Thursday, September 22, 2011

Photo set of the day: Rainier light

The great condensation


On my way home from work last night, I glanced up at Mount Rainier as I passed the Kautz Creek viewpoint, as I always do, and promptly did a u-turn at the next pullout so I could go back and take pictures. You don't often see a set of lenticular clouds this perfectly defined nor this deeply stacked over the mountain's summit, so when it happens, you drop everything and grab your camera! The view was, if anything, even more spectacular as I passed another viewpoint further down the road, so I stopped again. Then this morning, my wife called me on her way to work and said "go outside and take a picture," and there it was again--not a lenticular this time, but another extraordinary view of Mount Rainier, silhouetted against a blazing sky, casting its inverted shadow on the clouds. Rather than choosing just one of these amazing images, I'm including several in a slide show for you to enjoy. Click through to Flickr to watch them full-screen. A few of the images are panoramic shots, created from several images stitched together either horizontally or vertically in photoshop.

Oh, and for those who aren't familiar with mountain cloud formations, a "lenticular" is a cloudcap formed when moist air pushes over the top of high terrain, condenses into a cloud, then re-evaporates as it descends on the far side. It's usually an early indication of a change in the weather. Usually the lenticular is thin and single-layered, but on rare occasions, especially over a large mountain like Rainier, these stacked formations will form that cause everyone to pull over and grab their cameras.

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