Saturday, August 13, 2011

"America's Next Top Cumulonimbus"

Moonrise over Warwick Neck and Narragansett Bay, August 10, 2011

What I missed most during our decades in the city were big skies. I wanted to see the sun coming up in the morning and setting in the evening, as we had during our years in Little Compton. I longed to be a spectator at nature's cloud shows – not just staring straight up between buildings and trees at fragments of white and blue and gray, but taking in the awesome sweep of incoming fronts, squall lines, and tumbling cumulonimbus.

We moved to our bayside location four summers ago, and I've been like a drunk at at a frat party: greedily inhaling the sky shows with my eyes and, really, my whole being. This blog was born of my compulsive need to record sunsets in particular but also other sky and cloud phenomena. Something's always happening up there! And we get to see it all, from sunrise and moonrise over Warwick Neck to scary storm systems overhead to painterly sunsets. Edna St. Vincent Millay spoke for me in her poem, "God's World" (1917):

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
Thy mists, that roll and rise! …
Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart…

Several evenings ago, a gloriously threatening line of thunderheads (above) began bundling together just north of us. The largest one was blown into a characteristic flat-topped anvil by high-altitude winds. Out on the beach path with Yogi, I followed these billowing wonders with my camera.

Thunderheads loom over our neighbors Tom and Karen's house.

We did not, after all, get the storm (it struck farther north) – a pattern fairly typical here, possibly because warm air rising over Narragansett Bay forms a barrier to weak incoming fronts. Instead, we watched a runway show of whipped-cream cumulus models strutting their stuff, shaking a platinum mane as if to say, "We've got your number."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Prisms and rays

An intense pop-up thundershower raced through Warwick from the northwest, leaving beauty in its wake – including this rainbow over Warwick Neck. Wave "hi" to the moon.

Sunset over Oakland Beach (above and, shortly afterward, below).

Bye, bye, birdies. A little girl had just run down the beach, waving her hands and yelling happily at the gulls.

Later, receding thunderheads reflect the red setting sun.

If you click on any photo, you can see it larger and with better detail.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I wasn't expecting to see this sort of show tonight. It had been overcast and gray (and chilly!) when I walked Daisy around 6 pm. But Mother Nature wasn't done with us. I glanced out our front window and ran for my camera.

My mantra when photographing something beautiful in the sky: Turn around and see what's happening behind you. This was the sunset's reflection in our front window.

Click to see the photographs larger.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cloud carnival

The first photo was what I saw when I stepped onto the front porch a short while ago. Crazy clouds!

I walked down the street onto the beach and watched charcoal shapes that looked like whirling tops and charging elephants, shot through with coral spotlights. It was all weirdly festive.

And a little sinister, too.

Wheee! That concludes tonight's show. Thanks for watching.

Windswept magnificence

You shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow,
For the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you …
(Isaiah 60: 5)

Reflected sunset over Greenwich Bay to our southwest, June 6, 2010.

Sometimes I can't get beyond gushy clich├ęs when it comes to these photo entries. Last evening we had a tornado watch, but thankfully instead of a twister we got a fast-moving, rumbly thunderstorm and high winds. Just as the rain (but not the wind) stopped, I walked the path around our beach and caught the sun as it set in the west-northwest.

The fresh breeze was exhilarating after two days of drippy humidity. In my tank top and shorts, I shivered a bit – but mostly with the sheer fineness of being by the sea amid such glory, the adored scents of salt water and wild roses, the rough caress of the northwesterly wind. My toes dug themselves into fine sand as I braced the camera and fired off shot after shot.

Photography advice: Turn around. I did, and captured a bit of the sunset's reflected glory on retreating storm clouds to the south and east over Narragansett Bay.

(Remember to click on any photo to see it large.)

Shining golden in the sun's slanting rays, this tree at the end of our road tossed its head wildly.

Southeast over Narragansett Bay: Dark clouds, red reflections as a long June day ends.

Another view of the cloud show over Greenwich Bay.

Detail of cloud just above the setting sun.

As I walked from the western end of the walking/bike path back home, I couldn't resist one last photograph of the now-dimming, still colorful sky to the south.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Been saving these

June 2, 2010: Clouds rearrange themselves in the rosy evening glow after a storm.

My blogs have been going through a dry spell. This week, I took some nice evening sky photographs and thought I would get back to business here.

For months I feared losing my job, and lo, it came to pass. Several months have gone by since I got the news, yet occasional pangs of anger and sadness still surprise me. I find solace in our world's constants: water, air, sun, growing things, love. I also look forward to new projects, perhaps the chance to add to my skills, and some downtime this summer. I especially anticipate writing more for my own pleasure, something that slid to the bottom of my priority list. For now, I'll ease back into the blogosphere with some colorful memories.

Please click on each photograph to see it larger, and enjoy this walk with me back through the months between Christmas Eve and last night on the shores of Greenwich Bay.

June 2, 2010: Many shades of taupe, pink, and lavender.

Memorial Day eve, 2010: A glorious day approaches nightfall.

Memorial Day eve: Our sunsets have meandered far up into the northwest sky over Brushneck Cove.

April 23, 2010: Serenity

March 26, 2010: Daylight's last streaky banners.

March 1, 2010: Brilliant accents for a gray time of year.

January 12, 2010: Fiery "waves" crest over East Greenwich.

Early January, 2010: A spray of clouds bursts like fireworks over Narragansett Bay to our south.

Early January, 2010: Moments later, the clouds blossom farther across the sky to the southwest.

Early January, 2010: The grand finale, looking west as the sky begins to dim. Bravo!

January 1, 2010: Nature's graphic design project.

Christmas Eve, 2009: A very bright benediction over Greenwich Bay.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow ... aglow

On the eve of the winter solstice, the sun peeks out below departing snow clouds with her promise of longer, warmer days to come.