|Storm clouds, sud-Touraine, France [Alamy image ref. BCWPWH]|
Apparently – I’m not very knowledgeable on these matters so I looked them up on the internet – these clouds are called Altocumulus. They are dark because they hold a lot of water… and are typically seen when a cold storm front moves in.
I haven’t seem many storm fronts like this in the sud-Touraine where we generally have warm, dry seasons and on rare occasions, a light snow fall. In fact when the latter weather occurs, the salt-gritting lorries are out before dawn if there is as much as a centimetre or two on the roads!
I was aware of this storm approaching well before it arrived… the BBC Radio 4 Long Wave programme I’d been listening to for an hour or so was being broken-up at an increasing rate by staccato crackles. When I eventually looked out of the window of the house where we were were ensconced for a year, the sky had turned from clear blue to ominous black… plus the wind was rising in strength and the atmosphere getting colder as the front approached with alarming speed.
I had taken my Nikon D300 and 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor wide-angle zoom which, at the time, was almost permanently fixed to the camera for my shooting style… and used at the 14mm widest setting for about 90% of the time (14mm on the D300’s sensor being the equivalent of a 21mm lens on a regular 35mm film camera). Any front-of-lens filter was virtually impossible with this lens, but recently Lee Filters have produced in limited quantities a very expensive filter system adaptable to the bulbous front element of this superb optic. However, I haven’t used filters since I went digital in 2005, and if I feel the necessity to add some extra effect to sky areas of an image I do it post-production in Adobe’s Lightroom software on my MacBook Pro.
The image was RM licensed by Alamy for reproduction up to 1-page in an editorial context in both a textbook and e-book for a 15-year period under my “Farming Today” pseudonym.