Caroline Shipsey

Monday, 9 July 2007

The Cloud Appreciation Society

We have hardly seen the sun for weeks in this part of Somerset, and if we were not on the top of a hill then this would be Blog from the Bog as well as from the Fog. So when I discovered a book called The Cloudspotters Guide I thought it may give me new perspective on the grey, rain-filled skies that dominate our weather just now.

For a small fee I joined The Cloud Appreciation Society, the benefits of which are a membership certificate, and a BADGE !! One the main aims of the Society is to fight "the banality of blue sky thinking" - well, as a landscape photographer I couldn't agree more with that. Less than 12 hours though, after joining, I awoke to find the rain had cleared and the sky was clear, and BLUE. It didn't last long and by the time I had drunk my first coffee of the day the clouds were forming, awaiting my appreciation.

It is going to be great fun learning the names of clouds, what their implications are for the forthcoming weather and so on. I've started a gallery of Clouds on my personal website as an aid to recognizing and committing them to memory.

This new interest opens the door for photography on days when I otherwise wouldn't have considered it. Landscape photography for me, has always been just as much about what the cloud formation looks like as the land itself, and as a consequence, if the sky is virtually cloudless, then I wouldn't consider taking a photograph. My favorite clouds were those with windows in them, casting patches of light like a torch beam, lighting features or buildings as they passed. Now I can also take pictures with impunity on cloudy days where there is no light falling on the land because these will be cloudscapes not landscapes - Yipeeeeee!!