June 29, 2017

Eye on the Trail: Telephoto Story – Cape Nome Mirage

Cindy Abbott arrived in Nome as the Red Lantern musher of Iditarod XLV. After leaving Safety, she like all the mushers made the long climb over Cape Nome then eventually drop onto the frozen Bering Sea. In this photo, Cape Nome is the backdrop as Cindy gets closer by the minute to the Burled Arch.

Cindy Abbott approaches Nome as Fata Morgana affects Cape Nome

The Cape has a surreal appearance. A layer of cold air is trapped at the surface by a layer of warmer air. Rays of light are distorted as they pass through air layers of drastically different temperatures. The usually substantial face of the Cape looks ethereal and distorted. The phenomenon is known as Fata Morgana.

Being opposite of what normally happens when cold air traps warmer air; Fata Morgana is sometimes referred to as a temperature inversion or cold weather inversion. These dreamlike scenes are commonly seen in Polar Regions over large areas of ice and are often witnessed during Iditarod as teams travel along the coast between Unalakleet and Nome.