05 August 2010

Skywatch Friday: Big Sky Pot of Gold

Though a diverse little city of immigrants, Butte Montana was always dominated by a mythic sense of Irish culture. Blame it on the wee Leprechaun that stowed away in the pocket of Marcus Daly, made him a rich Copper King, and went about hiding pots of gold throughout the hills of southwest Montana. I live in Walkerville, the old town on the hill above Butte. Walkerville's original name was "Rainbow"-- very appropriate, given this recent view from my front porch:

Rainbows, like the one above, are best when they come at sunset as the low sun creates a high rainbow arc. Butte/Walkerville is well situated for rainbows: storms move up the low Clark Fork River valley from the west, pass over the town, and then dump a rainshower as they move eastward surmounting the cool air of the Continental Divide that borders our city. The clear, dry mountain air makes for discrete summer storm cells that, once over us, allow the sun to slip in under from the clear skies to the west. If the western sky isn't clear, then even if we don't get a rainbow we'll have a pretty sunset:

Two storm cells moved over the town before the one producing the high, bright rainbow pictured above. The first was a typical, faint, low-angle, mid-day rainbow. The second (late-afternoon) made a nice higher-angle rainbow--actually a bunch of them. Obviously a double, but also with a faint additional "reversed" rainbow below each of the main two:

If you look closely at this pic stitched to form a full panorama, you'll notice a small white dot on the right near where the rainbow touches the East Ridge:

Zoom in with binoculars, and you see the 90-foot tall statue, "Our Lady of the Rockies," officially "the Blessed Virgin Mary, a tribute to mothers everywhere." AKA the Earth Mother Goddess. Seems the Leprechaun planted a pot of gold under her skirts. Good place to begin looking, I should think:

With Montana's warm summer sun and low humidity, "whatever comes down must go up." Sure enough, early next day, the morning sun raised a fog from the previous day's well-watered Earth (that's an old mining headrame -- aka "gallows frame" at the lower right):

Butte America: there might not be much material wealth left here, but the beauty of the place is certainly pure gold.

20 comments:

sandy, from gardenpath said...

These are wonderful shots. I see Mary in the circle shot really well. Looks like she survived the rainbow! I didn't know that Montana had low humidity. That is one of the reasons we are going to retire in New Mexico.

Did you go looking for gold?

Shey said...

The rainbow is pure gold by itself. It's so beautiful, I can easily believe it's magical. You're lucky to live in this wonderful place. :)

Sylvia K said...

A magical rainbow indeed! And you do live in a beautiful place -- I know from personal experience! Love your captures as always! Thanks for your visit! And I've always wanted to lift the Liberty Ladies skirt, now I know why! Have a great weekend!

Sylvia

Tricia said...

Nicely captured!

Happy Sky Watch Friday!

EG Wow said...

WHOA! Not only did you capture ONE rainbow but you also caught TWO! Can you hear the jealousy coming through my comment?

BraCom (Bram) said...

Beautiful sky photos, beautiful rainbows

Have a nice weekend, Bram

seen on Sky Watch Friday

Bill S. said...

Beautiful pictures. I also love to fly fish. I love to fly fish lakes for the big ones.

Manang Kim said...

OMG, this is my favorite rainbow pictures so far. Very vivid just magnificent. Happy Friday!

SkyWatchFriday

Janie said...

I have to agree that the beauty of your landscape is Butte's pot of gold.
Your many rainbows are amazing! Great photos.

Maria said...

These photos are a treat for the eyes... what great rainbow shots... love the zoom-in on Our Lady of the Rockies! I like the creative touch you added to that one!
As always, your commentary is so well done~
wishing you a wonderful weekend! and Best Wishes to Emily and her new beginnings in Oregon!

~Maria

Julie said...

Golly that is one of the more intense rainbows that I have ever seen. And intense for the fullness of its curve. Grand choice for Skywatch.

J Bar said...

Great shots.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Ann said...

what a great collection of rainbow. You must be rich with all the pots of gold you found.

Your first photo had been teleported to Auckland , New Zealand. and came to my water spout. It even left the gold at the same place, under a tree. LOL

http://ann-mythoughtsandphotos.blogspot.com/2010/07/skywatch-friday-rainbow.html

~ Sheepheads said...

Great photos ER!

fini said...

I can never get to snap rainbow's beauty like this..You done it perfectly!! Stunning images indeed!!

secret agent woman said...

I love rainbows, especially when they are doubled. Beautiful.

Mari said...

Wonderful shots! Th rainbow i spure magic, especially your photo at the top. It's breath taking to see a rainbow that sharp.
Have a great weekend.

Spiderdama said...

Wonderful rainbow! So clear. Great shot for skywatch:-)

ascu75 aka Don said...

I love rainbows, nice set of piccies thanks for sharing. XXX Don

Sean E said...

Awesome rainbows Pat!