Still Learning To See

Stormy times

Storms can happen anytime of year, of course, but the change from winter to spring brings many, some especially violent. I recently put together a group of photographs of several storms I’ve witnessed and wanted to share them here with you.

We all know skies can change quickly. How often have I said “One more cup…” only to find a brilliant sunrise gone and changed to a blue sky. These mammatus storm clouds in a sunset were the opposite: they just kept getting more and more intense for about fifteen minutes AND they were right out the front door of our house! By the end the whole neighborhood was standing in the street, mouths agape with wonder. By the way, despite the fact they often forewarn very stormy weather, it never did rain on us! Keep your eyes open for these unusual formations this summer.

I made this image from the window of a commercial flight on a return from travels with a friend in Alaska. I’m not sure exactly where along the route this was but nearly back to Vermont based on surrounding images. As much as I love watching old Seinfeld episodes on those little, bad screens, seeing clouds like this out the window always takes priority for me, even if the flight attendant is asking me to “lower your shades so others can view the movie.” This movie is the one I’ll always be watching!

This was the ending of a day in Central Colorado that had had every kind of weather imaginable, and then, suddenly, clear skies and just a few remaining clouds. The mountain slope seemed the perfect complement. May the end of the storm always be so glorious and full of changing light.

This is a spectacular view of the clouds over Camel’s Hump, our uniquely shaped mountain seen from many places here in Central Vermont. Shown are July’s late afternoon clouds building to a classic summer storm. I made almost 50 exposures in the course of an hour and it is a delight to look back over them now and see the changes and the wonderful details over that hour. Maybe one more good reason to not be quick to delete, as my friend and mentor Brooks Jensen suggests. Again, it proved an hour to simply be in the glory of the light.

As I get older I find I’m taking fewer dangerous risks, especially dumb ones, just to get that great photograph. At some point I made a promise to myself (and my dear wife of 50 years) to not pull over the shoulder of a busy interstate highway to get that one, perfect photo! Ya know?! So as I was driving on I-89N an amazing storm is building furiously all around me—rain, winds, clouds, the full catastrophe as Zorba might have said. Unfortunately there is no exit for another 15 miles. I’m tempted but drive on knowing there is too much traffic to safely pull over in the breakdown lane especially during crazy weather. The plus side was I just got to be thrilled by this powerful, dynamic storm. When I reached the next exit, I pulled into a park & ride and, voila, the clouds were still amazing and the view of them over the mountains was more powerful than I’d seen earlier. And, I did not get run over! A storm to remember!

I don’t remember this storm, or whether it was coming or going, but who can forget a sky like this? We all live under the same sky every day, even if some are gray and wet, some bright blue, and some just miraculous like this.

The image in the header is one of my favorites too, the calm after the storm over Lake Champlain. I hope you can find time to enjoy your skies today, whatever they are and wherever you are, and use it as a time to remember we all live under this same great often glorious dome together.

This entry was published on May 4, 2022 at 7:48 pm. It’s filed under John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Photograph, Sunset, Vermont, and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Stormy times

  1. Kate on said:

    WOW! Don’t those crazy gray clouds represent our current goings-on?
    Beautiful photos. I love the composition of the mountain slope, sky, and then clouds!

  2. Wonderful set of photos. Lately I have been enjoying the variety and beauty of clouds on sunny days. Yesterday we had several hours of wispy horsetail clouds. Should have gotten the camera out.

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