By Stephanie Mora
By Stephanie Mora
Cumulus Clouds over Denver on August 30th 6:00 pm. Facing East Unstable atmosphere
Clouds. We see them every day. Until this class I never realized how interesting and beautiful clouds can be. I always found myself looking up trying to figure out more and more about where these very impressive. I spent a lot of time looking for the right clouds and something that was new and different. This seems appealing at first but what about the clouds we see every day? This is the scenario I was looking at. I was on the way to a restaurant and pulled over on the side of the road to take pictures. I took them overlooking the highway and there were a lot of light poles in the way and had to edit those out in post processing. There are so many interesting things that go in the physics of clouds. We learned a lot about these in class and we will go into this in a little more detail in the following paragraphs.
To take this photo I was literally on the side of the highway taking images through lots of street lamps and such. My camera is a Canon 7D with a 18-135 mm lens. I can’t tell how much the lens was actually zoomed but the other information is readily available. It was a bright day so I set the ISO at 200. The f-stop was 8 and the shutter speed was 1/1600. All of these settings show that it was extremely bright outside this day. These pictures are quite a bit easier to take than darker images in my opinion. It seems like no matter how much I change the settings on my camera sometimes in certain light settings the picture never turns out well.
You can learn a lot about the clouds you are taking pictures of by looking at a few simple plots from the University of Wyoming’s weather site. You pick your location and it gives you a plot with a lot of different information. The main number we look at is the cape number. This picture was taken facing east from about us-36 and mcCaslin Bouldevard which is just slightly south east of Boulder Colorado. The cape number on my date, August 30th, 2016, is 157.1 which is well above the limit for having a stable atmosphere. Unstable atmospheres are what allow giant cumulus clouds to be formed. The differences in densities of different layers of air let the less dense air rise up while carrying moisture, which condenses and becomes there towering cumulus like we see here. These may be in the more developed stage of towering cumulus but all the same they are towering cumulus. They are very beautiful clouds with many different curls and lumps. There are assorted clouds in front of the towering cumulus that give the picture some good contrast and I especially like the dark spots beneath the clouds which are very interesting to me as well.
Overall, I was taught a lot in this assignment. Knowledge about clouds, the fact that cumulus clouds don’t appear in the winter, to where to go if you want information about weather patterns and information on atmospheric data. I very much enjoyed going out on trips with friends from class and taking pictures of clouds and just finding random times in between to take pictures. Who would’ve known that the picture that ended up being the one that was randomly taken on a trip to a restaurant? In conclusion, this assignment taught me very much and the opportunity to take pictures and learn how I can make them better is very much appreciated.
A photo of the clouds that had formed in an unstable atmosphere at sunset on September 1st at approximately 7:30 PM.
The report for this image can be found here.
The skew-T diagram for the morning the photo was taken.
The report for this can be found here.
A time-lapse taken September 4th facing the Front Range north of Colorado Springs. 1,672 pictures were taken from 10:20 AM to 12:40 PM and played back at 30 FPS. Cumulus clouds are shown building in a stable atmosphere over the mountains. Royalty Free Music from Bensound.
Cumulus clouds developing behind Vazquez Ridge in Grand County, CO. Taken September 16th 2016 at 5:54 PM.