Yes, this is a crappy image, even by my standards, but I include it for two distinct reasons. The first is, my Sunrise/Sunset folder (which we have now reached in the lineup) had way too few images in it for a long time, and this is one of only a handful from back in that time period – the next one will be better, I promise, but taken well after this one.
The second reason is, this was taken June 8, 2004, and that sunlight is slightly reduced from what it normally was – no, I mean even without the clouds, everywhere on Earth regardless. That’s because this was taken during the first transit of Venus in the past century, and I was out in the hopes that I might get something usable – as you can see, the weather was uncooperative. I waited a bit in case the clouds might clear, but never even got a glimpse of the sun. About ten minutes after this was taken, I shot the daytime moon photo that appeared in the previous Ancient Lore post, using the telescope that might have come in handy had Venus actually been visible.
No, that shadow in the sunbeam across the cloud bank did not come from Venus – I thought of that too, initially, but the little spot of Venus against the sun wouldn’t throw any shadow at all, unless there was a mere sliver of sunlight no wider than Venus showing through the clouds; otherwise the light from the surrounding portions of the sun would simply overwhelm it. What you’re seeing is just the shadow of a cloud ‘peak’ somewhere further off.
There is the barest hint of fartistic merit from the tree emulating the cloud bank, with the sunbeam stretching there from the corner, but that’s not enough to rescue the image. I include it only as trivia.