Spotted a sundog last Wednesday (September 26), about an hour(?) before sunset.

Sun and sundog above freeway

At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was, given the positioning, the brightness, and the reddish coloring on the end nearest the sun. The sharp edges of the reflecting cloud (a fragment of a contrail?) make it look a bit odd, though, like someone cut out a chunk of sunlight and pasted it into the sky.

Here’s a closer view from about a minute later.

Sundog next to a tower.

I was following my usual photo-while driving method of pointing the camera in roughly the right direction, click the button a bunch of times, and hope a few shots come out. (Hooray for digital cameras, where you can delete a bad photo instead of wasting film!)

Here are a couple of photos, one just before sunset, the other just after, over the past month.

First up is a twilight view of South Coast Plaza. On Friday the 13th, we went to the nearest Borders to pick up The End of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events and Neil Gaiman’s new short story collection, Fragile Things. We ended up crossing the bridge over to the main section of the mall, turned around, and saw an amazing twilight display with clouds silhouetted against the blue.

We stopped to take pictures. We weren’t the only ones.

Twilight sky above the South Coast Plaza annex.

Perhaps an hour later, the rainstorm arrived.

Next up is from this past Monday, October 23. I was driving up the 405 after work and noticed that there were some feathery clouds in the right area, so I started looking for sundogs. Normally I don’t find anything. It’s Southern California, after all, so the right conditions are relatively rare. (Though occasionally I see something spectacular like the full halo I caught in February.)

To my surprise, I saw a faint bright spot in the clouds, level with and to the right of the sun. It got brighter over the course of my drive, with hints of red, orange and yellow creeping in on the sunward side: a classic sundog. Once I got onto city streets, I had a chance to stop and take a picture.

Picture of a sundog (October 23, 2006)