Sunday, October 11, 2015


Last Thursday the sky went crazy. It started out beautiful before sunrise with wind-blown cirrus in a blue sky and wavy streaks of light at the horizon. Lovely.
The sun hadn't come up yet above the mountains, but the hints were there. I zoomed in to get a better look at that wavy light.
I had run outside early to see if I could catch a glimpse of the moon, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. Yes, they were there, floating in and out of the cirrus above the rising sun. Oh what a beautiful morning it was.

But all day long the sky kept changing, making a cloud lover like me run for the camera every five minutes. But then around 4:00 in the afternoon the sun and clouds met and created some of the most beautiful iridescent clouds I had seen a long while. Here is a screen grab from the downloaded photos straight from the camera.
I added the above screen grab, hoping you'll click on it and see what the sky looked like. Except, of course, the sky didn't look like that exactly. The blue is off a bit. It was both a lighter, but deeper blue. The iridescent colors were stunningly vivid, and yet the camera only picked up somewhat softer hints of it. Or maybe my eyes see things differently from the way a camera set to "auto everything" does. I don't know.

So I picked a few photos and tried to see if I could photoshop them to look the way my eyes saw the sky.

Yes, this what I saw.
I ran to the front of the house to see if I could get a different perspective, hide the sun behind the roof peak rather than behind the big cypress in the yard. Oh wow. The clouds had already changed a bit.
These colors were beautiful, but in a laconusus formation they were crazy wavy and curlicue wild.
I plan to send some of these to the Cloud Appreciation Society. I'm hoping they'll like the iridescent lacunosus. I know I have never seen anything like it. I just love when the sky goes a little crazy like this. These last four photos are seven minutes of sky and memorable for a lifetime.


  1. Imagine.
    Above us only sky!
    (John Lennon b. October 9, 1940)

    Love your photos of iridescence, robin andrea.

    Last Friday there was a sunrise here that everyone has been talking about. It happened on John Lennon's birthday. It began with deep red touches in the east on the dark grey wispy clouds that covered all of the sky and at its peak, so many clouds in every direction were lit by red, orange and golden light. The blue sky visible to the east and north took on those colors. Very unusual for Whatcom County. Reminded me of sunrises I saw in the late 1960s on the Southern California coast. I've seen many beautiful sunrises here but don't recall seeing one so all encompassing and so talked about.

    Imagine all the people living lives in peace.

  2. I am so happy you could recreate what you saw. My camera never sees what I do.
    You have trained me to sky watch which I do at least once a day from my hammock. Never yet have I seen an iridescent cloud. I keep hoping.

  3. am-- I would have loved to have seen that sunrise. It must have been beautiful. Yes, above us only sky. Imagine.

    Arkansas Patti-- It's an interesting challenge trying to remember the hue of blue in the sky. I keep thinking I should learn how to use my camera. I'm so glad you are keeping an eye on the sky. The secret of iridescence is that it occurs close enough to sunlight which illuminates the ice crystals in the clouds. You can't look directly at the sun, but radiating out from it, there can be color. True of iridescence and coronas.

  4. Robin Andrea: We definitely don't get iridescent clouds here in the northern Piedmont like you do in northern California. The last four shots ARE spectacular.

  5. Scott-- Iridescent clouds happen everywhere, but you might have a better shot at seeing them when you get to Colorado. Big open skies, lots of sunlight and plenty of changing cloud formations. Really glad you liked the photos.

  6. Wow, these clouds are amazing! Thanks for catching them.

  7. isabelita-- Yes, catching them is the hard part. They are so ephemeral.

  8. Dazzling! I like how you aligned the second photo: I had to look closely to be sure what was happening there!
    This is the time of year we get a lot of iridescence, with sun and low humidity. If it's humid, fugetaboutit. Do let us know if you hear back from the CAS.

  9. I get such delight in these posts...thank you! :-)

  10. CCorax-- I love knowing that you see iridescent clouds there. I had not thought about the impact of humidity. So interesting. The second photo was shot zoomed in between the roof of the two houses across the street. If you take a good look at those roofs, you'll see the effect of fog on the old wooden shakes, lots and lots of moss and lichens.

    MandT-- So glad you like these posts. I'm obsessed, but you already knew that about me! LOL!

  11. I tried to comment from my laptop but for some reason it won't work, so I have to use my desktop computer, which we rarely use any more. Anyway, the iridescent clouds are really wonderful. I often have to photoshop my shots to get them to look like what I actually saw. The camera just can't capture it, at least not without using some techniques that I'm not familiar enough with.

  12. Mark-- Roger has a hard time commenting on blogger when he is using Firefox. I think he has to comment from a different browser. Glad you liked these iridescent clouds. I was so happy to see such colors and glad Photoshop helped me recreate them.