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Penticton skies

February 21, 2011

“Look up.  Look waaayyyyy up!”  A piece of advice from The Friendly Giant that we all should take to heart.  Penticton is well known for it’s lakes, orchards, vineyards, and parks, but it also has amazing skies.  In the summer, more often than not the sun is shining brightly, and the skies are blue, the lakes are blue, and the hills are blue – resulting in more than one song and a number of poems lauding the “blue Okanagan.”

In the winter, though, the blue skies are paler, and scattered fluffy white cloud cover, of moisture evaporated from the lakes below, often matches the white snow blanket on the hillsides and from time-to-time snow in the valley bottom as well.  On a typical winter day, the clouds, bits of blue sky, and glimpses of sunlight tussel with each other for their own moments of glory.

The majority of pictures on this post were all taken within a period of about one hour on a mid-afternoon in February, and illustrate the variety and beauty of Penticton’s winter skyscape.  A couple night shots segue into a half dozen early morning photos featuring thickly-quilted skies full of snow clouds which had moved in over-night from the Pacific, coating the earth with a fresh blanket of white.

The photos are self-explanatory for the most part, but a few questions have been asked.  In response:

– the final picture (which was actually taken with the other afternoon shots) is of a church steeple reaching up to touch the sun as it sinks toward the western horizon

– the “orange ball” in the early morning pictures is the famous “Penticton Peach” which sits on the shoreline of Okanagan Lake and in the summer is a popular spot to purchase a summer snack.  Peaches are a traditional orchard crop in the Penticton area, and give their name to the annual Penticton Peach Festival

– the odd-looking heap in the center of the third row is a pile of ploughed snow in a local parking lot.  Click on the photo to see it large-size (then click the “back arrow” at the top left of your screen to return to the post), and enjoy the amazing textures and shades of black and white – as well as the peek of the Penticton sky – in what most of us at first glance would see only as a dirty pile of old snow.

– the large dark circle in the middle photo on the 2nd row is a large helium-filled balloon that was wildly bouncing around in the blustery winter wind.  It took about 5 or 6 attempts to catch the balloon close to the center of the viewfinder!

– can you find the seagull sailing through the sky in one of the photos?  Even though Penticton is approximately a 5 hour drive from the Pacific Ocean, over the lofty Coast Range, through the Similkameen Valley, and down into the South Okanagan, seagulls have found their way to Penticton, and can be seen year-round winging their way overhead.

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