Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Head in the Lenticular Clouds - Mount Hood

"A cloudless plain blue sky is like a flowerless garden." - Terri Guillemets

If you have spent much time looking at my pictures, you might be tempted to believe that every time I walk out the door with my camera, the weather and lighting are perfect, and the photography muses are being generous to me. I have to tell you, that's just not the case. Sometimes, the weather doesn't cooperate. Sometimes, I set in the car and watch the clouds roll in and the rain start falling. Other times, no matter how hard I try, the light just isn't right. However, a bright blue sky isn't always ideal, and to be honest, can be a little boring.

Thanksgiving weekend, I was sitting home with the itch to go out with the camera. Sometimes I feel like an addict who hasn't had a fix in a while. I just need to go, even if I don't have any spectacular ideas on where I want to go. For lack of a better idea, my husband suggested we take a drive around Mount Hood. So we loaded into The Zombie (the nickname for my SUV), and headed out on Highway 26 east towards the mountain.

Despite the recent snow, the roads were pretty clear. The holiday crowds were strangely absent, but there was one remarkable visitor to the mountain - lenticular clouds.

Mount Hood from White River Sno-Park

They sat atop the peak like a baseball cap on a man's head, or as someone else described them, a fascinator on a royal wedding guest's head.

Others looked like cotton candy spun in the sky. What do you think they look like?

We continued our journey around the mountain on Highway 35 towards Hood River, taking a detour on Forest Service Road 44. There is a very large sign as you turn off Highway 35 warning that the road is not maintained for winter travel. We found some pretty deep snow, but nothing that The Zombie couldn't handle.

"The Zombie"

We drove about five miles up the road before turning around. We found this snowman, down a side road, who looked lonely out there by himself in the middle of the national forest. Someone should have at least left him a scarf or a hat. We stopped and gave him some company before continuing on towards Hood River.

Not far from Parkdale, there were several cars parked along side the road. My husband and I turned in unison to see exactly what the attraction was as we drove past. Once we saw what they were stopped to peer at, we turned around immediately.

The only apt description is it was an impromptu photographer "convention." There were a half dozen or so of us, all with our cameras held to our faces, capturing images of this:

We all stood there and snapped away until the light completely drained out of the sunset. Mother Nature had sent the clouds out to put on magnificent show and I feel lucky to have been there.