The Winter “Mothership” Has Landed in the Hudson Valley . . .

It’s been nearly four months since I posted to this online journal.  Not because there haven’t been heavenly visions to record, but due to an overwhelming focus on other photographic projects, timed to the unfolding of the Autumn season.

I do have an inventory of remarkable late-Summer and Autumn cloud formation photography that I shall process and post in the future to catch-up.  Meanwhile, Winter is rearing its head in the Hudson Valley of New York and threatening a first major snowstorm with high winds and sub-freezing temperatures.

This afternoon, as I readied the firewood pile and caught up on some much overdue Autumn leaf cleanup, I caught the glimpse of an amazing, fleeting cloud formation as the sun fell fast to that much-too-early deep dark hour of dusk – daylight shrinking in advance of the coming season.

Clearly, the Winter “Mothership” has landed in advance of the Solstice.

.

.

4:26 PM

A glorious concatenation of alto stratus lenticularis cloud forms.

.

.

.

.

4:28 PM

Two minutes later, the glow is gone.  And so is most of the color.

Another minute, and the Winter phantom had completely dissolved!
When it comes to cloud-spotting photography, one must act fast.

.

.

.

.

. . . . . . . . .

Images captured:   12.07.2010   |   Woodstock, NY

©  2010  George J Nicholson  All Rights Reserved   |  Logo Concept   |   Images   |   Commentary

The photographic imagery appearing within this blog is protected by copyright law. Downloading images, distribution and reproduction of any nature with “commercial intent” without prior written permission of the copyright holder are strictly prohibited. Exceptions will be made in instances of inclusion within excerpts and reviews of this blog and its author’s work.


Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What do “Frankfurters and Submarines” have in common?

The answer to the question is:  Cumulus . . .  Let me explain.

+  +  +

One evening last week, I was grilling some shrimp and fresh vegetables on the south side of the house, opposite the great panoramic view I have of the West, North and East skies that host the most magnificent cloud play.  I was a little antsy and eager to finish cooking my dinner so I might watch the heavens for possible cloudspotting surprises.

Here’s what I discovered:

.

.

7:15 PM

A monolithic Frankfurter in the sky!

What I secretly wished was on my plate, as I’ve recently sworn off all red meat:
hot dogs, hamburgers – the whole kit ‘n kaboodle.

.

.

.

.

7:15 PM

Here’s a close-up view.

Boy, this one looks yummy!  I can even see dashes of the mustard
and relish overflowing the bun.  Damn!

.

.

That’s a Cumulus lenticularis formation –
something to remember next time you visit the hotdog stand.

.

.

Peering lower to the horizon, I sensed that the heavens might be cooking up
another surprise  . . .

.

.

7:15 PM

I am learning that very busy Stratocumulus activity during the sunset
hours often results in some wild figures.

.

.

By the way, that “Hot Dog in the Sky” was gobbled up in less than two minutes.
(Most Cumulous clouds have a lifespan of less than 5 minutes.)

.

.

Get ready, here it comes  . . .

.

.

7:20 PM

Yes!  A gargantuan “Submarine” riding the “blue waters” overhead  . . .

I couldn’t help but sing:
“We all live in a yellow submarine  . . .  A yellow submarine …
A yellow submarine …”

.

.

This one falls under the Cumulus humilis designation, in case you wondered.

.

.

But wait!  . . .  It looks like the sub has “stalled”  . . .

I’ll bet there’s trouble in the bridge!

.

.

7:21 PM  (one minute later)

Oh oh!  . . .

It appears that the “inner and outer hulls” are exploding  . . .

.

.

I don’t know about you, but the cat and I are rushing back into the house  . . .

.

.

7:24 PM  (four minutes after its appearance)

“Red Alert!  . . .  Red Alert!  . . .”

“This baby’s going down  . . .  Abandon ship!”

.

.

.

.

Whew!  Safe and sound inside after battening down the hatches, I’m just pleased as punch to savor my seafood and vegetables – glad after all that I gave up those hot dogs.

Happy cloudspotting!

.

.

.

. . . . . . . . .

Images captured:   08.10.2010   |   Woodstock, NY

©  2010  George J Nicholson  All Rights Reserved   |  Logo Concept   |   Images   |   Commentary

*  Trident image referenced here may be subject to copyright.

**  This blog holds no commercial value and is published for educational and recreational purposes only, with gratitude to the Internet community and generous organizations and entities such as WordPress that encourage free, wholesome and creative exchange

The photographic imagery appearing within this blog is protected by copyright law. Downloading images, distribution and reproduction of any nature with “commercial intent” without prior written permission of the copyright holder are strictly prohibited. Exceptions will be made in instances of inclusion within excerpts and reviews of this blog and its author’s work.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“2-Minute Recipe for a 2-Second Dragon”

Avid Cloudspotters will probably tell you that after some light-hearted steady experience scanning the heavens for faces, critters and all manner of figures, that one begins to develop a “Cloudy Intuition.”

