In a beautiful time-lapse video recently released by the two photographers behind Skyglow project, a book and video series exploring the effects of light pollution, we see a fog roll into the Grand Canyon like an ocean wave and the Colorado River disappear.
It’s called a full cloud inversion and is caused by cold air trapped inside the canyon being covered by a layer of warm air. The weather phenomenon is so rare that it took years to capture the footage.
In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Harun Mehmedinovic explained how the project came together and the explosive final frame of the video.
Of all the sights you might encounter on the hills, the fabled cloud inversion is perhaps the most sought after of all. That moment you break through from a cold, murky world below into an impossibly bright and often hot world above, puts you on a high that lasts for weeks. It doesn’t always work out of course, because usually the hill you’re climbing isn’t quite high enough to break through, but the ‘will it won’t it’ keeps you guessing all the way up.
Here’s a taste of what it’s like, and how it’s difficult not to get overly excited when you think you might get one.
“The Fabled gate”
When I arrived at the summit of Mam Tor someone had already beaten me to the gate, so I had to find a different composition further back along the path. Shortly after sunrise though they left, so I sprinted down and was able to capture this image before the sun disappeared behind the bank of cloud. I know it’s been done hundreds of times but I couldn’t resist with such great conditions!
On Saturday I looked out the window on what I’d written off as a dreich old day up here in the Lomond Hills, and was surprised to see rays of sunshine blazing down.
I felt my heart skip a beat in excitement and within a few minutes had donned boots, gaiters and coat, and had my camera slung over my shoulder. Why so excited? Well, it had been foggy all day. But when you start to see a little bit of brightness it means the fog is thinning and…..if you’re able to get a little bit higher up, you may well get above the cloud completely.
Events like that are fairly common here in the Lomonds. We’re close to the Forth and are on the east coast, so there’s plenty of fog and haar rolling in off the North Sea when the east wind blows. It can be a curse in summer of course, when everyone in Scotland is bathing under sunshine and blue skies, but along the eastern coastline it’s 10C and foggy.
But it can also be a real treat, because the scenes that present themselves to you as you climb through the cloud layer, are out of this world.