Upside-down clouds grow down and cascade across the Kansas sky | New Scientist

Upside-down clouds grow down and cascade across the Kansas sky | New Scientist

AFTER chasing a severe storm across the Kansas plains for several hours, photographer Mitch Dobrowner was rewarded with this shot of the scalloped clouds that developed in its aftermath.

“The interesting part about photographing storms is that you never know what’s going to appear,” Dobrowner says. “The scenery, the composition, the lighting is constantly changing.”

These are mammatus clouds, created when moist air drops into dry air below in a reversal of the usual upwards cloud formation – they are essentially upside-down clouds. In this case, they appeared just in time to catch the dramatic early evening light, then dissipated over the next few hours. Though the clouds were formed by violent, vertical draughts, Dobrowner says the air where he stood to take the photo was eerily still and quiet.

When he’s shooting landscapes instead of storms, Dobrowner can afford to wait for the lighting he’s looking for because the rocks stay where they are. “Photographing storms, I have to be much more fleet-footed,” he says. “I just go to wherever the weather is.”

Immersing himself in the environment allows him to capture the essence of storms, which he views almost as living organisms. “I’m trying to take a portrait of these storms before they die,” Dobrowner says. “They’ll never be like that again.”


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