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Clouds

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.

Scroll down to view the complete series.

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)

Orange and blue at sunrise mean a Denver Broncos victory

Well, at least I sure hope so! This morning as I was heading out for my drive I saw the rising sun start to illuminate these gorgeous lenticular clouds above our Rocky Mountains. I raced as fast as I could to find someplace with a relatively open view to the horizon and managed a few captures before the coloring faded. Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

A lenticular cloud above the Rocky Mountains is illuminated by the morning's sunrise. (© Tony’s Takes)

A lenticular cloud above the Rocky Mountains is illuminated by the morning’s sunrise. (© Tony’s Takes)

Lenticular clouds glow at sunset. To say the show in the sky yesterday evening was amazing doesn’t do…

To say the show in the sky yesterday evening was amazing doesn’t do it justice. While a beautiful sunset unfolded to the west, my eye was drawn to the north where these fantastic lenticular clouds had formed. The glow from the sunset bathed them in orange and when set against the brilliant, blue Colorado sky… Well, it was magical!

Also known by their scientific name of altocumulus standing lenticularis, these clouds are not entirely unusual in Colorado on the Front Range during the winter. Strong jet winds force moist air to be pushed up by the rugged terrain of the adjacent Rocky Mountains. This creates a wave-like pattern of air flow that condenses at high altitudes (usually around 20,000 feet).

Lenticular clouds get an orange glow at sunset in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Lenticular clouds get an orange glow at sunset in Thornton, Colorado. (© 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)

Mammatus clouds bubble underneath a supercell thunderstorm

These are probably some of the coolest clouds you can ever see. Comprised mostly of ice, they form under the anvil of supercell thunderstorms and oftentimes are a sign of severe weather to come. These particular clouds were underneath a storm that was approaching Lamar, Colorado last Thursday, June 11, 2015. The storm brought powerful winds and hail 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

Mammatus clouds bubble underneath a supercell thunderstorm.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Mammatus clouds bubble underneath a supercell thunderstorm. (© Tony’s Takes)

Waves of clouds

While taking pictures of yesterday’s solar eclipse some clouds moved in obscuring the view right as it was nearing its maximum. These clouds in and of themselves proved to provide a pretty cool photo opportunity.

Called ‘KH Clouds’ or Kelvin-Helmholtz Clouds , these take on a form resembling a series of ocean waves. Differences in wind velocities at two different layers of air cause these cool formations. You can read more about KH Clouds here.

Kelvin-Helmoltz Clouds near Denver. (© Tony’s Takes)

Kelvin-Helmoltz Clouds near Denver. (© Tony’s Takes)

 

Closeup of Kelvin-Helmoltz Clouds near Denver. (© Tony’s Takes)

Closeup of Kelvin-Helmoltz Clouds near Denver. (© Tony’s Takes)

Wild light: Iridescent clouds add rainbow colors to orange sunset

This image, ‘wild light’, was taken at sunset near Loveland, Colorado. As always the colors were absolutely stunning as the sun went down behind the Rocky Mountains.

What is equally cool is the clouds – notice their iridescence.

Cloud iridescence is caused by clouds (usually cirrus clouds like these) 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.

Iridescent clouds add rainbow colors to orange sunset. (© Tony’s Takes)

Iridescent clouds add rainbow colors to orange sunset. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bald eagle back-lit by iridescent clouds

Driving home I saw a bald eagle in common perch along the South Platte. Despite the late afternoon low sun and the fact the eagle was back-lit pretty heavily, I decided to stop and, boy, am I glad I did.

As I prepared to take a few photos I noticed the iridescent clouds in the background.

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.

I had to brighten up the shadows a bit but all in all it was a nice shot.

February 12, 2014 - Bald eagle back-lit by iridescent clouds. (© Tony’s Takes)

February 12, 2014 – Bald eagle back-lit by iridescent clouds. (© Tony’s Takes)

Photo © Tony’s Takes. Image is available for purchase as a print or for digital use. Please don’t steal, my prices aren’t particularly expensive. For more information contact me here.

A bit of a treat on a cold morning as a sun dog appeared not long after the sun rose.  The area at my work doesn’t make for a particularly photogenic foreground but it was still fun to see and capture.

February 5, 2014 - Denver sun dog. (© Tony’s Takes)

February 5, 2014 – Denver sun dog. (© Tony’s Takes)

Photo © Tony’s Takes. Image is available for purchase as a print or for digital use. Please don’t steal, my prices aren’t particularly expensive. For more information contact me here.