As the sun dwindles to a smaller and smaller crescent, the surrounding landscape very gradually takes on a late–afternoon appearance. In the final minutes before totality, however, the changes in lighting become quite striking, and the skylight seems to diminish in stepped increments rather than with a smooth, gradual transition toward darkness.
The changing colors of the surrounding landscape and distant clouds can be quite striking as well, with yellows and oranges most often described. Nor do light intensity and color changes necessarily mirror themselves coming out of totality. Many describe the sun’s return as abrupt and the colors less pronounced or of different hues following totality, while others believe these perceptions to be more psychological in origin; certainly, further investigation is warranted.