Stuck in the middle; only 0.03 inches in Catalina from Kansas skies

“Shafts to the left of me, shafts to the right of me, but here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”  (Yeah, and without any rain.)   Who can’t forget Stealers Wheel?  Most everybody I guess.

Here is an example of a “middle”, an empty region between rainshafts in this case.  You don’t want to be there.  Boring, as in “baby I’m bored”, for emphasis.  But that’s what we “Catalonians” got yesterday, the middle.

1:51 PM

As the three of you who follow this blog know, I don’t usually concentrate photographing the “middle” or “tweeners” as some baseball-cloudcentric fans might call these kinds of scenes; I like to show the shaft. I NEVER get tired of shafts, or, in fact,  being “shafted” by rainshafts.

Never will.

I did think, in taking this first shot, that the dark base ahead of the “middle” would drop its load on me.  I had already prepared a story in my mind with a “happy” flash flood ending.  I readied my camera, got the tripod out.

But, no.  It missed me and my gage, slipping off to the right, or to west from the spot above, dumping its load on north Oro Valley and Saddlebrooke.  I can’t wait to see how much rain the rainloggers over there report this morning compared to my crummy 0.03 inches.  Oh, well.  There was generally about 0.4 to an inch in the Catalinas. Hooray!  More green, more water!

Commercial break:

In trying to make the best of a situation that was fast becoming a disappointment, I noticed some birds floating around in the updraft of the dark base as it came almost overhead.  Suddenly,  I realized, as I started to carry out my niche of photographing cloud bottoms, that a cloud bottom photo with some kind of bird in it, who knows what, probably using the updraft into this cloud base to ride on, a kind of “bird surfing” would likely appeal to the “bird set”,  Audubonners and the like, etc., thus expanding my commercial base  beyond just the cloud bottom crowd.  It was a quite a striking, moneyful thought.

BTW, these birds are doing what cloud seeding aircraft do, circle in the updraft below cloud bases and release nuclei, sometimes “hygroscopic” nuclei, ones that form drops, and sometimes “ice nuclei”, ones that form ice crystals.  See, at last I got some education in!  You got schooled!  Didn’t see that one coming did you?

I’ll address whether cloud seeding works in a rant some day…

Below, the resulting symbiotic photo, now named, “Base and Birds, or the more accessible, “Surfing Birds.”  It will cost you one dollar to download it….hahahah, sort of.  “Hey”, let us not forget the words of the great Danny Elfman, Oingo Boingo:  “There’s nothing wrong with capitalism…don’t try to make me feel guilty…”)

—-end of commercial break

1:51 PM. Birds, surfing air, below cloud base.  

BTW, the discerning cloud bottomer will notice that this base has some inconsistencies, is not quite solid, suggesting its not due to a large continuous updraft area;  only part of it is.   This was a clue that there could be a disappointment.

Kansas skies?Oh yeah, there were some itty bitty tubes on the front side of that jack hammer of a storm that rolled into Oro Valley from Tucson yesterday around 1:50 PM.  Take a look below.  Second time in a week have seen a “tube”.  Getting very tubular around here.  Check out the U of A time lapse movie for a real fright night day as that big boy goes by.  “Totally awesome!”

Some nice lightning around, too.  Here are a couple of those shots to end things off with.

1:49 PM. Tubes?

Finally, a nice sunset peering through a hole in an Altostratus cumulonimbogenitus opacus overcast that ended our day–english translation, thick debris clouds leftover from our many thunderstorms yesterday.

2:04 PM. Should probably go inside now…


Another day, another dollop?  Photogenic Cumulonimbus clouds all around again this afternoon. Let’s hope its more than a dollop today.

More details here from the U of A and here from our friendly NWS, always there when you need them and when you don’t.


The End.





2:07 PM. Yikes!   Checking…still alive, definitely going inside NOW!









7:31 PM. Calming sunset. It’s been an exhausting day for cloud-maven person.