Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Unusual clouds

with 21 comments

The last unusual clouds you saw here were from Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta on September 3 of last year. Two days ago when we headed out to run a few errands, the atypical combination of clouds overhead caught our attention. Rather than go back home for a real camera, lazy me pulled over and used an iPhone.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

UPDATE: Unbeknownst to me at the time, the last of the several pictures I took included a jet plane. It appeared to be flying parallel to the prominent cloud, yet the airplane produced no contrails at all. The long white cloud remains a mystery.

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 6, 2018 at 4:36 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , , ,

21 Responses

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  1. The elongated cloud looks like the leaf-stalk of Rhus copallinum (winged sumac) or an elm tree seed. Changing perspective, it also reminds me of a galaxy, seen edge-on.

    shoreacres

    January 6, 2018 at 5:36 AM

    • As much as I’m used to thinking about native plants, your image of an edge-on galaxy comes much closer to home. While it’s not unusual for long, feathery clouds to develop from airplane contrails, the orientation in the sky of this one is a good 60° different from those usually formed by the prevailing winds here at airplane altitude.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2018 at 6:42 AM

  2. I wondered if it was a contrail. You seem to think not.

    Jim R

    January 6, 2018 at 7:12 AM

    • Well, it still may be, only the orientation is so different from the usual one. I wonder if the Arctic weather that came so far south temporarily altered the customary air currents.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2018 at 8:23 AM

    • I just added an update to this post: “Unbeknownst to me at the time, the last picture I took included a jet plane. It appeared to be flying parallel to the prominent cloud, yet the airplane produced no contrails at all. The long white cloud remains a mystery.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2018 at 8:45 AM

  3. The best camera is always the one you have with you.

    oneowner

    January 6, 2018 at 7:14 AM

    • How true! Sometimes I put my camera bag in the car even when I’m running local errands and don’t expect to take any pictures. This time I didn’t bring it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2018 at 8:48 AM

  4. Clouds are fascinating. And so is a cloudless blue sky which we had for the first time in weeks this morning. Unfortunately the dense grey stuff is creeping back in now and the wind is bitter!

    Heyjude

    January 6, 2018 at 9:35 AM

    • Ditto on cloud formations.

      As for the weather, bitter isn’t better. Sorry your blue sky didn’t last the day. The grey haunts Austin today, too, but the freezing has been gone since Thursday and the forecast calls for a high of 20°C tomorrow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2018 at 9:59 AM

  5. Dramatic sky…well captured, Steve!

    Indira

    January 6, 2018 at 10:59 AM

  6. It’s amazing what interesting things nature can do with just water vapor.

    Robert Parker

    January 6, 2018 at 4:20 PM

  7. That is a beautiful formation, Steve. If it is not a contrail, perhaps it is the edge of a weather front. Doesn’t seem to quite fit in with a “cloud street” formation.
    http://earthsky.org/earth/what-are-cloud-streets

    Lavinia Ross

    January 6, 2018 at 9:58 PM

    • I’d never heard of cloud streets. I agree with you that that doesn’t seem to be what this picture shows, which remains a mystery. Oh well, I’m glad to have seen it, whatever it was.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 6, 2018 at 11:30 PM

  8. Lazy old you did a great job with the iPhone. I’m a cloud girl … love ’em

    Julie@frogpondfarm

    January 10, 2018 at 5:29 PM


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