Snow Showers in Night Light

…and Other Recent Photographic Experiences

Last week Elke and I got back from a rewarding little trip to Denver, initially for the first general board/editorial meeting of the Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology (EJSSM), but also, to visit her family, the bulk of whom still live in the area.

Unusually for a board meeting, the EJSSM gathering was wholly worthwhile, and yes, fun — hashing out ideas for growing and improving the tenacious little online journal that a group of fellow atmospheric scientists started a little over three years ago. Senior scientist Chuck Doswell has posted a nice description of the exciting event on his BLOG, so I won’t repeat it here.

The night before the meeting, after the twenty-third hour, we were driving from a long informal dinner and bull session, when Elke first noticed a striking band of snow showers rolling off the Rockies. Made vividly visible by the urban glow of the metro area, the snow showers were connected atop by a common midlevel cloud deck, and interspersed with plump and low-hanging mammatus formations. Some of that mammatus appeared to burst at the bottom, as if an overstuffed plastic bag of flour splitting apart at the seams in slow motion, dropping big tufts of snow shafts onto the ground below. After we reached our destination, I was able to wander out and photograph the scene across a dirt road and cattle pasture.

The city lights of Boulder brilliantly illuminated one particularly well-defined snow shower that passed across (top image). Having forgotten to pack the tripod, I used a fencepost for bracing and did some “anti-motion bracketing.” That’s where the forgetful photographer, attempting time exposures, fires off frame after frame in short order, in hopes that a few of them don’t blur important features from slight camera movements. Believe me, when it’s that cold outside, it’s easy to get “the shakes”.

I also found it humorously ironic that Boulder, “25 Square Miles Surrounded by Reality,” home of the world’s most dense concentration of eco-snobs per square mile, was beaming a wickedly blazing degree of light pollution heavenward, only to be intercepted and reflected by the snow shafts, in turn, casting aglow the sacred surface of “Mother Earth” herself. Fine with me — it allowed for some unique photography! Don’t tell the Dark Sky Society.

These are two of the shots from recent trips, planned camera shoots and typically unplanned moments of photogenic spontaneity, that I’ve been adding to the SkyPix galleries lately as time permits (see “What’s New” for the most recent additions). This includes some long-overdue rescans of old Hurricane Andrew damage slides.

Also, for those who love Florida, the outdoors and/or outdoor photography, Elke and I recently posted some favorite images from our excursion to South Florida over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Enjoy!


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