I’m a relative newcomer to this game, but my three months of conscious cloud watching are really beginning to pay off, and no longer will I default to “being the square” among the kids who “see this stuff” all the time, even as it fleetingly forms before dissolving seconds later.  The last few weeks have found me watching the skies at odd intervals whenever I sense the potential appearance of something special.

In my case, it has also helped immeasurably that my Leica is ever close at hand, as I am currently engaged in a number of active photographic-poetry projects, so I can easily “probe” areas of the heavens closely at telephoto settings, or even with the digital multiplier if so inclined.

I doubt that I would have spotted “the Dragon” without the camera, as it was far off
in the distance and appeared small to the naked eye.  I had a sense that the evening’s sunset might provide some interesting subject matter, and I was right.

It took just 2-Minutes to cook up a “fire breathing dragon.”  The following three frames track its highly ephemeral formation.

.

.

6:29 PM

A quite complex and dramatic sky persisted through sunset,
hosting multiple species and varieties of clouds.

.

.

.

.

I sensed something special unfolding in the lower left of that panorama.

.

.

6:31 PM

The quickly shapeshifting formation of two symmetrically opposed
pairs of glowing double ovals, over the lower-right hot yellow clouds
clued me in that a surprise might be coming.

.

.

.

.

You’ve gotta be “on your toes” for this sort of fun.  Luckily, I was.

.

.

6:31 PM  (just a few seconds later!)

There “it” is – a real beauty.

A “Fire Breathing Dragon” – flaming nostrils and all!

.

.

Gone, dissolved, finito, bye-bye – two seconds later!

.

Happy Cloudspotting!

.

.

. . . . . . . . .

Images captured:   08.02.2010   |   Woodstock, NY

©  2010  George J Nicholson  All Rights Reserved   |  Logo Concept   |   Images   |   Commentary

The photographic imagery appearing within this blog is protected by copyright law. Downloading images, distribution and reproduction of any nature with “commercial intent” without prior written permission of the copyright holder are strictly prohibited. Exceptions will be made in instances of inclusion within excerpts and reviewsof this blog and its author’s work.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

A “Santa Claus Eye” in the Summer Sky

Here’s a “two shot” that intrigued me.

It was captured last weekend as part of another photographic-poetry project’s take.

Once again, “probing the heavens” with a telephoto lens “bagged” what otherwise would have been missed by the naked eye.

.

.

A sweetly inspiring sunset,
thanks to a “town hall gathering” of cumulus clouds
with a perfectly orchestrated cirrus set, dashing overhead.

.

.

.

But let’s pull in a lot closer . . .

A nearly perfect circular “cumulus fractus” formation that actually appears
to have been extracted from the cloud layer above it.

(See the negative/void shape upper right of it?)

I see an “Eye in the Sky.”

Hey, that’s “Santa Claus” hiding behind those trees!
White bushy eyebrows and all.

.

.

.

Cloudspotting is fun!

Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of The Cloud Appreciation Society claims
that cloud watching is the perfect antidote for fighting “blue-sky thinking”
and that it may in time, as the ranks of “official” cloud-watchers grow,
threaten the livelihoods of psychoanalysts the world over.

.

.

F U L L  D I S C L O S U R E  :

I am a badge-carrying and certificate-bearing member of
The Cloud Appreciation Society.
My “election” to its membership occurred 2AM EST on July 21, 2010.

I was the 22,443-rd person to join worldwide.

(For a measly few pounds sterling, consider gifting yourself or a loved one
and join in the fun, while learning reams about our Goddess Mother Earth’s
life breath and ever shape-shifting heavenly countenance.)

.

.

.

. . . . . . . . .

Images captured:   07.31.2010   |   Woodstock, NY

©  2010  George J Nicholson  All Rights Reserved   |  Logo Concept   |   Images   |   Commentary

The photographic imagery appearing within this blog is protected by copyright law. Downloading images, distribution and reproduction of any nature with “commercial intent” without prior written permission of the copyright holder are strictly prohibited. Exceptions will be made in instances of inclusion within excerpts and reviews of this blog and its author’s work.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

“Let’s Welcome Jimi Hendrix to our Western Stage!”

Some time ago I shared my “Geisha with Wind-Tossed Hair.” (see earlier post)
I had mentioned that “she” had been derived from a fanciful sunset.  I’ve finally made the time to process the cloud imagery that occurred prior to the appearance of my wind-tossed evening hostess in the imaginal Kyoto skies.

