It is unusual for our area to see discrete thunderstorms — individual storms visible against otherwise clear skies — so we miss out on some thrilling sights. The anvil or thunderhead of a strong storm usually happens above a lower cloud layer in our region, hidden from those of us who appreciate such things. On July 20, 2022 a severe thunderstorm rolled right overhead. I’ve rarely, if ever, heard so many cracks of thunder so close by. I was indoors, did not see the mammoth bolts directly above my roof, and was actually getting concerned the house, or my tall flagpole, would be hit. I was close to being afraid of the lightning, and that’s very unusual! The storm passed, as storms do, and I took a peek through a window. To the west the sky was clearing as the clean edge of the thunderstorm moved east but then the thrill: mammatus clouds! Technically, mammatus are not rare phenomena, often hanging from the anvils of thunderstorms, but we rarely see them here for the reasons given above — we rarely see the anvils. The sky was full of them! I grabbed my iPhone (nearest camera) and hurried outside. Though I feared it would end quickly, the display went on til after dark. Here are a few views…
I haven’t been “dragon hunting” in some time so today’s mission was to shoot a few. One I bagged today — a male Halloween Pennant (?) — at the Medina County Park District’s Letha House Park West. I saw and photographed several varieties and missed a couple. It looks like it will be a fine Dragonfly Summer.
It looked like a great opportunity to see and photograph a total eclipse of the Moon! Too often, it seems, lunar eclipses have been either just starting or in progress at moonset or sunrise, either curtailing what might be seen. The May 15 – 16 lunar eclipse was an exception.
The entire eclipse sequence might be visible from my location with its peak — totality — at about midnight; not too late or too early a time for those who need sleep. Of course the big “IF” was IF the weather would allow viewing.
Early in the evening things looked good but forecasters called for an influx of cloud cover and, of course, just as the partial phase of the event began, clouds began to gather.
At first, the brilliant partially-eclipsed orb was easily photographed through thin overcast. The thin veil of clouds gave a mystical feel to the event. As the clouds thickened, however, the view worsened. At times, though the camera could pick it out, Moon was visible only as a smudge in the cloudy night sky.
Late in the partial eclipse, I could make out a trace of copper-red in the darkened portion of the lunar disk though that did not register with the camera.
Just as totality was reached, Moon was covered with clouds thick enough to block the view entirely. Disappointment set in but the clouds had some streaks where a star or two could be seen.
So while I missed the precise moment of peak eclipse at 12:11 a.m., EDT, I waited to see if the moving clouds would allow a peek at the still-red Moon. It happened!
There, in a narrow slot between masses of cloud, appeared the beautiful eclipse I’d waited for in the damp chill. I got busy with my camera, stood and wondered at the sight my eyes enjoyed, took a picture of my camera setup, and after only a few wonderful minutes, heavy overcast set in — the red Moon disappeared.
With no visible openings in the cloud deck approaching, I packed up my gear and went indoors happy to have been able to enjoy the natural wonder.
As a postscript, I submitted an image of totality to the local newspaper and it didn’t show up there. Okay, maybe not something they wanted. A couple of days later, too late to I checked my email spam folder and, to my dismay, the newspaper editor wrote that he wanted to use the photo but at higher resolution.