Friday 23 October 2009

After the Storm

Four days of low cloud, rain and a general gloom that made it dark at midday hasn’t encouraged ventures outdoors. The hills have been invisible, the air thick and grey. Even the autumn trees have seemed subdued. The rain fell thinly and steadily then became heavier and heavier, pounding on the windows and running down the garden path in rivulets. Finally it eased, just spitting lightly hour after hour. Thick clouds still swept over the sodden landscape from the south-east though. Then just as the day was ending the dull blanket of clouds began to break and shafts of light slid through. At first there was just a hint of brightness, a touch of pink on a cloud, a yellow beam of light. Then suddenly the sky was alight with swirling clouds turned yellow and orange by the sinking sun. A curving pink band of cloud hung over the Cromdale hills, edged by a tall slice of rainbow. In the west above the dark forest a firestorm raged. The birches and rowans were now rich and deep with glowing red and gold colours. Venturing out I strode across the fields marvelling at the swift change in the light, the sudden return of colour and brightness even as the night closed in. The magic only last half an hour but to be out in it, surrounded by that amazing sky, was a wonderful experience.

Photo info: Strathspey sunset. Canon EOS 450D, Canon 18-55 IS @ 55mm, 1/160 @ f5.6, ISO 200, raw file converted to JPEG in Lightroom 2.5


  1. My favourite kind of weather. Good pic.
    Le Loup.

  2. Superb.

    Reminds me a little of that incredible golden sky we enjoyed in Torridon, when you were doing the Munros and Tops, and Katarina and Ján Dulla and I joined you for Liathach way back in the 1700s (it seems a while now...).

    I enjoyed a similar (if two such phenomena could ever be alike) "rain for fire" spectacle from Bishop during my PCT hike. I was out of the mountains for resupply (this was when I'd run out of Snickers bars and had BowWowWow's "I Want Candy" song going through my head constantly) and, coming out of the big supermarket there, was stopped dead in my track by the fire pouring out of the skies on to the Sierra Nevada.

    I didn't have my camera (though I did have a couple of new memory cards in my shopping bag - they don't work without a camera) so couldn't snap it, but I'll never forget the sight, simple as that.

    A day later I set off back into the hills but was driven back by severe a lightening storm so went down to Lone Pine and drank beer in a hot tub with Nowhereman, Walking Carrot, Half Track and others.

    Thing is, if we'd've been in the hills during the rain of fire, we probably wouldn't have seen it as we wouldn't have the benefit of distance and perspective. And the fact that we'd've likely been cowering in our Tarptents from the downpour.

    Any wonder that Galen Rowell's gallery is situated in Bishop.