Wonderful Wintry Weather

A very cold storm was forecast for this weekend, with snow levels possibly down to 500 ft.  We did get quite a bit of rain on Friday, but the precipitation was over by the time the temperature dropped.  However, all was clear at dawn the following day.   This made it really difficult to decide where to head out for the day, and I ended up staying close to home in the hopes the weather would get more interesting.  Luckily, some large cumulonimbus clouds started developing over the mountains in the afternoon.  It looked like the weather was clear along the mountaintop ridge, so I gassed up the car and we headed on up.

While at the gas station, we could see precipitation moving in from the east.  Normally, our weather comes from the south or west, so this was a bit unusual.  Even from such a distance (several miles) I could tell that the precipitation was not the usual rain.  On the way up, we started getting fat drops of rain, which then turned to icy pellets, and actually started accumulating on the road.  When we left Goleta, it was almost 55F, but had dropped to near freezing by the time we reached the ridge-top.

The precipitation had intensified greatly and a large amount of graupel was falling and accumulating.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this form of precipitation, so it was very cool to experience something new.  Photographing in these conditions is always a challenge.  The lighting conditions and weather were changing rapidly and with the road conditions deteriorating, I couldn’t spend a lot of time up there.  However, I managed to come away with several images that I like.

“Cumulonimbus Clouds”  –  Lake los Carneros, Goleta  (2-stop, soft, GND Filter)

“Graupel Storm”  –  Camino Cielo, Los Padres National Forest

“Graupel and Sandstone”

“Frozen Paint”  –  Snow pellets on Indian Paintbrush

“Accumulation”

“Falling”

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2 Responses to Wonderful Wintry Weather

  1. Wonderful images, Barry! Looks like a really cool weather event.

  2. John Wall says:

    Great series. I love the graupel on the paintbrush blossoms.

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