Let’s be cirrus for a moment.

My wife  and I decided to go out for a bike ride one evening after supper recently.  There were clouds in the west that looked a little threatening, but they were far away and we weren’t going very far.  We headed west up the road (read:towards the clouds) and turned south on a side road a kilometer from our home.  We agreed to go to the stop sign and back.  Watching the clouds to our right,  it seemed as if those black thunderheads had decided to race to see who would get to us first.  The corn field next to us began to whip into a frenzy,and a wall of rain approached us like a sheet of smoked glass.  We laughed nervously and turned around just as the large drops began to pelt us, the wind picked us up in itself, our bicycles speeding without our aid until we had to put our feet down and apply the breaks to slow down.  It was as if we had been transplanted into the Wizard of Oz.  We made it home safely, laughing and wet, someone had even stopped to see if we wanted a ride.

Where we live we are able to see the horizon from our back door, it’s wonderful to see a storm approaching from the south-west.  It seems the systems often come up the St. Lawrence from the great lakes region.  Many time this summer, perhaps due to the hot humid weather, my wife and I have been able to watch safely from our bedroom window as a storm passes in the south, long rolling thunder and sheet lightening.  Nothing else compares to the vastness and power of these great clouds hulking across the sky.

Driving her into work, my eldest daughter and I were trying to remember the different cloud types: cumulus, cirrus, nimbus.  The names were familiar but we couldn’t remember what they applied to.  A quick search online brought me to a site aimed at children which was appropriate.  The names are almost as beautiful as the clouds themselves.  Cirrocumuls or mackeral sky for the resemblance to fish scales, a thin layer high in the atmosphere.  Altostratus often cover the sky with a thin gauze allowing the sun to appear like a silver dollar.  Cumulonimbus tower high and bring thunderstorms.

I wanted to do a photo-study on clouds trying to capture that sense of awe one feels sometimes when we take the time.  Making sure that I gave a true representation, and not manipulating the images beyond their natural appearance, what I saw where beautiful silver fires, or sometimes I felt as if I were beneath the surf looking up at huge rolling waves, or a crack in a sheet of slate to reveal silver mountains, and we’ve all seen sunsets that as they recede blend colour and hue so much it’s difficult to give them names.  It’s amazing how in nature we rarely see colours together that don’t compliment one another easily in our eyes.  It’s as if it was naturally inherent in us to see the beauty in creation.

The last week or so, if you saw me driving, you’d have seen me looking up, with my head in the clouds.  I chose a few photos I took to share with you, click on the smaller images to enlarge them.  The sunset lasted forever, a group of cows watched as I stood with my tripod, my feet in the soy field.  On the last one I decided to leave the rain drop on the lens to give a sense of the approaching rain.


About Paul Miller

Father of six Husband of one Son of two Brother of three Friend of ... a few?
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3 Responses to Let’s be cirrus for a moment.

  1. Tim says:

    These pics and your post remind me of a brief experiment I did when I was younger. Every morning I would photograph the sunrise and every evening I would photograph the sunset. It lasted a whole two weeks before I got bored and stopped! But it was long enough to know that what people say is very much true, each one is very different. It’s much more readily apparent when you look at a photograph than just staring at the sunrise/sunset.

    I like the second last one. Reminds me of northern Britain. As an aside, a lot of British relatives have told me Manitoulin countryside reminds them of Britain.

  2. Paul Miller says:

    Don’t you wish we had more discipline for experiments like that, like the guy who photographed his face everyday for a year or so. I’m sure there would be all sorts of cool things to do. Any suggestions?

  3. Tim says:

    Nothing comes to mind but you might some inspiration/ideas here: http://vi.sualize.us/

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