That winter quality of light

People who brave winter in the North know what I’m talking about: the strangely bluish quality of cold air and golden flash of low-angled sunlight.  When we say we appreciate the change of seasons, this “quality of light” is almost always cited.

Yesterday we had our first measurable snowfall in Milwaukee.  All the neighbors on our street were out shoveling once the snow tapered off in the late afternoon.  As my family was finishing up, I glanced down the street and noticed how all the tree branches seemed gilded by the last rays of sunlight.

gilded tree branches

I quickly went inside for my phone, and naturally by the time I got back outside, the light had faded quite a bit.  Can you make out the color?  And I did get a few other nice photos.  Below is a picture of our birch, showing a hint of that golden color.


And the clouds in the sky seemed lit from below, which they actually were (sunset).

winter sunset

Today’s temperatures were bitter, about twenty degrees colder than yesterday.  Below is a photo of the same trees, facing west.  Although you can’t quite see the sun itself, which in real life could be seen as a hazy orb, you can still make out its chilly glow at center.  Brrrr!



About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
This entry was posted in Life, Milwaukee, Nature, Science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to That winter quality of light

  1. Like an Apple says:

    Yes! I know and love that light!


  2. mworfolk says:

    So do I! It’s lovely, and I never tire of it.

    I always feel a certain solidarity with other people who live in cold climates. I’m a transplant from a temperate city, but I have grown to love the north.


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