Cloudfall. Snow and graupel falling from their bases make the clouds appear to be collapsing.
I usually don’t care much for winter cloudscapes. Snowy days tend to be overcast, shapeless, dull. Yesterday was different.
Sun-Snow-Shadow. Snow streamers and crepuscular rays interact. Snow and graupel falling from their bases make the clouds appear to be collapsing. Canon 7D Mark 2, March 7, 2018. Photo by James Guilford.
I was visiting relatives in Northwestern Ohio, driving from one town to the next, when clouds near the horizons caught my eye; it almost appeared the clouds were collapsing on to the farmland below! The wide, open views of flat farmland, along with isolated areas of falling snow and graupel produced fascinating scenes.
Isolated Snow Showers.
Bands of dark cloud swept overhead while, lit by the late afternoon sun, the falling streams of snowy precipitation shifted with the wind kept me stopping on the quiet country roads of Henry and Fulton Counties, hopping from site to site, making me late to my destination.
I couldn’t help it; the sight was so out of the ordinary.
Lakeview Park Beach, Lorain, Ohio, in January 2018
Late in January we had a bit of a break in the weather. Yes, it was still cold but the sun was shining and the temperature was in the double-digits. We paid a visit to the Lake Erie coastline.
At Lakeview Park, Lorain, lake ice, pushed onshore by winds and waves, lay in piles dirtied by flotsam also thrown up by Erie.
Gulls sat on nearly every ice floe in Lake Erie, off Lorain, Ohio, as the old lighthouse stood watch.
Gulls rode ice floes in the open waters of Lake Erie off Lorain, Ohio, as the lighthouse stood watch. One ring-billed gull, on a chunk of ice of its own, seemed pretty relaxed; it yawned widely as we watched.
A Ring-Billed Gull yawns as it stands on an ice floe just offshore of Lorain, Ohio.
October Sky 7155.
A thick bank of cloud was approaching from the west while rain showers passed to the northeast over the flat farmlands of Northwestern Ohio. I watched as intense spots of sunlight swept across the landscape — a dramatic contest between light and shadow.
Sunset: Vickery, Ohio. October 29.
Lately, when I travel to visit relatives, I’ve been taking the slow road — state highways instead of Interstates — as a sort of “road trip.” The slower pace and varied scenery of a road trip removes the sameness from regular travels. On the return leg of this weekend’s drive, I made a stop along the way for dinner and was rewarded with a pretty nice view of sunset-lit clouds over open fields in Northwestern Ohio.
Into the Light. A Northern Water Snake seeks sunlight from its woodland perch.
Photo hikes in nature can present one with surprises. We visited the Lorain County MetroParks’ Sandy Ridge Reservation hoping and expecting to see an assortment of birds native to that wetland. What we did not expect to see along the way is, well, what you see here: a couple of small snakes literally hanging from and on trees! The first was a Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) stretched out along the skimpy branch of a tree along the trail. When we first saw the dark-colored reptile, a spot of sun was shining on it from between the trees; perhaps it was catching some rays to warm its cold blood. The snake allowed fairly close approach and did not move at all during the “photo session.” On the way back from enjoying the birds — there’s a long hike through a heavily-wooded area between parking lot and wetland — we spied another little snake. Snake number two had hung itself vertically on the trunk of a tree, head curved out parallel to the ground. The tree-hanging Butler’s Garter Snake (Thamnophis butleri), like the water snake, held perfectly still during our entire time watching and photographing it. Snakes alive, what a surprise!
Hanging out (literally) on a tree is this Butler’s Garter Snake (Thamnophis butleri).
A Beautiful Storm – Panorama
Stirring in my bed this morning, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I heard a severe weather alert tone from my phone. Looking at the screen, then checking radar, I was surprised to see a compact and intense area of heavy rain coming our way. It had the hallmarks of a storm that might offer visual drama! So I threw on some clothes, grabbed my trusty camera, and headed out to meet the monster at the city limits.
It’s wonderful having access to high-resolution weather radar in near real-time available on-the-road via iPad. Though I had no problem getting through from one side of the city to the other, the storm was fast coming. Looking around I spied a road I’d never explored; it looked like it offered a wide view to the west so I made a turn and parked at the curb. Yes, a very nice view and just in time!
Rolling in from the west was one of the most beautiful storms I’ve seen: It featured layers of smooth clouds, separated by striations and trailing off into graceful waves. The morning was quiet, the storm silent as it approached. Until the rain pushed in.
Outflow: Rolling in with Rain
I could see above the treeline a soft, curved cloud feature below all of the other layers, slightly glowing in morning light. I began to hear a sound in the distant trees. Wind? No, rain! The outflow cloud was running ahead of a torrent! I shot a few additional frames, calmly walked to my car, got in, and the rain arrived. I headed home.
It was a wonderful way to start the day!
“Even in the midst of the storm the sun is still shining.” ― Dayna Lovely
Storm clouds flowed overhead at the edge of a storm seen from rural Medina County (Ohio) but light could be seen on the horizon. “Even in the midst of the storm the sun is still shining.” ― Dayna Lovely