When temperatures dip into the single digits - or better yet, below zero - it can create interesting conditions at the coastline. Sea steam (also known as sea smoke) forms when very cold air moves in over the warmer ocean water.
I was out of town at a trade show for a week early this month when New England experienced Midwest-style bitter cold. One night, it dipped to 7 below zero. Though I was happy to be enjoying mild weather in Las Vegas, I was also frustrated to be missing great opportunities to make early morning images featuring sea steam.
Upon my return, it had warmed up slightly - but forecasters were still calling for single digit lows my first night back in town. Could I be so lucky to find some steam the following morning?
The skies were mostly clear - not great news in terms of producing good color at daybreak. That said, there were some clouds in the vicinity of where the sun would later come up. Fingers crossed, I set out. When I arrived at the shore, it was completely clear above the water. No steam in any direction. Ten degrees might have made for brisk working conditions, but it wasn't cold enough to create sea steam. However, the sky was spectacular. Mother Nature served up something much better than what I'd thought I might find when I left the house in the early darkness.
Single DigitsThe sky and shoreline are painted with warm hues just before sunrise - making the frigid January morning, with temperatures dipping near zero, seem a little less icy. (Rye, New Hampshire)