Thursday, November 29, 2007

I've looked at clouds that way...

Note: I've been working on this post for a while, or at least working on acquiring the images for the post. The text--it'll be grasshopper product, produced on the fly; the pics are pure ant product. (In case you don't read Julie Zickefoose's blog, check out this beautiful entry, which ends with her classifying bloggers as grasshoppers and ants. I'm always a grasshopper, just writing on the fly.)

I love clouds and have names for the different kinds of clouds I see but not like "cumulus" or whatever. I have my own little cloud names, coined over a lifetime of watching the sky. Here are a few of the clouds I've seen lately that exemplify the clouds in my lexicon.

1. First up is the "Ferris Bueller" cloud--those tiny puffs that insist on making themselves seen in an otherwise cloudless and spectacularly blue sky:
I call them Ferris Bueller clouds because of that part of FB's Day Off in which he says he couldn't possibly go to school on a day like today, and then they cut to several quick shots of tiny little clouds like these, as though they made the weather too severe to go to school.
2. Next up is the general post-storm cloud cover, featuring little splotches of blue:
I've always thought that it's almost cruel the way the sky always seems to clear up and turn beautiful right after a really fierce storm. This was especially true in Texas when, after a tornado would rip through, the sun would come out as if to spotlight the devastation. Has anyone else ever noticed this? The above picture wasn't taken after quite so fierce a storm--just the steady cold rain and windy storms that gripped Cape May for the first day and a half of this autumn's Migration Weekend. I was standing outside the convention center on Saturday, just as the skies were finally clearing and the Flock--Susan Gets Native, Laura H in NJ, Susan at Lake Life, and I--were about to go walk on the beach for the first time.

3. Next up is the kind of cloud that produces sunbeams:

This isn't the best picture, but you get the idea. When I was a kid, my little sister Mary and I would look for these clouds and the sunbeams, especially near evening; we would say that the sunbeams were God's robe coming down as he stood on the earth.

4. These are wispy, melting butter clouds:

This type looks the way butter does when you melt it, with the oils and stuff separating out. It's one of my favorite cloud types. I like the different textures and the way the winds slice the clouds into different bits at different altitudes.

5. The sunlight-diffusing morning clouds are another favorite of mine:
I like the pinks and oranges produced by these clouds and their effects on the morning sun, almost Monet-like in its translucence.
6. This is an example of a rather thin cotton-batting sky:

I have a slightly better though smaller example of a more dense cotton-batting sky here:
I remark on the "cotton-batting sky" more than any other kind of cloud cover, because it's my favorite. You'll see it before it rains or snows, when the cloud cover looks like cotton batting stretched out across the sky like a blanket, with thinner and thicker parts, but shielding out the blue behind it (except in the case of the thin batting in the first example). I wish I had a better photo, but lately every time I've seen it, I haven't had the camera.

7. I love clouds at sunset, especially the clouds high enough to look over the edge of the world:

See how there's dark gray evening clouds, shaded from the sunlight by the edge of the earth's disk, and then there are the higher clouds that are lit by the setting sun's last rays? I love these. It would be like getting an extra peek at the sunset, being up that high.

Here's another example, which also includes some really beautiful evening gray clouds, another favorite:


Clouds in the evening and at night, dimly lit by setting sun or moonlight, are beautiful to me.

8. Finally, there's the wispy clouds, smaller bits of what are usually called mare's tails:
These aren't the whole tails, mind you--just little splashes of tails.

I'll leave you with a photo of evening gray clouds I took on my way to calculus class one night. It was bitterly cold, and the moon was hanging in the sky, following the sun:

33 comments:

Splotchy said...

Transcendental.

I hope working on this post kept away your winter blahs for a while.

They have cleared up mine.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I alwasy think of cotton candy when I see wispy clouds.

dguzman said...

Thanks, Splotchy--it helped.

I think of cotton candy too--while it's still in the big metal bowl as they spin it, and it's still just thin layers of sugar. Yummy, Dr. M!

Beth said...

Neat post - I love looking at clouds, too.

When I was training for my private pilot's license, I had to be very well-versed on weather and clouds (briefly made me want to be a meteorologist until I realized I had to be good at math ;-). My favorite weather name is virga, which is actually rain that evaporates before it hits the ground. It's cool to see but you need to stay away from it in a small airplane!

