Epic is an overused word these days but if anything is epic the sky is. A year ago this month I started my new project photographing clouds mostly from my third floor balcony. I live under the flight path of Heathrow Airport about twenty miles away, as the crow flies, and there are many crows around where I live. Rather like my ticking clock, I had tuned out the noise of the aircraft and no longer aware of it.
I can’t say I noticed the sky much before embarking on this project because I am a pretty unobservant person without a camera in my hands but with one I become very alert to to photographic possibilities. I keep my camera next to the balcony door and when working on my computer I glance up and if there is an interesting cloud formation floating by or a plane or helicopter, I grab the camera and I am ready to shoot. I use a hi-res 36 megapixel camera (the average mobile phone is about 8M) to get maximum detail out of them and as a result they can be printed very large indeed. I have shot the sky under many conditions over the year and have only just started processing the images. I enhance the detail in the clouds to make them fibrous and to accentuate their forms. I shot the aircraft and birds separately and comped them in larger afterwards because they are so tiny compared to a large cloud.
The first images I am releasing are clouds that look like stuff. You cannot look at the sky too long before your mind starts making recognisable patterns from their random eddying and billowing. If you see something that looks like a figure you have only 5-10 seconds to photograph it before it changes. My clouds mainly look like faces. I have clouds that look like a baby, a pony, a wild boar, bison, dwarf, philosopher, clown and even God. Apart from the faces, I have captured many abstract and wispy clouds, ones that look like scoops of vanilla ice cream and others that look like rocks and you are made to wonder why they are floating at all. After seeing the first images the viewer will always be looking for faces in all my others.
Without clouds human beings would not be here.
The sky is home to a vast suspended ocean of water and there is 1.4 trillion tons of rainfall every day.
The average cumulus cloud weighs 200 tons
Cumulonimbus are 10x as dense, 1,000 times larger and can weigh I,000,000 tons
The heat energy of a cloud is equal to that of a nuclear warhead
Some clouds are alive with bacteria.