Perhaps it was my recent viewing of It Might Get Loud, a documentary that guitar aficionados are sure to love  (Directed by Davis Guggenheim. With Jimmy Page,
The Edge, and Jack White)
– the after effects of that wonder-filled expose may have set my “mind’s eye” to relating strange cloud formations to guitar riffs.  Also, it’s that summery time of year again when Rock n’ Roll revivals and concerts aplenty seem to flood the Hudson Valley.

But who needs Ticketron when one can just look up?

.

.

“Let’s Welcome Jimi Hendrix to our Western Stage!”

.

.

I “hear” a wah-wah pedal in action and a “Purple Haze” arising  . . .

.

.

.

.

Remember Hendrix’s “Cross-Town Traffic”?

.

.

.

.

Did you drift within those ubiquitous, exaggerated phase-shifts too?

Sitting “dead-center-of-the speakers” or with those mongo headphones on?

.

.

.

.

Just look at these contrail cloud forms “grooving”
in counterpoint to the wispy cirrus fractus higher up –
every which way you look at them  . . .

“Over Under Sideways Down”
(Have to give The Yardbirds their due.)

.

.

.

.

“Flowery Flumes” anyone?

Or is that an electrified chord from Jimi’s “Star Spangled Banner”?

.

.

.

.

Turning the camera  . . . Now what do I see?

Methinks the opening measures of “Voodoo-Child.”

(“Otta-sight!”  – as we used to say.)

.

.

.

.

Mooding-things-down a bit, I am reminded of a few memorable
Procol Harem concerts I attended in the 60s  . . .

Anyone know whatever happened to the myth-making story tellers of Rock ‘n Roll?

Remember those days sitting around in groups by candlelight and listening
to an amazing “Theme” album and then cracking out the T. S. Eliot, James Joyce or Homer and trying to figure out the “underlying meanings” hidden in
the references of the extended musical story?

Try doing that to Lady Ga-Ga!

.

.

Yep!  “A Whiter Shade of Pale” comes to mind here  . . .

(The striated glowing forms I believe are “alto stratus undulatus” –
I’m still learning …)

.

.

.

.

Did you fall “hopelessly in love” aided by the muddling
mixed-up sensuous-sensuality Tim Buckley’s music
spun as alluring gossamer skeined web?

Heaven help me  . . .

I did  . . .  A number of times  . . .  Boy that hurt!

.

.

.

.

You didn’t know that Jimi Hendrix had Geishas
in waiting back stage?

.

.

.

So who do you think “produced” the Jimi Hendrix portion of this “cloud concert”?
Michael Lang (who is my neighbor), Bob Geldof, or one of rock’s other mucky-mucks?

.

.


Nope!

Thank American, Continental or United Airlines and the nearby Albany Airport.

Those fantastic “clouds” are known as “bastard clouds”
according to Gavin Pretor-Pinney, master cloudspotter.

Contrails (after condensation trails) are catalyzed into manifestation
by the exhaust fumes of aircraft that create strange thermal tunnels
in the sky that incite those strange formations of ice crystals
that can splash the skies for many hours.  (Strangely enough, they are
among the most durable and long lasting of all cloud formations.  Scary!)

Contrails are the subject of great controversy – at least as much
as the raging debates surrounding the use of “electrified”
as opposed to “acoustic” guitars.

.

.

.

.

n o t e :

A number of friends have discussed interest in formal photography studies.
Go for it!  A word of caution, however.

Take it from one who studied “Photographic Science” at MIT:

>  Learn the rules, then break them as fast as you can (you might need to
do this in private) to discover “just who you are behind the lens”
>  Try not to take this medium too seriously
>  Beware of “peer” critiques and what others say about your photos
>  Teachers of photography lacking in a sense of humor and/or magnanimous generosity of spirit should be avoided like the plague
>  Take everything a photography instructor pronounces with a “grain of salt”
>  The “Art” of fine photography cannot be taught – it is “imbibed” over time
>  Play with your camera like you’re a 6 year-old

.   .   .

>  If you’re “really serious” about this medium, follow the priceless advice of
the late master of the medium, Minor White:

“I am constantly photographing everything in my Mind’s Eye
as a form of practice.”

.   .   .

>  “Dance” (and I mean literally) with your camera at least once a week
>   Take plenty of pictures of Clouds to lighten your being and as an “antidote”
to any serious photographic projects you might be engaged in  –  the heavens
are a great teacher
>   Flop, crop, flip, stand on your head  . . .  But for heaven’s sake, and the “sanctity of the photo-sphere” keep the cheesy-low-life Photoshop digital manipulations to a bare minimum – they’re a cheap and phony “crappy-cop-out”

.

.

. . . . . . . . .

