Marco Gardi: Clouds First 10/3/16

Marco Gardi: Clouds First 10/3/16

 

Unstable atmosphere over the front range. Foehn Cloud wall, cumuli, and possible mountain wave in the top right corner.

I took this image for the Clouds 1 assignment on October 3rd 2016. I chose North Boulder as my location because it is a fairly open area with a good view of the North foothills extending up to Lyons, and the Flatirons to the South. The time was around 6 PM, right before the sun set, allowing enough light to capture clouds without having to use high ISO or wide apertures. My goal was to capture a variety of clouds forming as wind blew over the foothills.

There are primarily two types of clouds in the image. The biggest is a large narrow cloud extending diagonally in the image, parallel to the foothills. I initially classified this cloud as a Foehn cloud wall; however, the cloud in my image is not in contact with the mountains so it is more likely a vertically developing mountain wave cloud. In the top right corner of the image some ripples are visible that support this classification; mountain wave clouds typically develop the characteristic ripples as moisture condenses at the peaks in the oscillating air flow (NWS 2011). The second predominant type of cloud in the image are small cumulus clouds which form at lower elevation than the mountain wave cloud, as air flows over the foothills. The base of these small clouds is relatively flat and they develop vertically. According to the skew-T plot recorded on the evening of October 3rd the atmosphere was fairly stable. The CAPE value is below 10 and the vessel’s temperature profile stays just to the left of the surround air’s profile; this indicates that the air parcel’s temperature stays lower than its surroundings’ and will not buoyantly rise. In the image the large wave clouds appear to be forming at around 18,000 feet; the skew-T confirms this indicating a cloud base at 592 millibar (LCLP) or about 16,000 feet.

I took my clouds 1 image with a Nikon D3100 and a 35mm prime lens. I was shooting at 1/100,  F7.1, ISO 100 which produced an image well resolved in space and time. I estimate that my distance from the foothills was 3 miles and given the direction I was facing, my distance from the clouds was about 4-5 miles. The only adjustment I made to the image in post processing was some contrast enhancement through a curves layer in photoshop to bring out a little more detail in the clouds.

References:

Reynolds, James. The Hidden Dangers of Mountain Wave Turbulence. NWS, 2011, http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/aviation/front/11nov-front.pdf

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26 Comments. Leave new

  • Michael Lloyd
    Oct 30, 2016 14:49

    Good focus along the ridgeline which would be an easy place to go wrong. Good contrast in the clouds.

    Reply
  • Schuyler Vandersluis
    Oct 24, 2016 12:30

    The color and focus in this are awesome! I like the clarity in the clouds

    Reply
  • Sierra Castillo
    Oct 17, 2016 13:02

    The detail visible is amazing. I love the colors and the different types of clouds. It’s very clear what time of day the image was taken. I feel like I’m there.

    Reply
  • Marcus Gurule
    Oct 16, 2016 20:14

    Super sharp photo! The technique that was used to capture this photo was spot on Great work!

    Reply
  • Joseph Straccia
    Oct 13, 2016 07:55

    Interesting sky. It looks to me like there are three different types of clouds at three levels although it’s a little hard to be certain of the layering on the right side of the image. The clouds which look highest appear to have an undulatus shape. The different shades of yellow in the clouds is nice and I like the land in the spot where you decided to take your photo. Just the right amount of mountain for this photo.

    Reply
  • Alexander Thompson
    Oct 12, 2016 18:17

    I like the low clouds (look like stratocumulus to me) with a second layer of clouds at a very high elevation. The high clouds are very smooth and have a slight rippling effect. You also have captured the sun’s rays diffracting through the atmosphere at different angles, changing the color on the clouds at different heights. The high clouds are a brighter yellow, nearly white still, compared to the gold on the edges of the low clouds. Everything seems to be in good focus, grate job capturing this image!

    Reply
  • Preston Marcoux
    Oct 12, 2016 13:59

    I like the appearance of the clouds that are higher in the atmosphere. The contrast looks good and the lower clouds look awesome as they collect the suns rays.

