Tag Archives: weather

Comparison of Cloud Formation and Development

I may be stuck in the house during work hours but the view out of the window doesn’t have to be totally ignored.  We have had a bunch of changeable weather recently and I have been shooting time lapses of the clouds.  The M6 works well for this but I have been using my fisheye lens on the M adaptor to get a wide view of what is going on out there.  It has proved to be interesting as a review the footage later.  Some of the skies have lots of activity while others don’t.

Sometimes we get the winds pulling the clouds across the sky but the overcast is thick and the lack of heat on the ground means that the clouds are pretty stable.  On other days we get almost constant development and dissipation of the clouds.  We are on a hill so we can get quite localized development around us.  Sometimes you have lower level clouds going one way and higher level clouds heading somewhere else.

I put together a video that includes a variety of clips from these time lapses to show how different things can be on different days (or even at different times of the same day!).

Stormy Chicago Sky Revisited

Living in the Midwest provided plenty of stormy weather days.  The way in which the storms could brew up on warm afternoons was really impressive.  I have always loved lightning and sometimes we got so much of it, you would stop paying attention.  One afternoon, there was a storm forecast to roll across the city.  I decided to head out to the planetarium since it has a great view of the city and I was hoping for lightning behind the skyline or maybe even on some of the high buildings.  I am not sure whether it is a thing but it seemed like the lightning would be more prevalent at the leading and trailing edges of the storm so I was hoping to get shots before the rain made it no fun to be outside.

Things didn’t work out quite as planned and there wasn’t the lightning I was hoping for.  However, I did get some amazing cloud formations rolling across the city.  Watching this come towards me, it was hard to recognize that this wasn’t some CGI on a movie but was actually heading my way.  It looked amazing.  It wasn’t long before I retreated to the car once the rain showed up.

On another occasion, I was flying in to Midway.  As we made the turn back towards the city after flying out over Lake Michigan, a really intense storm cell was sitting north of the city.  It came into view as we turned and I videoed it with my phone.  It was another beast of a storm, and it was probably rather damp underneath it.

Driving Across The Hills In The Snow

Our trip to Cannon Beach got delayed a day by snow on the hills which you have to cross to get to the Oregon coastline.  When we did make the crossing, not only were we properly equipped (as shall be seen in another post) but the weather was transformed.  The sun was out, and it looked picturesque.  The snow was still heavy on the trees and the hillsides while the road was compacted snow.  Consequently, it was white everywhere.  We were on a major road that would normally be traversed at speed but, due to the traction devices fitted, we were limited to 25mph.  It made the crossing pretty protracted, but it did provide ample time to look around and see the scenery – and the occasional vehicle off the road!

Stormy Arrivals and Go-Arounds

My trip to get the G600 on a rainy Saturday meant a little time to shoot some of the other arrivals.  The conditions were incredibly variable.  It was hammering down at some points and then sunny for a little while before raining again.  I shot a few jets twice as they got to the threshold before going around and having a second go at it.  The Alaska Cargo 737-700BCF was a lot better the second time.

One of the jets broke off the approach before it even got too close.  Looks like the crews were earning their checks that day.  As an aside, I had a tree fall a short distance from me while I was shooting these arrivals.  There was a loud cracking noise and then the tree gently fell to the ground.  First time I have seen that.

Rainbows Over Paine Field

A cloudy/rainy day in the Northwest can also coincide with a nicer evening.  This can bring some nice dark and stormy backgrounds for shots of planes with good light.  It does also mean that the background can have rain falling when the sun is out and that means rainbows.  The rain at Everett was a bit localized so we didn’t get a full rainbow.  Instead, I could see the two ends at the ground but no rainbow in between.  However, the one end was sitting right over Boeing’s ramp and it looked rather appealing.  Not sure whether the KC-46 at the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold, though.

Misty Morning In Index

During my time off, we made a trip across the Cascades.  It’s not uncommon to find it misty/foggy as we drive from home towards the mountains in the morning.  As you get a little higher, you come out of the mist but the clouds will still be hanging on the sides of the mountains.  We stopped off in the little town of Index for a quick break.  The town sits right under some large cliff faces making it a popular place to climb.

On this morning, climbing would have been a bit of a cold and damp affair but, as the day wore on, it would have been lovely I imagine.  I liked the morning, though, with the clouds swirling around the hillsides.  It looks at first as if the area is still with the mist hanging over everything but, if you pay attention, it is clear just how much the clouds are swirling around with ever changing areas exposed or covered.  It is quite entrancing.

Low Rainbow for Winter

The weather may have been highly variable for my visit to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, this did have a side benefit.  Lots of rain followed by sudden sun means a good chance of a rainbow.  That is exactly what we got.  The rainbow was very wide and flat which I assume is a function of the sun angle at this time of year.  It looked pretty unusual and very cool so I figured I would share it here!

Ferries in the Mist

The misty mornings at Orcas were not only pretty atmospheric to wake up to but they also could make for interesting shots of the ferries.  As the banks of fog rolled in and out, the boats could disappear and reappear.  As they backed out and spun around, they could be right on the edge of disappearing.  Since we were facing south, the whole scene was backlit which made it look even more interesting.

Clouds over Mt Rainier

On one of my days off – taken in order to get my PTO balance down – I headed out for some aviation exploration.  The weather on this day was not great but, since I had struck it lucky on some of my other days off, I guess the odds were bound to swing the other way at some point.  While it was cloudy in Seattle, looking south to Mt Rainier, the sun was out on the mountain.  That didn’t mean it was cloud free, though.  There was a lot of cloud forming over the summit as the wind blew through so I shot a few images to make a pano of the mountain.  It would have been a great day to fly around the mountain but sadly that wasn’t to be.

Lightning In Kansas

It’s been a while since my last visit to our friends in Kansas.  I need to get back and see them soon.  Our first visit there was a dramatic one.  We had gone to the movies to see War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise.  At the beginning of that, there is a scene of what looks like lightning striking but it repeatedly hits the same place.  In the film, that is noted as being unnatural.  As we left the theater and drove home, a storm started raging around us.  The lightning was striking frequently and seemed to be in the same places.  Uh oh!

We got home and stayed inside as the storm reached its peak.  I have always loved thunderstorms and this one was outstanding.  I watched the lightning striking around us constantly.  I decided to take some pictures.  Photographing lightning is normally tricky to do.  If it is dark, you can go for long exposures and hope to get the lightning in some of the shots.  If you have a lightning trigger, you can let it do the work.  In this case, you didn’t need either.  I just shot out of the window and the chances were that there would be some lightning in the shot.  It was crazy.  Here are a couple of shots looking out of a bedroom window!