January, Droid Shots, St.Paul, Minnesota, January 2016, photo © 2016 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Archive for the ‘Skies’ Category
Posted in Art, Haiku, Photography, Practice, Seasons, Skies, Things That Fly, Wake Up, Weather, tagged circles, diamond dust, gogyohka, haiga, ice crystals, ice halos, parhelia, parhelic circles, plate crystals, refraction, sundogs, the 22º halo, Vädersolstavlan, What is a sundog?, winter in Minnesota on December 9, 2013 | 3 Comments »
Sundog Halo, iPhone Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 2013, photo © 2013 by Liz Anne Schultz. All rights reserved.
in a dark world—
her crystal face, silent, skewed.
Deviant rays of red and blue,
diamond dust takes many hues.
There were two days last week when sundogs appeared on our drive to work, adding a little magic to the sub-zero skies. Sundogs, parhelia, are formed by plate crystals high in the cirrus clouds. Though all crystals refract light from the sun’s rays, we only see those that tilt their light toward our eyes 22° or more from the sun and at the same altitude (a 22° circular halo).
When plate crystals drift down with their large hexagonal faces almost horizontal, rays that become sundogs enter a side face and leave through another, inclined 60° to the first. The refractions deviate the rays by 22° or more, depending on their angle when they enter the crystal, making them visible to us. Red is deviated least, giving the sundog a red inner edge.
Sundogs are visible all over the world, any time of year, regardless of the ground temperature. In cold climates, the plates can reside at ground level as diamond dust. The oldest known account of a sundog is “Sun Dog Painting” (Vädersolstavlan) depicting Stockholm in 1535 when the skyscape was filled with white circles and arcs crossing the horizon. The original oil on panel painting, traditionally attributed to Urban Målare, is lost, and virtually nothing is known about it. A copy from 1636 by Jacob Heinrich Elbfas is held in Storkyrkan in Stockholm, and believed to be an accurate copy.
-posted on red Ravine, Monday, December 9th, 2013
Posted in Family, Holding My Breath, Life, Nature, Personal, Place, Practice, Relationships, Seasons, Skies, Things That Fly, Topic Writing, Weather, Writing Practices, tagged black clouds, clouds, dust bowl, Marylin Schultz, memoir writing, red Ravine Guests, the practice of writing, total darkness, writing about clouds on August 27, 2012 | 10 Comments »
By Marylin Schultz
Clouds of black dirt rolled across the plains of midwest America in the late 1920’s and the 1930’s, giving a generic name to the era, “the dirty thirties,” as well as “the dust bowl” to the affected land. PBS has publicized a Ken Burns’ documentary on that bleak time in our country’s history, and I have a personal story to add, told to me by my mother.
My parents were married in 1932, a brave and hopeful couple, living more on dreams than dollars. Although my father was employed in the insurance company begun by his father in Childress, Texas, before the “crash of 1929,” most of his income came from commissions, and insurance was considered a luxury by many people during those poor economic times. He was in charge of the branch office in Albuquerque.
The first child was born to the couple in 1934. My mother decided to visit her mother who lived in Amarillo. She was on a bus with her infant, about halfway through their journey east, when a cold wind picked up. Off in the distance was an unbelievable sight. In the sky, to the north, a huge black wall seemed to be approaching them. A wave of darkness, reaching from the ground, hundreds of feet into the sky, was rapidly rolling towards them. The driver pulled the bus off of the road and hurried down the aisle with a container of water, shouting an explanation and directions.
“It’s top-soil, comin’ fast, and here’s what you got to do. Dampen your handkerchiefs with this water and hold it over your nose and mouth, ‘else you’ll choke to death!” My mother was terrified, especially for her infant. She carefully dipped two handkerchiefs into the offered water and tied one across her baby’s face and the other across her own. Of course, the tiny infant was upset by the unusual circumstances and began crying. The anxious mother hugged him to her breast and tried to comfort the struggling child.
“Close your eyes,” the driver continued, now back in his seat. “We just got to wait it out and hope it don’t take long to pass by us.”
The black cloud was now upon them. It was darker than a moonless night; absolute, total darkness. The bitter, cold wind shook the bus. With the eerie whistling of the wind came muffled screams and moans of some of the passengers. The few minutes it took for the cloud to move beyond the bus, seemed like a long journey down into the depths of hell and back!
