Friday, May 28, 2010

Sky Friday - Cumulus, Rising

Today's post is somewhat inspired by some photos actually taken this past Wednesday in my neighborhood.  It was a hot day by coastal CT standards - 87 degrees - and a bit muggy.  In the morning, not a cloud was to be found.  However, those conditions are also what can result in impromptu, rapidly-forming and localized clouds and storm cells.  In the mid-summer in southwestern AZ, this results in monsoon storms.  Out here on the east coast, there is no "monsoon season"; the occasional afternoon like this past Wed. is as close as it gets to the monsoon-type storms that I'm accustomed to.

In my photo collection, I have several images taken that capture the precursor to a raincloud - the cumulus congestus - as it rises up from the landscape.  The evaporation of water from the earth, rise in the warm air and rapid condensation as the vapor hits the cooler air higher in the sky form this cloud type.   First humilis - small, scattered with tattered edges; then mediocris - wider than they are tall, which can then lead to congestus - taller than they are wide, with exuberant, cauliflower-like shapes.  These form large, billowing towers, producing a showy spectacle in the sky that turns heads, but before they metamorphose into the terminal grandeur of a cumulonimbus.

As opposed to the majority of clouds I photograph, these are unique in that they don't represent the full cloud; instead, the base is obscured by the more proximal elements of the landscape - mountains, trees or buildings.  Usually, that's obligated by location limitations at the time the photo was taken, rather than intent.  However, for some of these shots, particularly those taken back in AZ, there is a sense of drama from the cloud only partially seen.

Photos are shown in order of most recent to oldest.  All different times and locations.


Cumulus Rising #1:  Judson Ave. Sunset
Location:  Mystic, May 26,  ~7:55 p.m. EST

Cumulus Rising #2: Judson Ave. 
Location:  Mystic, May 26, ~5:30 p.m. EST

Cumulus Rising #3: Judson Ave.
Location:  Mystic, April 22, 2:46 p.m. EST

Cumulus Rising #4: Mule Mtn. Sunset
Location:  Swan Rd., south of Mule Mtns, March 6, 7:29 p.m. MST

Cumulus Rising #5:  San Pedro River
Location:  Charleston Rd, March 6, 4:26 p.m. MST

Cumulus Rising #6:  Jonquil Hotel
Location:  Courtyard hillside, January 14, 1:19 p.m. MST


  1. WOW! These photos stun me. The first two especially--can feel the absolute raw power. Great job!

  2. Thanks, Jala! That first photo, of the sunset congestus, was enough to draw people in the neighborhood out with their cameras, it was that spectacular . A friend was out on his boat in the Sound at the time, and got to see the entire cloud from the water. I was envious :).

  3. I had to come look at these again. They look like atom bomb detonations! Wowwww.

  4. They do, don't they? I've really never seen anything quite like them - here or anywhere. Esp. as solo acts.

    If you click on the second (afternoon) photo, you'll see a small black object along the left lower edge of the cloud: that's an airplane, just to give an additional sense of scale. It's just insane.


Your thoughtful comments add value to this blog - thank you so much for taking the time to leave them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...