Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sky shadow


Approaching storm, London, ON, Wednesday, August 2, 2006, 8:39 p.m.

While cycling home from a dinner party with my colleagues, I did my best to ignore the fact that the weather was still insanely hot and humid. I had filled both water bottles on my bike with ice water. But as I approached home, they were almost drained, and what was left was sickeningly warm.

I looked up and saw something odd in the sky: one of the clouds in the distance seemed to be spawning a bit of a mohawk.

I'm no meterorologist, so I can't explain the intricacies of what I was witnessing. My best guess is a combination of a low sun and a band of clouds was causing elongated shadows to be thrown into the roiled, late-evening sky. The weather forecast was ominous: severe thunderstorms were about to cross the entire region...this represented the atmospheric equivalent of foreshadowing.

Despite my inability to explain it scientifically, I know that I like pretty pictures, and I thought it would make a nice photo. So I stopped the bike - I magically had my camera with me - and watched in wonder as the shadows continued to extend across the sky. Lots of people walked or cycled past me. Everyone looked at me funny, but no one stopped to observe the unique scene unfolding above.

Consider this a two-part lesson learned, again. First, always have a camera close at hand to capture those unique moments that disappear almost as soon as they present themselves. And second, never be afraid to be the only one stopped by the side of the road to take it all in.

Your turn: I'd appreciate your thoughts on this image. What feelings does it evoke?

One more thing: I've got more pictures from this series on my accompanying Flickr page to the right. Or simply click here for more.

31 comments:

kenju said...

Amazing! I cannot imagine what caused that effect. What was it, Carmi?

queen of light and joy said...

That's effin AWESOME!

Grins said...

Carmi,that one is a little spooky looking.

Joan said...

WOW! How cool to have been able to see that in person and capture it to share with us!

WOW! How cool to be (I think) the first person to comment on your post! I don't think I've ever had that pleasure since you have such a big fan base!

daisy said...

Looks like the bat signal should be there somewhere...

Karen said...

I can't help it. I always think of God when I see images and cloud formations like that. I know it's old-fashioned to think of the "Big Man" in such an ethereal setting, but for me it's comforting. Great photo, Carmi. Thanks for sharing!

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

What a beautiful photograph.

Do you sell your photos by chance? There have been a few I've absolutely loved.

Not here via Michele's this time! Later, I'm sure though, she'll send me on over again!

Wordnerd said...

What an amazing shot! I cannot begin to imagine what caused that, but I'm glad you were there to capture it. Did you run it by someone who might know? I'm insanely curious!

srp said...

Mystery. This picture evokes a feeling of a deep, but not frightening mystery and a expectant feeling of something wonderful and magnificent waiting to happen at any second!

kenju said...

Are you going to tell us what it was?

kenju said...

Back again, Carmi, Michele sent me. I still want to know....LOL

Wordnerd said...

Yep, I'm back again, too, Carmi! And I wanna know the same thing Kenju wants to know! And we won't leave you alone till you tell us!

From Michele's this go-round.

susie said...

That is freaking gorgeous.

Does make you wonder if you are living in an alternate universe when you are so beholden with something that you are looking at that you've had to stop, and the rest of the drones just continue to go by?

When that happens to me, I'm convinced the Matrix is real. Then I feel like Neo. Minus the cool trenchoat.

Cyndy said...

Well it's stunningly beautiful; however, it makes me feel fear.
I've lived a long part of my life in hurricane and tornado country!
BE SAFE
Here from Michele but I visit on my own anyway

jadedprimadonna said...

It makes me feel hope. I am not sure why - I just do. =o)

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts,
One...it made me immediately think of my boyfriend...and how he would love to see these pics...and how it is something he would have taken....we are always staring at the clouds...

Second....it made me think that the clouds are having an award show...because it sort of looks like the grammy lights flashing through the air...does that make sense??

Carmi said...

THE EXPLANATION: After much research - both online and the nagging-my-colleagues variety, I've arrived at a fairly robust conclusion for what I witnessed last night. Here goes...

A very large line of intense thunderstorms stretched across southwestern Ontario. London was just to the south of this line as I cycled home. The system was so intense that the thunderheads were maxing out above 60,000 feet. This is pretty unreal...they usually don't go much beyond 20-25,000 feet for your run-of-the-mill storm.

The cloud tops were so high, and the sun was so low, that the shadow from the topmost cloud top was essentially cast upward into the atmosphere. Hence the shadowy slice across the sky.

The combination of low, late-evening sun and unusually high cloud tops will result in something like this, if you're lucky enough to be there when it happens.

Strangely, I feel privileged to have been able to see it.

jsdaughter said...

It inspires a sense of peace and awe in me.. Anytime I see something incredible in nature such as this, I feel that way. Thanks so much for sharing with us..

Yaeli said...

Another amazing photo Carmi! It looks like a searchlight sweeping the sky!
Sorry it's been a while since I've stopped by, but I'm back now!!!
Michele sent me today!

kenju said...

I don't blame you for feeling privileged to see it, carmi. That's the way I feel everytime I see a rainbow. Thanks for the explanation.

Michele sent me back this time.

EternalCynic said...

That picture is stunning! It's just so awesome.

Raehan said...

What a glorious post, Carmi.

Morah Mommy said...

It's a great picture, as usual.

It was such a beautiful sight before the storm.

Michele sent me.

Jennifer said...

I too always think of God when I see things like this.

I also would be one of the people stopped in my tracks to enjoy such a beautiful sight.

So cool you were able to capture this!

Jennifer said...

However... after taking a second look at all your flickr photos.. I see that it's acending up into the sky, or coming down depending on how you look at it. Hmmmmmmm maybe it was aliens? haha

Midori said...

Hi Carmi!! Greetings from the other London!! ;-) haven't been around lately but just wanted to say I LOVE this picture!!

Midori said...

PS- I forgot to say hi from Michele!!

Just a trumpet player said...

What a beautiful picture ! As if the sun was trying, one last time, to win over those huge clouds...

Here from Michele again !

Wordnerd said...

I'm glad you were there to witness it, and glad too that you chose to share it with us! Beautiful!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

This is a BEAUTIFUL photograph Carmi! Mysterious and solemn..but somehow hopeful, too...Not sure why all these things are evoked in me..but they are! Truly Beautiful!

rob said...

Un-freaking-believable, brother.

Nothing else to say but that.