Behind the Shot – Noctilucent Clouds

With a decent view over the North Sea coast from my home I can often glance out my window and get a feel for what the weather might be doing. Often I can see storms brewing or rainbows forming and within a few minutes I could be down on the beach shooting pictures.

This time of year on a clear night it’s not uncommon to see Noctilucent clouds beginning to form. Knowing that the conditions were favourable I looked out from my window and was fortunate to see them forming.

Grabbing my gear I headed down to the beach and began to shoot several pictures. Working different angles as I tried to get the clouds and the pier together in a decent composition I watched as two fishermen made their way to the end of the pier to begin fishing.

Noctilucent clouds, or night shining clouds, are cloud-like phenomena in the upper atmosphere of Earth and consist of ice crystals. They are only visible during astronomical twilight.

Noctilucent clouds can form only under very restricted conditions during summer and their occurrence can be used as a sensitive guide to changes in the upper atmosphere. They are a relatively recent classification. The occurrence of noctilucent clouds appears to be increasing in frequency, brightness and extent.

Noctilucent clouds are composed of tiny crystals of water ice up to 100 nm in diameter and exist at a height of about 76 to 85 km (47 to 53 miles) higher than any other clouds in Earth’s atmosphere.

Shot details: Sony A9ii camera, Sony GM 85mm f1.4 lens, ISO 200, Exposure 30 seconds at f14. Manfrotto tripod.

 Image (c) Ian Forsyth 

See more of my work at Room 2850

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