The welcome relief of stillness and daylight lasted several minutes, before anyone spoke.
“Everyone okay back there?” the driver called out. Then, like a flood, the comments came forth. Exclamations of the incredible experience filled the air. Dirty faces now emerged, but with grins that showed how no one minded “a little dirt,” because they all survived the momentary terror!
Many years later, my mother and I were tourists in the Black Hills of South Dakota, being guided through a deep cave. The tour guide, as part of his usual lecture, turned off the lights to let us experience the total darkness. However, he did not tell the group ahead of time, that this was his intention. The result of being plunged, once more, into total darkness, my Mom grabbed my arm and screamed! When the light was turned on, she gave a brief, embarrassed explanation of the fright she had experienced so long ago.
Posted in Nature, Place, Practice, Seasons, Skies, Things That Fly, Topic Writing, Wake Up, Weather, Writing Practices, tagged Bob Chrisman, change of seasons, clouds, drought, missing the rain, red Ravine Guests, summer heat, the practice of writing, trees, turning leaves, writing about clouds on August 26, 2012 | 2 Comments »
By Bob Chrisman
Clouds disappear in the night sky here in the city. Before the sun sat, gray clouds had covered the sky and now I can’t see anything except a dark gray sky. If I go outside and sit on the steps I’ll be able to see the cloud cover because the spotlight from the disowned Frank Lloyd Wright on the Plaza will shine off the clouds and I’ll know if the clouds have gone away.
The summer has been free of cloud for the most part. We look with anticipation at any cloud that floats across the sky. Rain? Will it bring showers? The cloud floats by and leaves the ground dry.
The clouds have passed over us, except for a rare sprinkle here and there. You can almost hear the trees sigh with relief as any water, no matter how little, falls on them. They swallow it up and beg for more, but this summer, more has not come their way.
The edges of the leaves have dehydrated as though the moisture had leaked out of them—some leaf vampires have attacked all the leaves on every tree. The victims of these vampires turn brown and fall to the ground. Color has left the leaves and turned them to a dull green. A few have turned a pale yellow, but for the most part only shades of brown are visible on the trees.
We will have rain tonight. That’s what the weather people say. Showers. But, at almost 9 p.m. the air is warm and still. The cicadas saw away in the trees outside, a deafening chorus that arrived early this year.
Everything has come early this year: the heat, the drought, the turning leaves. The only thing that hasn’t come at all is a cloud to relieve the thirsty earth.
Posted in 25 Things, Photography, Place, Practice, Skies, Structure, Things That Fly, Vision, Wake Up, Weather, Word Of The Day, Writing Topics, tagged alto, cirrus, clouds, cloudy, cumulus, fun facts about clouds, Luke Howard, meteorology, names of clouds, nimbus, photos of clouds, sky, stratus, the practice of writing, types of clouds, weather patterns, WMO, writing about clouds on August 21, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Missing Ely’s Sky – 23/365, Archive 365, Droid Shots, Ely, Minnesota, photo © 2012 by Liz Schultz. All rights reserved.
Clouds are connectors. We see cloud formations as recognizable, weather predicting puffs of air. Clouds are classified using a Latin Linnean system based on a book written by a London pharmacist, Quaker, and amateur meteorologist named Luke Howard. In 1803, he wrote The Modifications of Clouds naming the various cloud structures he had studied.
The terms used by Howard were readily accepted by the meteorological community and detailed in The International Cloud Atlas, published by the World Meteorological Organization in 1896. They are still used across the world today.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) extended Luke Howard’s classifications into 10 main groups of clouds, called genera. These are divided into three levels – cloud low (CL), cloud medium (CM) and cloud high (CH) – according to the part of the atmosphere in which they are usually found. Types of clouds can be categorized by height and are divided up by the following names:
|Cloud level (ft)||Cloud type|
|High clouds – (CH) Base usually 20,000 ft or above|
|Medium clouds – (CM) Base usually between 6,500 and 20,000 ft|
|Low clouds – (CL) Base usually below 6,500 ft|
The names of clouds are based on their height as well as their appearance. Common cloud names are derived from Latin:
- Stratus— means layer and refers to the group of clouds that form in big sheets covering the entire sky. Stratus clouds are made of liquid water and are called fog or mists when close to the Earth. The blend of altostratus can cause ice build up on the wings of aircraft.
