A Columbia Basin Sunset through a Winter Inversion

A Pentax 67 camera and a 300 mm lens were used to capture this sunset sequence.  The sequence shows the distorted sun and clouds as they move through a very strong temperature inversion intrenched over the Columbia Basin of Oregon. The images were taken at the westbound viewpoint along I-80 atop Cabbage Hill. This vantage point offered a birds-eye view of atmospheric phenomenon as the sun and clouds "penetrated" the strong inversion.
Distorted sunset

Distorted sunset

In the image above, I like how the clouds have taken the shape of a hand. This "Sol Hand" appears to be reaching into "space".

Distorted sunset

Distorted sunset

Distorted sunset

Distorted sunset

In the above inset, there appears to a mirage of layers due to the camera's line of site passing through the strong inversion near the surface.  I've never seen such finely layered clouds.  The "blocky" characteristic of the cloud looks unnatural too.

Image(s) may not be used or reproduced without written permission from Thomas W. Earle. Copyright © 2005.