Sunday, 17 August 2014

Seize the moment

Orkney is a landscape with big skies where the power of nature is both very visible and incredibly awe-inspiring. More prosaically, this means that weather forecasting can be done on the hoof and, if necessary, the decision taken to high-tail it for cover or dash for a camera.

In fact, toting a camera at all times is almost obligatory, if a little impractical.

As my DSLR is normally fitted with a 300mm lens, in the eternal but faint hope of dragons, it is a bit of a lump to carry around, as well as being unsuited to landscape shots. Thankfully, mobile phones conveniently step into this photographic breach.

Some of our weather is very ephemeral, so being in the right place, at the right time and also facing in the right direction is rather essential. For instance, this morning, looking up from the book I was reading in bed revealed a rainbow just down the road.

Mobile phone through a rainy bedroom window
Later in the day, I glanced out of the lounge window and saw an even more transient meteorological moment. Away over the other side of Scapa Flow, a shower was crossing the island of Hoy. A few of the foot hills were picked out by a diffuse spectral paintbrush, not so much a rainbow, more of a rain splodge.

DSLR from front door
Orkney seems to be a place that lends itself to seeing odd bits of rainbows, though I guess it probably happens everywhere, just not so visibly.

In the spirit of carpe diem, when Our Lass nipped outside to check the temperature and wind speed, we discovered a harvestman on the threshold [he said, segueing seamlessly from seven colours of the rainbow to eight legs of the arachnid] and it was swiftly recorded for posterity.


biobabbler said...

Lovely. I wonder if that diffuse-bow is what happens when the sun is ALMOST too high up to create a rainbow.

One must have water in the air to have rainbows, and in the west, here, we've got precious little. So, if you needed a reason to mentally hug where you live, there's another. =)

I was in the Mojave desert once, and it was raining, and I asked the guy who worked there (Mojave NP) how uncommon rain was there. "Well, I've been here five years, and it's the first I've seen." !

Imperfect and Tense said...

In Tenseworld, my thinking re the diffuse-bow was that perhaps the rain droplets were so small that the light was scattered. We've (and I'm really very sorry about this) had a lot of fine rain recently that actually feels wetter than jumping in the sea. I really need to stop banging on about rain, huh?

Aye, damp mental hugs all round :o)

Martin said...

Fascinating as always. I have also been captivated by big skies and many clouds from my office window. I sort of feel like I have a 3D view of the clouds from the 6th floor, especially when a funnel of rain is observed across the City. I have seen more flashes of lightning in the past six weeks than in several years though from my observation point.

Would you prefer fine rain of Orkney or the deluges of France, which try to wash the concrete away as they head for the sea? (and cause regular landslides where there isn't any concrete or retaining pins/mesh on the hillside).

Imperfect and Tense said...

Whoa, so much lightning? Crivens!