Summer begins today.  The sun must have gotten the memo because it woke up hot.  The first rays that streamed through the eastern trees already had the intensity and heat of midday.  When the day starts out this way, it’s easy to believe that the temperature will reach the 90s by noon.

To commemorate the longest day of the year, I set up my camera to do an exposure study of the solar panels (on the roof) and the vegetable garden.  Every hour between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, I snapped a photo from the same two locations to record the movement of the sun across our house and yard (there is very little change between sunrise and 8:00 am or after 6:00 pm until sunset).  Taken together, the photos create an ultra-time-lapsed video of the day’s passage and give me a good idea of its effective length.  Luckily, the weather today was clear (at 6:00 pm, I had to wait a few minutes for a stray cloud to pass).

The photo evidence quantified what I have been observing anecdotally.  The east planter comes into full sun at around 9:00 am and remains there until about 5:00 pm, a traditional work day.  The west planter’s day is roughly the same length—perhaps a bit shorter—but starts and ends an hour or so earlier than the east planter’s.  It makes for seven to eight hours of direct sun.  A longer exposure would be better but it is good enough for this year.  We will consider, however, removing two of the maples to the west, just beyond the deep end of the pool.  This would provide easily another hour of sunlight on both planters and the solar panels as well.