Susan Gets Native said...

I think the EXACT same thing when I see "Ferris Bueller" clouds!

I love sunsets with multi-layered clouds and a a zillion shades of pink, gold and turquoise.

dguzman said...

Welcome, Beth! Cool--a pilot! I would imagine you'd have to watch the weather very closely. I love that term "virga" as well (I'm a weather weenie, having read several books on meteorology, but not studying it because of the math involved!)

Susan--cool! I wondered if anyone would remember that. I like your description of sunsets.

elizabird said...

One day driving from Rio Hondo to Harlingen behind the airport the sky was simply stunning. It made me feel like I was inside a bowl of water with cotton balls floating on top of the water. Each cloud was an exact cotton ball perfectly formed just floating. That sky has never left me. Thanks for bringing it to the surface.

Mary C said...

Hi Delia - I think some of my favs are the sunbeams coming through the clouds - as you described it as God's robe. I would sometimes describe it as God's hand reaching down to the earth. The other fav I have is the "virga." I've tried to capture with the camera a few times. I saw one while in Socorro, New Mexico recently. And I think I'm still working on that post. Anyway, thanks for sharing your cloud photos - heck of a lot easier to snap pix of clouds than to get pix of birdies! ;o)

CroTourism said...

I like your photos, this is very nice blog.

dguzman said...

Lizard, thanks for sharing that memory. Takes me back to many a beautiful Texas sky....

Mary C-definitely easier to capture the cloud photos than those pesky little hyper birds! Can't wait to see your NM post.

CroTour--thanks for coming by!

Matty Boy said...

It's too warm here in Northern California to get the winter blahs. Unless we want to worry about the drought. It should be raining by now, but not much luck on that front.

And, by the way, I'm an ant. I usually try to have a few stored up, especially on Wednesday Math and the monthly Giant Women stuff.

LET'S TALK said...

Thanks for your visit to Let's Talk and I've added you to my Blog Link, if it's OK with you.

I love the sky and clouds that tell us what is happening during the day, season and just how the weather is going to be. I remember when I was younger and in the Military, I would travel to other countries and always notice the distance and circulation of clouds.

I really enjoyed the pictures you have placed in this post.

Larry said...

Great cloud collection.I like 4,6, and 7b the best.-interesting descriptions too.I guess I really don't know clouds at all.

Mary said...

Delia, Bravo. We are kindred spirits! I notice clouds every day and your photos and commentary made me smile. Clouds are so moody, don't you think?

I can't say I have a favorite type of cloud, but I do like "cotton-batting" clouds. Perhaps it's because I enjoy the aniticipation of rain or SNOW. And, of course, we have not seen any cotton-batting here for a long time!

Thanks for this great entry.

FranIAm said...

OK, so I seriously love this post and its photos.

Wow. Wow.

You got mad skills sister, mad skills.

Plus who wouldn't love something with Ferris Buehler clouds???

Earl Cootie said...

Very beautiful. I can't say that I've ever seen (or noticed) the melting butter clouds, but possibly I've just never seen so perfect an example.

Distributorcap said...

isnt there a book out now about naming clouds?

great pics

dguzman said...

Matty Boy-I wish it were warm here; we got snow last night and it's in the 20s. I figured you were probably an ant with those in-depth math posts.

Let's Talk-thanks to you too, and link away.

Larry-well, you know they rain and snow on everyone.

Mary-I like that, thinking of clouds as "moody." Nice. And yet another thing we have in common, huh?

Fran-*blush*

Earl-keep looking for those melting butter clouds; they're nice. Maybe you could post some California clouds?

D-cap-I'll have to look for that book.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Fanks for the link, Delia. Sorry to miss you in PA, but that would have been an awful big drive--PA feels like TX when you're trying to drive acrost it.
I love cloud types too. I got some killer clouds on the road to Magdalena that I'll post soon. Lenticular clouds are my favorite, and roller clouds, because they speak of the wind.
I wish I had people like Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein, Earl Cootie and Distributorcap in my virtual living room. It adds a certain cachet.

dguzman said...

Oooh, lenticular clouds are awesome, Julie! I can't wait to see that post. Maybe we'll see you at Magee Marsh?

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