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Evening sky turns into a rainbow of colors

I was expecting a typically gorgeous Colorado sunset on this day not long ago but it was the pre-show about a half hour before that was the best part. Iridescent clouds appeared and turned the sky into a rainbow of colors. It was an awesome one seen from my backyard.

Cloud iridescence is caused by clouds (usually cirrus) that have small water droplets or ice crystals in them causing the light to be diffracted, or spread out. The phenomena is much like the rainbow colors seen with oil in water.

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Stunning iridescent clouds as the sun starts to set north of Denver, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Stunning iridescent clouds as the sun starts to set north of Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Iridescent clouds create a rainbow sky

A very fun weather phenomena last week over the Denver metro area. Cloud iridescence is caused by clouds (usually cirrus) that have small water droplets or ice crystals in them causing the light to be diffracted, or spread out. The phenomena is much like the #rainbow colors seen with oil in water. Unfortunately I was out for a walk when this was happening and I only had my big wildlife lens so was unable to capture the overall scene.. Nevertheless, closeups show just how cool it was.

Iridescent clouds bring a rainbow of colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

Iridescent clouds bring a rainbow of colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

Iridescent clouds bring a rainbow of colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

Iridescent clouds bring a rainbow of colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

Iridescent clouds bring a rainbow of colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

Iridescent clouds bring a rainbow of colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fresh snow and fall colors

Taken back at the end of September from Boreas Pass not far from Breckenridge, Colorado. With the arrival of autumn the aspen trees were aglow and a snow the night before had coated the mountain peaks in a blanket of white.

The mountain in the background is the 13,829-foot high Mount Silverheels. While not one of the Centennial State’s famous fourteeners, it is a gorgeous, dominating peak with a fascinating story. The mountain is named after a dance hall girl from the nearby mining town of Buckskin Joe. Her real name is unknown but she earned her nickname due to the shoes she wore when she danced.

Legend has it that during a smallpox outbreak in 1861 she used her money to bring in doctors to fight the epidemic. She remained at the foot of the mountain while most other women and children fled to Denver. While she survived the smallpox, her face was scarred by the disease and she chose to remain isolated at her home at the foot of the mountain.

Buckskin Joe is now a ghost town and every now and then people report seeing a black veiled woman at the town’s cemetery placing flowers on the graves of those who died during the smallpox epidemic.

A snow covered Mount Silverheels lies in the background while fall colors line the foreground.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A snow covered Mount Silverheels lies in the background while fall colors line the foreground. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pit stop thunderstorm

On my recent trip to the northern Rockies, our first overnight stop was in northern Wyoming in the town of Kaycee. Soon after arriving as sunset grew close, thunderstorms started to build just to our east. This particular cell was quite beautiful as it was lit by the direct sunlight to the west and the shades or orange of the soon-to-come sunset. For a time it was severe warned as it was dropping golf ball sized hail – thankfully not until it was past us.

An evening thunderstorm rattles the Wyoming plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

An evening thunderstorm rattles the Wyoming plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Short but brilliant rainbow illuminates the Great Plains’ horizon

I have said it repeatedly and I will say it again: the plains of Colorado may be relatively flat but I will put the sights found there up against those of the higher terrain of the state any day of the week. This past Friday evening was another perfect example.

Thunderstorms passed nearby where we were camping and once past, the scene that unfolded was nothing short of extraordinary. Beautiful blue skies above with dramatic storm clouds below were punctuated by one of the brightest rainbows I have ever seen in my life. The multi-colored stream was not very tall but it was very wide and very bright.

My pictures of it truly don’t do it justice – it was nothing short of extraordinary.

A brilliant partial rainbow descends from a thunderstorm on Colorado's Great Plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A brilliant partial rainbow descends from a thunderstorm on Colorado’s Great Plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ominous skies on the Colorado plains

Ominous skies on the Colorado plains. Frustrating! I could have had a nice little backyard storm chase yesterday except my phone went for a swim the night before and was dead to the world. Without it, I would have had to chase incommunicado and without data and that would not have been smart or safe. However, I couldn’t resist at least taking a peek. 😉

These storm cells had passed over the north Denver metro area about a half hour before, dropping copious amounts of rain and hail. It was fun to get out and just stand underneath them and marvel at the power of Mother Nature.

Scroll down to view more of the images from the day’s storms.

Thunderstorms roll across the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Thunderstorms roll across the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Oil pumpjack and Longs Peak on a bone chilling, frosty morning

This is a scene I have captured in the past but never on a morning quite like this one. Taken on January 10, an extraordinarily thick hoar frost and covered the entire area. In the background, a snow-covered 14,259 high Longs Peak is seen. Sunrise cast the entire scene in an amber glow. Temperatures were at only about 10 degrees so I opted to capture this image from the warmth of my truck.  😉

This image is available for purchase here.

An oil pumpjack on the frost-covered plains with a snow-covered Longs Peak in the background. (© Tony’s Takes)

An oil pumpjack on the frost-covered plains with a snow-covered Longs Peak in the background. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red Tailed Hawk waits out the fog and frost

Chilly temperatures, frost and thick fog yesterday morning had activity on the plains at a standstill. Driving around, if something was more than 30 feet from my truck I wasn’t going to see it.

Wildlife as well was hampered by the conditions with raptors staying put on their perches, waiting for the weather to clear. As things finally started to break, I came across this hawk huddled up on an old, rusted out windmill. The muted colors caused by the drab conditions make this image work for me.

A Red Tailed Hawk waits for the fog to clear while roosted on an old windmill on a farm in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Tailed Hawk waits for the fog to clear while roosted on an old windmill on a farm in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Dense fog envelops powerlines and the road

A very interesting – and pretty – morning of ??weather? here in northeastern ??Colorado?. Temperatures were in the single digits and a hoar frost had covered everything in white. Also thrown in the mix was dense ??fog?, something we don’t get very often.

All of it came together for some nice pictures including this one on a dirt road. The fog had settled into a low lying area that the South Platte River meanders through and as it did, it seemed to swallow up everything going through it.

Dense fog in Adams County, Colorado envelops a rural road and massive powerlines. (© Tony’s Takes)

Dense fog in Adams County, Colorado envelops a rural road and massive powerlines. (© Tony’s Takes)

An electrified desert

New Mexico is not a state that normally comes to mind when you think of spring severe weather. However, thunderstorms rolling across the high desert of the eastern part of the state can be quite impressive. With warm, moist air from the south clashing with cold air from the north, storms in the area are capable of generating large amounts of hail and become very electrified.

Such was the case with this storm in June 2015 near Tucumcari. With a surprisingly green desert below and a supercell thunderstorm above, the scene was dramatic. The heavy rain and hail at the storm’s core are seen in the distance while a bolt of lightning pops from the storm’s leading edge. As my son and I watched this storm, we could not help but be awed at the power and the beauty.

Lightning pops from a supercell thunderstorm in New Mexico. (© Tony’s Takes)

Lightning pops from a supercell thunderstorm in New Mexico. (© Tony’s Takes)

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