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Strange Skies. June 2, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Yesterday after work I ran a couple of errands, and in the process, got totally drenched in a spectacular downpour.

So naturally I thought, “There must be mists rising on the back end of this thing; the sun’s still up, maybe sunset will get involved!”  … and I headed the car westward to see what I would see.

As I broke out of the storm’s western front, I saw the anticipated mists:

…but alas, the image wasn’t really compelling, so I drove on.

As the sky cleared, my auto-noodling brought me up toward Windsor, where I thought I might find some early meadow wildflowers.  I wanted to try to get some foreground blooms with some cumulus monsters in the background, something which can be done to good effect with a tilt-shift lens.

At a high meadow along route 8A I was pleased to find a view worth setting up for:

…with a nice carpet of Ragged Robin shepherded by a passable set of clouds:

This small version of this photo misses the finer details of the delicate flowers interspersed with buttercups, but hey, that’s the medium I’m working in here.

There were a lot of different types of grasses in bloom, with interesting seed-heads of various colors:

Tussock Sedges and Buttercups beneath a sky which was beginning to act up.

I looked for and found a patch of Blue Flag irises I’ve photographed in the past, and with Elliot’s trick objective lens, got this:

At this point, though, things got a bit strange – I thought the curving structure in the upper sky was some sort of aberration caused by my circular polarizer, but quickly realized that it was an actual feature in the clouds.  I stood back and watched in amazement as the ghostly sky began to boil, coalescing into radiating waves of gray and white.  It was as though all of the moisture in the air was being amassed and focused to the south, suddenly blushing as the western sun grew low and leaving the adjacent sky brilliantly blue:

The sinuous striations of the cloud’s underbelly spoke of spectacular wind speeds, and my mind raced with images of recent Midwestern disasters.  I was wishing for my 16mm wide-angle lens, but it was back at the car, and there just wasn’t time – I got as much of the total sky event as I could with Elliot:

I was gobsmacked by the sight of this unearthly cloud flowing from the sky with Auroral undulations;  calibrating the distance and direction of its focus, I thought, “Something bad is happening down Springfield way.”

With the light fading and mayflies gnawing at my every exposed inch, I jogged back to the car with frequent stops to gawk.  By the time I got to the road and put my Sweet Sixteen on the box the show was nearly over, and the apparition had resolved into an orange phantasm:

I would have liked to have held that image in my mind all the way home, but the car radio had other ideas: a frantic announcer was describing the wreckage in Springfield, Massachusetts, where at least three tornadoes had destroyed a swath of the city, tossing cars into piles and killing four people.

I had inadvertently photographed a sad bit of Massachusetts history.


1. jomegat - June 2, 2011

I wondered if you would be out in that. Those are some spectacular shots too. Wow.

2. littlebangtheory - June 2, 2011

Naw, jomegat, I was just out taking pretty pictures of flowers, but doo-doo se passe, non?   😉

3. Bob - June 2, 2011

Wow, indeed. As I said via email last night, glad you weren’t in the path.

Pictures… wow again.

4. dcmartin - June 3, 2011

Such beauty to go along with such devastation……..Mother Nature is a mysterious lady.

5. Frau Biergut - June 3, 2011

Yes, we’re all glad that The Rolling J Farm was not in the path. Here’s hoping for some less violent rain to make the gardens grow.


6. TheCunningRunt - June 4, 2011

Hiya Bob. I used to want to get close to a tornado, but after seeing the recent devastation in the Midwest I’ve seriously reconsidered. (Yeah, I’m a slow learner!)

dc, much of Mothers’ more destructive antics seem to be visually mesmerizing – I wonder why that is??

Frau B, plenty of rain here, and the garden (and lawn!) are in hyperdrive – come home soon, and bring your appetite! 🙂

7. susan - June 4, 2011

The pictures are absolutely stunning. I clicked on each of them in turn to see them larger but I think what I wanted was to see it all the way you did.

I’m very sorry to hear those amazing clouds meant such destruction in Springfield. I think Mother’s moods are a lesson to us but why she can’t just knock out Wall St. is a mystery to me.

8. clairz - June 5, 2011

Wow, just wow. We have friends who were near the destruction. It’s a terrible year for that stuff.

9. lisahgolden - June 5, 2011

Fascinating. I’m glad you and your family weren’t in the path of that.

10. littlebangtheory - June 6, 2011

Susan, it appears that Mother’s aim is about on a par with God’s judgment – you know, with babies starving to death while the FFR (Filthy _ Rich, you fill in the blank)bask on tropical beaches.

clairz, Lisa, we’re all fine, thanks for the well-wishes.

11. noodleepoodlee - June 6, 2011

Wow! Great pictures.

Sorry about news from Springfield. These tornadoes and storms along the east coast are something, eh?

12. littlebangtheory - June 6, 2011

Yeah, tornadoes here, floods in the Midwest, fires in the desert. It’s a real mess.

13. U - June 7, 2011

Some sunset!

Like you said, a real mess, but there’s beauty in the breakdown (to echo the “masses” above). And you got some absurdly magical art out of it all. As is so often the case, you’ve impressed me. Sending love…

14. littlebangtheory - June 7, 2011

Ursi, your appreciation of my efforts means more to me than you might know – thank you.

Love back atcha, Sweetie. 🙂

15. Pagan Sphinx - June 7, 2011

You’ve outdone yourself with these. Spectacular. Sublime. Amazing. You are the best damn landscape photographer I know!

16. littlebangtheory - June 7, 2011

I’m guessing the list is short, but I’m really glad to hear that I’m at the top! 😉

Thanks, Gina. I’m trying.

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