Saturday, 23 February 2013

Sky and Clouds

One of the oddities of this course is that it breaks down what feel to me like fairly standard techniques into individual projects. To avoid a simple box-ticking exercise I’ve tried to think about several different projects at once on shooting trips and gather the results into the relevant project headings afterwards. Sky and Cloud is a classic example. I regularly take photos in which the sky is a dominant feature – to be honest without really thinking about it beyond the idea that it feels right when I press the shutter. Here are a few examples I’ve taken during the progress of this course.

Sunrise over Skiddaw (v) This one has featured before – I think it’s altocumulus. Whatever – the structure is very dramatic.
PA217060.jpg These look like a form of cirrus to me. I think they normally form at the leading edge of a cold front and they’re a fairly frequent site in the skies over my neck of the woods
Clearing Winter Storm Over Windfarm By way of contrast these are either stratus or nimbus. I’m not really sure how you tell the difference, but both are a photographic challenge as they are flat and featureless. In this case the fact that I’m actually shooting into the sun has added some light to the horizon, and there is some evidence of rain or snow showers to add further texture.
Looking up Wasdale towards Yewbarrow and Great Gable Another hazarded guess – but in this shot we can see clouds in two layers – the higher white one and the darker lower ones in shadow. I think these are Altocumulus duplicatus – if I’m right that makes me a serious nerd. This doesn't quite meet the brief in terms of a low horizon, but I think it would be a less successful image if the sky were featureless – either white or blue – so I’ve included it here for good measure.
Waratah Bay, Victoria, Aus These appear to be fairly straightforward cumulus clouds. They popped up the morning after the storm front in the next image passed over.
Stormbringer My suspicion is that these are nimbus. It is as dramatic an example of a storm front as I have ever seen, and as close to my understanding of the meaning of sublime as I can get. It was distinctly un-nerving standing on the beach watching this roll in overhead, and the quantity of water it brought with it need to be seen to be believed.

I have to say that I find these isolated projects quite awkward. It’s essentially impossible to hold the fine detail of each and every exercise in my head every time I go out shooting, and so many of them seem like common sense.

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