Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Skies - AZ-style

At the moment, I'm sitting in an outdoor cafe, enjoying picture-perfect weather in the mid-60's, sunny with bright blue skies.  It just doesn't get any better than this in mid-December (at least for me!).  However, less than a week ago, we had a winter storm blow through that produced some very unique cloud formations.  I had made plans to go on a photoshoot with a local artist I recently met, and since it wasn't raining, we proceeded with that plan.  On the way to his house, I stopped and took some photos along the side of the road.  Our trip took us out to the east side of the Dragoon Mtns, location of Cochise Stronghold, and due west of the Chiricauha National Monument.  Photos I shot in the mountains were unremarkable due to the poor lighting, but the area itself is worthy of revisit in better weather and in morning sun. 

Here are some of the photos taken from this past Sunday.  It was a windy, cold day, which is what resulted in these unique cloud formations.  I suspect they are variations of lenticular clouds - the "flying saucer" type that is frequently seen capping mountains.  I've never seen anything quite like them before; I hope you enjoy them.  I often take photos for the purpose of using them as a reference for future paintings.  However, there are times when something is best left as a photo due its odd features that would not translate to a believable (or aesthetically pleasing) painting.  These photos are examples of that. 

Scalloped Cloud Set
These clouds, seen off of Double Adobe Rd, are to the southwest, and are over Mexico.

Calling the Mothership
This shot, taken at 55mm zoom, shows the detail of this large cloud that hovers above the Mule Mtns. that surround Bisbee

Approaching from the North
These light-colored cloud stacks are seen in a northeastern direction off of Double Adobe Rd.

Cloud line from Cochise Stronghold
This tiered set of clouds gives a sense of depth of the sky when viewed from the eastern slope of the Dragoon Mtns.

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