365 Nature – Day 54

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


9780811875424_largeIn a book on my shelf I found a group who stand for much of what’s captured my attention over the last two months; The Cloud Appreciation Society. I have posted more then a couple spectacularly cloudy skies for my 365 Nature project and I’ve stopped many times along Lake Washington to take photos of the wonderful clouds. Recently I happened to pick up a book from my shelves which I’d only previously flipped through and took another look at it. The book is The Cloud Collector’s Handbook written by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and it’s not only a really fun book, but an informative one as well. I will confess climatology was not my strongest class when I was at the university, but I live in the Pacific Northwest, the weather cannot be ignored. I still possess a desire to learn about it.

This book is a bit like a field guide for clouds. It has checklists for each cloud type and that cloud’s species and varieties. But unlike a bird guide you get points for the clouds you ‘collect’. For example you get 15 points for any Cumulus cloud, but another 15 points for each species- humilis, mediocris, congestus and fractus. In the front you can keep a running tally of your points. Like field guides there are photos of the different types of clouds along with a description of what they look like and where and when they may be encountered. There is even room on each entry to note your own sightings with the date, time, location and other information.

The book has the 10 main cloud types followed by notable species and varieties, accessory clouds and supplementary features, other clouds and cloud optical effects. The photos in the book are all from members of the Cloud Appreciation Society, “a global organization that fights ‘blue-sky thinking'”. That sentiment is something I greatly appreciate, the blue skies of summer are dull, dull, dull. Taking photos of a blue sky is unexciting, add some dramatic clouds and the photo is transformed. All of my favorite photos of landscapes I’ve taken include clouds. Some of my favorites are in the slideshow above.

Long live clouds!

 

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She founded The Metropolitan Field Guide in 2009 and has contributed articles to aincluding Crosscut, ParentMap and National Wildlife Magazine. She holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

She is currently writing a book about urban nature to be published by Mountaineers Books in 2019.
Kelly Brenner
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