Sunbow from Hurricane Sandy

Sunbow from Hurricane Sandy, Prince William County, Virginia

Sunbow from outer bands of Hurricane Sandy

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Sunbow from Hurricane Sandy

On Saturday I made one last trip to capture what was left of the fall colors before the Mid-Atlantic and points north were hit by Hurricane Sandy.  As I was driving through the back roads of Northern Virginia there was an incredible sight which I have never experienced before.  Surrounding the sun was a complete ring.  Even then, over 3 days before the eye of the storm was scheduled to make landfall, the effects were already beginning to be seen.  This ring is known as a sunbow.  It had formed as the sunlight was reflecting in the ice crystals in the cirrus clouds of the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy.  At the time this was taken I was probably over 700 miles from the eye of the storm which gives you an idea just how large Sandy really is.

To capture this shot I needed to find a large open space but with some trees on the edge to anchor the image.  It is taken with a 10-20mm lens at about 16mm, which with my D300S and the 1.5 multiplier from the DX sensor, is the equivalent of a 24mm lens.  Not only is the storm incredibly large, but so was this sunbow.  The shot is almost straight out of the camera with just a slight increase in contrast in Lightroom.


  1. That is so cool Mark. Never heard of a sunbow before. Nice shot. Keep safe.

  2. Mark Neal

    Quite an interesting shot, Mark. I like how these unplanned shots just seem to happen sometimes. Nice one!

  3. Nice shot and I am so glad you got this, Mark.

    Thanks for clearing this up. I actually took this same image, Saturday night just before midnight. I had never seen anything like it before and called it a halo around the moon, for lack of truly knowing what it was.

    Since it was dark, what mainly stood out was the outer ring and a few stars. I’ll post my version soon.

    By the way, I was near the Pennsylvania border, which is some 200 miles north of the Northern Neck peninsula. I know that area like the back of my hand, it’s one of my hangouts. Where exactly were you?

    • Jimi, I was not on the Northern Neck. I was a little south of Manassas close to the border of Prince William and Fauquier Counties.

      • I must have had Northern Neck on my mind and misread this. 🙂 Still, this shows just how massive this sunbow was. Pretty impressive. If I ever see another one, I will at least know what it is then.

        Nice work, man.

  4. nice one Mark, stay safe out there!

  5. Wow this storm is throwing up some great pictures. Not all genuine like this one! Hope you ride it out safely Mark!

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