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The 7 Most Jaw-Dropping Cloud Formations


Clouds have always been an inexhaustible source of admiration for humans. We constantly notice formations of vapor that take shape of elephants, whales, or human faces. Some photographers draw tons of inspiration from rare cloud phenomena that can come in unbelievable sizes, forms, and colors. Below you will find a collection of fascinating and incredible cloud structures depicted by photographers all over the globe. Enjoy!

Underwater Clouds
Storm chaser Alex Schueth was fortunate to capture a time lapse of a rare cloud formation called an undulatus asperatus during a storm over Lincoln, Nebraska. The rolling pattern created by the clouds gives an uncanny feeling that you’re underwater looking up at the surface at waves!

Cloud Waterfall
Photographer Dominic Dähncke took a snap of this jaw-dropping phenomenon while shooting on the Canary Islands. The clouds in his picture are elegantly flowing over a mountain range. The splendid formation is known as ‘orographic clouds.’ They form when air cools as it lifts over the mountain. The cooled moist air rolls down the slopes then. As the sun rose, the waterfall of clouds tumbled down the cliff and the cotton-like thick haze blanketed the plateau.

Supercell Thunderstorms
Mike Hollingshead took his art to a new level when he started creating wonderful motion loops illustrating the grandeur of super cells – gargantuan rotating thunderstorms often accompanied by tornadoes. His gifs are made from single photographs. Not gigabytes of stills as you may imagine. Just one single photograph! Most of the photos below were shot in Nebraska between 2004-2013.
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The Nyan Cat Airplane
A photographer known as Kagaya got lucky enough to spot a stunning aerial phenomenon above Japan – an airplane blasting a contrail of rainbows just like the Nyan Cat in the video meme! The amazing anomaly is an example of cloud iridescence. This marvelous effect is created by sunlight being diffracted – bend and spread out – when it encounters an obstacle in the form of tiny ice crystals or water droplets clouds are made of.
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Hole-Punch Cloud
Photographer David Barton took a snap of this magnificent anomaly in the skies of Australia. The gigantic elliptical gap in clouds is scientifically referred as a fall streak hole. Commonly, phenomena like this are called hole-punch clouds or punchskies. These astonishing formations occur when water droplets freeze into ice crystals in a certain area of a cloud. When the crystals grow larger, they get heavier and eventually fall out of the cloud. What makes the process of freezing start? The researchers claim that aircraft are to be given the credit. As a plane flies through the cloud, the air over its wings and the blades of its propellers expands and gets cooler. It is enough to launch the freezing effect. The phenomenon goes often side by side with cloud iridescence as David Barton had the luck to depict in his lovely shot.

Mammatus Clouds
Mike Hollingshead is a weather photographer who has probably seen it all! The storm chaser’s unbelievable photography proves there’s nothing more powerful, more dangerous, and more beautiful than Mother Nature. The photographer went chasing various types of aerial phenomena. Mammatus clouds are among the most picturesque and mysterious. Typically, they develop on the underside of an anvil and can be a fascinating sight, especially when sunlight is reflected off of them. Take a closer look at these impressive pouch-like cloud structures below.
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Sea of Clouds
Photographer Jakob Wagner shoots wonderful wide-angle aerial photographs of clouds while on flights over the Mediterranean and the Caribbean Seas. In his images, the clouds and the surface of the sea blend together to create a wonderful effect of vastness. As seen from above, they form abstract patterns you can easily mistake for pieces of cotton wool.
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