    Reply
  • Daniel Baker
    Oct 12, 2016 12:44

    The visual presentation in this photo is extremely blissful and happy. I enjoy seeing the clouds rise at an angle rather being flat; it gives more diversity for the person to look at. The smaller clouds give the larger latitudinal cloud a sense of scale as it spreads across the landscape. With that said, it makes the image appeal to people who can sense the grandeur of the clouds coming over the horizon. What I really appreciate is how the top layer bleeds into the atmosphere as if the cloud itself is an extension of the sky. As for artistic merit, I love the way the image becomes more and more detailed the longer you look at it. There are so many minor details towards the bottom half of the screen, and they do not detract from the image in any way.

    Reply
  • Katherine Yarnell
    Oct 12, 2016 12:42

    Really great focus. The photograph is crisp and clear. Like all the different clouds that are present in the photograph.

    Reply
  • Kate Gresh
    Oct 12, 2016 12:27

    1. The image is wonderfully dramatic in composition with the vertical lines of the clouds.
    2. The flow is well demonstrated.
    3. The photo technique is fabulous and the exposure showing details of the shadows and highlights is great.

    Reply
  • Jason Savath
    Oct 12, 2016 12:16

    Amazing range of colors and different types of clouds.great definition provides this great image. Beautiful

    Reply
  • Zachary Cymanski
    Oct 12, 2016 12:13

    Very crisp image of the lower clouds with the sun reflecting off the sides. I really like the thick top cloud much higher than the lower clouds. There seems to be a lot of “space at the top-right/top of the image that maybe could be cropped out.

    Reply
  • Stephanie Mora
    Oct 12, 2016 12:11

    Awesome picture! Love the contrast between the long, light flat cloud and the darker puffier clouds. The mountains frame the whole image really nicely. The photo quality is clear and beautiful!

    Reply
  • Mark Noel
    Oct 12, 2016 12:10

    I love this image! great contrast and a variety of clouds. I may have looked cool to have a blacked out foreground

    Reply
  • Ryan Daniel
    Oct 12, 2016 12:10

    Really nice visualization of mountain wave clouds. Like the colors from the the sunset touching the bottom of the clouds.

    Reply
  • Peter Brunsgaard
    Oct 12, 2016 12:10

    I really like the coloring of the lower clouds! They look like they’re just on the border of exploding with color as the sunset progresses. You captured some great cloud layering.

    Reply
  • Alexander Rosenberry
    Oct 12, 2016 12:10

    You captured some interesting cloud phenomenon with some good light. The contrast feels pretty low, and the photo is almost a little monochromatic however. Maybe some more aggressive post processing could make the image pop a little more.

    Reply
  • James Julian
    Oct 12, 2016 12:10

    Art: I really like the color contrast between the dark mountain background and the colors on the clouds.
    Flow: The flow is quickly understandable and easily recognized.
    Photographic technique: The focus of the Clouds is great, and the depth of field is perfect for this piece where the close and far clouds are captured well.

    Reply
  • Jeremiah Chen
    Oct 12, 2016 12:10

    Great focus, no noise at all. The addition of the mountain foreground doesn’t take away at all from the clouds but rather adds more depth to the image.

    Reply
  • David Leng
    Oct 12, 2016 12:09

    I like how the different types and sizes of clouds are depicted here in one image. The contrast is good the only recommendation I can give is to crop the image slightly.

    Reply
  • Michael Waterhouse
    Oct 12, 2016 12:09

    Awesome focus and detail. Interesting mix of different types of clouds. I like the colors and shadows that appear on the lower clouds.

    Reply
  • Sean Harrison
    Oct 12, 2016 12:09

    Vivid detail in the photo the clouds really pop. The shadow over the foreground adds a nice effect to the image. The yellow contrasts nicely with the shadows on the clouds.

    Reply
  • Harrison Lien
    Oct 12, 2016 12:08

    Nice picture, I like how there are several different types of identifiable clouds. The flow is clearly represented. Nice!

    Reply
  • Theo Petrides
    Oct 10, 2016 22:14

    – Great photo, I really like all the different types of clouds arranged here.
    – The focus is well resolved and contrast in clouds from the sunlight show a nice gradient of the yellow color.

    Reply
  • Max Scrimgeour
    Oct 10, 2016 12:49

    this is a cool image with some of the mountain wave clouds and with a lower level of clouds below. cool contrast of could types in the photo.

    Reply
  • Daniel Luber
    Oct 10, 2016 12:48

    Really sharp and great focus. My only suggestion would be cropping the photo to not include some of the top of the image. I don’t know if all of the negative space in the top portion of the image adds to the composition.

    Reply

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