- Cumulus—in Latin cumulus means heap. These are fair-weather clouds that we might say look like cotton candy or castles.
- Alto—means middle and refers to clouds that are in the middle layer of our atmosphere.
- Cirrus—means curl in Latin. These clouds are high up and look like wisps of hair. Cirrus are the highest of all clouds and are made up almost entirely of ice crystals.
- Nimbus—comes from the Latin word for rain. Whenever there is precipitation, there are nimbus clouds.
Shadow Leaves, Dusk On The Mississippi, photos © 2007-
2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
What do you think of when you say the word cloud? Do you see the Universe, fog hanging on the mountains, the sky over the prairie? How many types of clouds can you name. Or maybe cloud to you is not that literal. Is your iced tea cloudy; are there clouds in your coffee? Is there a cloud over your day or your mood? Does your past cloud your vision of the future?
Get out your fast writing pens and write the Topic Cloud at the top of your spiral notebook (or start tapping away on your computer or Smartphone).
You can write a haiku, tanka, or gogyohka practice and post it in the comments.
Or you may be surprised at what you discover when you follow the rules of Writing Practice —- Cloud, 10 minutes, Go!
Cotton Cloudiness, Top Of The Cedar Avenue Bridge, photo ©
2008-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
Posted in Art, Art of Rebellion, Culture, Holding My Breath, Photography, Place, Relationships, Skies, Vision, Wake Up, tagged #NSPK, @Northern_Spark, building community through the Arts, creative insomniacs, creative spaces, Jim Campbell, lightbulbs, making light of the dark, Minneapolis at night, Minnesota Arts, night photography, nightowls, Northern Spark, nuit blanche, public art, Scattered Light, sleepless night, spring in Minnesota, The Nuit Blanche Movement, the value of the Arts, Think & Wonder, Twin Cities, white night on June 2, 2012 | 7 Comments »
Night On Fire, BlackBerry Shots, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Original BlackBerry photo June 2011, part of Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche.
Northern Spark 2012 begins next weekend in the Twin Cities at dusk on Saturday, June 9th and ends at the crack of dawn, Sunday, June 10th. Northern Spark is a free, dusk to dawn, participatory arts festival that presents visual arts, performance, films, and interactive media. Tonight at the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis we plan to attend the Pre-Spark Bridge Lighting where planners will flip the switch for Northern Spark’s signature artwork, Robin Schwartzman’s THINK AND WONDER, WONDER AND THINK. They will also be giving out festival guidebooks to preview before June 9.
Last year’s inaugural Northern Spark was magical. In 2011, over the course of the night, there were 50,000 visits to 100 projects by more than 200 mostly local artists at 34 venues in collaboration with 60 partner organizations and sponsors. I have listed a few of the places we visited in 2011 and a little history of the Nuit Blanche (“white night”) movement in the piece Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche.
The three photographs in this piece were taken while I was standing in the middle of Jim Campbell’s Scattered Light installation, part of Northern Spark 2011. In Annotated Artwork: The Making Of Jim Campbell’s ‘Scattered Light‘, Jim says moving from 2-D to 3D art is about “exploding an image, tearing it apart, and spreading it out.” His tips: 1. Pick a spot 2. Grab Source Material 3. Turn it into code 4. Create depth 5. Consider the planet. Honoring point 5, he and his assistants revamped thousands of standard lightbulbs, sawed them open, stuffed them with LEDs, and glued them back together, making handmade, unique, energy-efficient hybrids.
I am looking forward to Northern Spark 2012. At the Northern Spark website, there is a Planning Your Night page with a full list of events, including a link to download their new Northern Spark mobile app. We’ve already got ours loaded on our Androids. I only hope there is enough time to make all the events we’ve listed. It’s perfect for all of our fellow NightOwls! Hope to see our local readers there! If you can’t make it, you can follow Northern Spark on their Facebook page and at Twitter @Northern_Spark #NSPK.
Out Of The Darkness (L), #NorthernSpark – Scattered Light by Jim Campbell 23/52 (R), BlackBerry Shots, photo © 2011 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Original BlackBerry photos June 2011, part of Northern Spark — Twin Cities Nuit Blanche.
-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, June 2nd, 2012