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Weather

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)

Iridescent Clouds Backlight Bald Eagle

Driving home from work on a chilly, late winter afternoon, I was on the lookout for Bald Eagles as usual but was particularly taken with a stunning display of iridescent clouds to the west.

As I crossed a bridge over the South Platte River north of Denver , I saw an eagle was sitting in a common roosting spot.  Very quickly I pulled off the side of the road and whipped out my camera.  My jaw dropped at the scene that was unfolding.

Multiple layers of rainbow colored clouds spread across much of the horizon behind the raptor.  It was an impressive, once in a lifetime scene that I was ecstatic to be able to capture.

Minimal editing of these images was done, mainly just in the form of bringing up the shadows and darkening the highlights a bit.

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.

Taken February 12, 2014.  I was able to get a number of pictures of this unique event. Scroll down to view more.

A Bald Eagle sits proudly with rainbow colored iridescent clouds behind it.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bald Eagle sits proudly with rainbow colored iridescent clouds behind it. (© Tony’s Takes)

Severe thunderstorm rolls across the Colorado plains

This beast of a storm had some incredibly cool clouds on its underside.  The hail roar as it passed by was absolutely amazing and went on for 20 minutes straight.

Hail roar is oftentimes mistaken for thunder but is in fact the rumbling sound of hailstones cycling up and down within the storms structure and smashing into each other.  It usually sounds like a low rumble, generally constant in tone and volume.

Seeing a storm like this is cool; hearing it adds to the excitement and drama.

A severe thunderstorm rolls across the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A severe thunderstorm rolls across the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Foreboding clouds

Whether they spawn a tornado or not, the clouds of a supercell thunderstorm are a thing of beauty to me. The overall structure can be extraordinary and its scale immense or, as in this picture, one part of it can show the drama on a finer level.

Here, a lowering in the storm’s structure draws your eye as it passes over a field. It is an intense scene, one which can’t help but make you wonder if a twister isn’t to follow soon (unfortunately it did not). Image taken near Lamar, Colorado on June 11, 2015.

A supercell thunderstorm near Lamar, Colorado look particularly ominous as part of it lowers toward the ground. (© Tony’s Takes)

A supercell thunderstorm near Lamar, Colorado look particularly ominous as part of it lowers toward the ground. (© Tony’s Takes)

The stormy road ahead

Scud clouds from a severe thunderstorm in New Mexico loom ominously over a road in the high desert. Most folks wouldn’t think of the Land of Enchantment as a place to go to view severe weather. However the state does see impressive thunderstorms and the unique landscape provides for some very picturesque scenes.

We caught up to this storm not long after it dropped copious amounts of hail on Interstate 25. As it moved into less well-traveled areas, it became quite electrified and ominous.

Scud clouds ahead of a thunderstorm pass over a New Mexico road.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Scud clouds ahead of a thunderstorm pass over a New Mexico road. (© Tony’s Takes)

Lightning illuminates a nocturnal beast

Severe thunderstorms can be intimidating enough during broad daylight. Let the sun set and the 75mph winds, tennis ball size hail, and tornado warnings can be downright scary for those in the storm’s path.

Normally you wouldn’t see much of the storm – or perhaps a brief glimpse. However in this case, the lightning was letting loose with multiple flashes per second. Enough in fact that in a 3 second exposure, virtually the entire structure of this massive supercell thunderstorm is seen.

Watching it was like staring at a strobe light and some of my fellow storm chasers even remarked that it made them feel disoriented. Notice how the storm absolutely dwarfs the grain elevator below. Taken near Springfield, Colorado on June 11, 2015.

A supercell thunderstorm in Colorado is illuminate at night by numerous lightning strikes.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A supercell thunderstorm in Colorado is illuminate at night by numerous lightning strikes. (© Tony’s Takes)

The little funnel that couldn’t

I did my best to provide encouragement and support but it just wasn’t meant to be. The funnel tried, really tried, but it just couldn’t get its act together to become a tornado in western Nebraska last week. 😉

BTW, notice the hawk that happened to photobomb this pic toward the top right.

A funnel cloud appears at the base of a thunderstorm while a hawk soars through the air. (© Tony’s Takes)

A funnel cloud appears at the base of a thunderstorm while a hawk soars through the air. (© Tony’s Takes)