All images captured:   07.20.2010   |   Woodstock, NY

©  2010  George J Nicholson  All Rights Reserved   |  Logo Concept   |   Images   |   Commentary

The photographic imagery appearing within this blog is protected by copyright law. Downloading images, distribution and reproduction of any nature with “commercial intent” without prior written permission of the copyright holder are strictly prohibited. Exceptions will be made in instances of inclusion within excerpts and reviews of this blog and its author’s work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Geisha with Wind Tossed Hair”

A recent fantastic “Broadway musical” sunset staging of Rockette-like cloud forms in the Western Hudson Valley skies concluded with the dissolution of those phantasmagoric forms (soon to be displayed in an upcoming post) and the appearance of wispy dark veils, glowing cloud shards and a slow sinking mound of molten glowing forms.

In reviewing the take, I was reminded of a particular minimalist composition that I had spent considerable time framing with different camera orientations.  When one is playing behind the camera and composing cloudscapes, I feel it is one’s inalienable right to view the skies from whatever angle one’s child-like imagination chooses.  I do remember projecting the figure of an eye behind a veil of tossed hair, but did not make the poetic association to a Geisha until this evening’s review.  I am reminded of the “hospitality hosts” that I had seen elegantly attired and scurrying about wood and cobblestone pathways as evening fell in Kyoto, during my visit to that mysterious city in 1977.

My guess is that memory still resonates somewhere within me, and this delicate and fleeting composition of cloud forms brought it to the forefront of my awareness.

.

.

“Geisha with Wind Tossed Hair”

.

.

.

.

Following is an image of the sunset context within which the above frame was captured. It is readily apparent that my photographer’s eye was duly engaged, as the previous composition is not necessarily obvious.  Ten variations on the the scene were captured. “Something” kept me at it until my intuition was finally satisfied.  The ninth and tenth captures anchor that minimalist “portrait.”  I was very pleased to not be disappointed by the results, as there are never any guarantees.  Often photographic results do not live up to the emotional charge one felt at the moment of capture.  Not this time.

.

.

There is a “Geisha” hiding in that scene.

.

.

.

n    o    t    e  :

It had been a while since I had seen an image of a Geisha.  A quick google search landed two images that echo the association I had made to the “tossed hair,” though “my Geisha” has apparently faced some pretty strong air currents.

. . . . . . . . .

Images captured:   07.20.2010   |   Woodstock, NY

©  2010  George J Nicholson  All Rights Reserved   |  Logo Concept   |   Images   |   Commentary

*  Images referenced here may be subject to copyright.  Sources:  Left ;  Right

**  This blog holds no commercial value and is published for educational and recreational purposes only, with gratitude to the Internet community and generous organizations and entities such as WordPress that encourage free, wholesome and creative exchange

The photographic imagery appearing within this blog is protected by copyright law. Downloading images, distribution and reproduction of any nature with “commercial intent” without prior written permission of the copyright holder are strictly prohibited. Exceptions will be made in instances of inclusion within excerpts and reviews
of this blog and its author’s work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“GENIE” ~ UPDATE ~

If you’ve been following this series since its inception, you may remember an early post entitled A Quintessence of Clouds wherein I track the opening of a new day via a series of quickly shapeshifting cloud formations.

I noted the sudden appearance of what looked like a genie that had just escaped containment, I reprise that image offering and caption here:

.

.


The Daybreak Genie has been let out of last night’s bottle.

.

.

Well, that genie dissolved – or so I thought – as I went about my merry way.

Not so fast!  As any kid will tell you, genies are tricky and elusive and highly prone to reappearing when one least expects it.

A few days ago, as I made the final jog in my long driveway, enjoying the somewhat amorphous cloud covered sky, the sun broke through the dense cloud-cover and sent me a “signal” to stop the car, get out and look around.  The current clouds on parade did not engage my photographer’s eye, but I sensed something coming.  I fetched the Leica, relaxing as I leaned back against the side of the car and waited.

Then suddenly, I saw it!  The genie, yes the genie. Laughing at me from its Colossus-like towering position, high overhead.

I learned that the genie that has apparently taken up residence over my property is a “friendly genie” – (the best kind – and the only kind I wish to befriend).  And so, after a minor negotiation, genie agreed to take a break and enter my uncorked “camera bottle.”

+  +  +

Seconds later, the sky evidenced no signs of the genie for as far as the eye could see – gone in a flash, just like that first time.

Meet my property’s friendly genie, wishing to say hello to ya’all.

.

.

. . .  “I am a Friendly Genie!  . . .

. . .  “And yes, your wish is my command  . . .

. . .  “(Just keep it clean)”  . . .

.

.

.

. . . . . . . . .

Image captured:   07.18.2010   |   Woodstock, NY

©  2010  George J Nicholson  All Rights Reserved   |  Logo Concept   |   Images   |   Commentary

The photographic imagery appearing within this blog is protected by copyright law. Downloading images, distribution and reproduction of any nature with “commercial intent” without prior written permission of the copyright holder are strictly prohibited. Exceptions will be made in instances of inclusion within excerpts and reviews
of this blog and its author’s work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment