Clouds First // Ivan Komodore

Clouds First // Ivan Komodore

Background

The clouds first assignment is intended to get students to start looking at clouds and taking note of the different types and weather conditions that cause them. Clouds give a good indication of the state of the atmosphere and the flow that they demonstrate can be very complex. The image highlighted in this post was taken in Golden, CO at 1926 on 6OCT18 while between the hogback and the foothills. The image is looking towards the west so it can be clearly seen that the waves of clouds are running parallel to the Front Range.

Cloud Analysis

The clouds show here are Altostratus Undulatus. This picture was taken the night before a large storm reached the Denver area so the atmosphere was very wet at the time. It was also a stable atmosphere which created some very unique clouds for the region. The atmospheric data can be seen in more detail in the Skew-T chart below:

The two dark lines are nearly parallel for every elevation indicating that the air had a large amount of moisture. This makes it difficult to estimate the elevation of the clouds based on the Skew-T alone but using other data from the nearby regions, I think that these clouds were at an altitude of approximately 4000m above ground level. Altostratus Undulatus often form immediately preceding pockets of unstable air and storms and are good indicators that the weather will be changing within the next day. The wavy affect is created by gravity waves, similar to ripples in a ponds but on a much larger scale.

Photographic Technique

This image was captured using an Apple iPhone 7 at an aperture of f/1.8. The shutter speed was 1/4s to allow as much as light as possible to be captured by the sensor since the conditions were fairly dark. The focal length was 3.99mm and the ISO was 1600 which caused some graininess to be apparent but not so much as to be overly distracting. The resolution of the image is 4032X3024 pixels. Some modification to the image was done in post processing to reduce the grain and to recreate the colors that were actually visible that night. The camera seemed to removed the red hue of the clouds so that was added back in after the image was taken. See the image below for the unedited file.

Additional Discussion

Overall I am happy with how this image turned out. It shows an effect not often seen in this region and the coloring gives it an otherworldly feel.

One of the aspects that I would have liked to have changed would be that I would prefer to have taken this with a dedicated camera rather than the iPhone. I think that would have given better resolution and less grain as I would have been able to adjust shutter speed and aperture manually. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me at the time so I made the best of my available resources.

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16 Comments. Leave new

  • Owen Brown
    Dec 10, 2018 12:36

    Great image! Really amazing to see this formation!

    Reply
  • Winston Douglas
    Oct 22, 2018 12:19

    I like how the mountains in the image are sillouetts because it makes the clouds really pop out and makes them appear very clear.

    Reply
  • Michael Karns
    Oct 19, 2018 12:38

    Great image! I like how dark the image is. The symmetry of clouds is really cool to see.

    Reply
  • Noah Granigan
    Oct 19, 2018 12:31

    Very interesting physics going on, cool that you were able to capture that.

    Reply
  • Joseph Ryan
    Oct 19, 2018 12:31

    This is really interesting, and really clearly shows the physics of mountain cloud formations at work. The stripes also make a kind of cool effect, because in manmade stripes, the lines are always very sharp and clean, but with the naturally forming cloud stripes the lines are very blurry and shaky. I also like the aesthetic of the fuzziness between the mountain silhouette and the sky. I think it would make a cool album cover.

    Reply
  • Peilin Yang
    Oct 19, 2018 12:31

    The purple is mysterious. The fronts is pretty cool. The mountain waive clouds is not in a common style. Nice work!

    Reply
  • Wenjin Li
    Oct 19, 2018 12:29

    I really like the contour of the mountain. The cloud looks pretty unique! Great capture!

    Reply
  • Jeremy Aparicio
    Oct 19, 2018 12:29

    Almost looks like a plowed field with how perfectly parallel and spaced out the clouds are. I like how the horizon is blacked out to add focus to the clouds.

    Reply
  • Charles Keely
    Oct 19, 2018 12:29

    This is a nice capture of the mountain wave clouds! The photo is a bit grainy, but not bad for an iPhone near night time.

    Reply
  • Brent T Eckles
    Oct 19, 2018 12:29

    Like the strips of the clouds and like the purple color to the clouds. Could have a little bit better resolution on the photo.

    Reply
  • Hana Kieger
    Oct 19, 2018 12:29

    This is super cool! It looks like a scene from a science fiction movie or something – I expect a UFO to fly by. The grainyness of the image doesn’t distract from the image because it’s so dark. Nice job!

    Reply
  • Anna Lynton
    Oct 19, 2018 12:29

    It is grainy but the lines of clouds are so cool!

    Reply
  • Chris Davidoff
    Oct 19, 2018 12:29

    That’s a fascinating phenomenon you captured. I really like the silhouette of the mountains, and even though the whole image is dark, it kind of has a moodiness to it that is great

    Reply
  • These types of clouds are quite rare. It is such a perfect rolling cloud set. It is a bit dark and makes it a tad grainy, but the clouds are amazing!

    Reply
  • Bradley Busek
    Oct 19, 2018 12:20

    I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen clouds formed like this, I really like it! Great job with this one!

    Reply
  • Wow I really like that these clouds show that nice parallel pattern that we don’t typically see in Colorado. Very unique photo!

    Reply

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