 years old, when I saw my first Ansel Adams book. I started with a very inexpensive Kodak film camera. My family is full of artists from professional musicians to dancers, so it was inevitable that I would also find my niche in the arts.

“I actually started out drawing and painting before getting into photography, having my first drawing published at age 6 in a book in Finland.

“My family has always been my biggest supporter when it came to my art endeavors. The last several years, my boyfriend has helped me to pursue my photography full time and follow my dream. For that I am so grateful.”

saija-lehtonen.pixels.com

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