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Cloud Explosion above Shasta

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 17 May 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

Mount Shasta, California

The scale of this cloud is impressive. Grass and Meiss Lakes are feeding moisture to this growing beast and are more than twenty miles (32 k) northeast of the summit. The mountain itself stands 14,179 feet ( 4,321 m ) above sea level - and over 10,000 ft above its base. Standing here - I could actually see the cloud growing skyward. The light through the cloud was breathtaking.

This image was taken from south of the mountain. These lakes to the north are large, shallow bodies of water. As the prevailing westerly winds drive warm air up the west face of the mountain, the air cools rapidly. Since hot air rises and cool air descends - as soon as the air passes to the leeward side of the peak - it pushes rapidly down the mountain and out onto these lakes.

The lakes - being shallow - warm rapidly under the sun and water begins to evaporate. Thus the stage is set. As the cold windy air off the mountain hits this water - these large cumulus clouds billowing skyward become a fairly common sight on hot days.

Mount Shasta is one of many active volcanoes in the western Untied States and it has a history of erupting every 400 to 800 years. This is as close to an eruption as I'd like to see, thank you.

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

Alun from cheshire, United Kingdom

What an amzing view, fantastic

17 May 2010 5:02am

Liang from San Francisco, United States

beautiful panoramic scene here. love the dramatic clouds and skyline to go with the greens.

17 May 2010 5:29am

Marie LC from Dauphiné, France

J'aime le contrast entre les verts printaniers et la neige en arrière plan

17 May 2010 5:31am

kate from lincolnshire, United Kingdom

wow~~ what an amazing picture and view!! way to go !!:))) stunning!!

17 May 2010 6:30am

yz from Budapest, Hungary

beautiful, pastoral landscape

17 May 2010 8:31am

JJ from Jersey City, United States

Such a beautiful landscape those clouds are amazing

17 May 2010 9:30am

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Fabulous panoramic, I like specially these cloud over the white mountains, very beautiful.

17 May 2010 9:48am

Mirko Herzner from Germany

I like the beautiful color contrasts between all those shades of green and blue. Must have been quite an impressive moment to witness. Title is spot-on as well...

17 May 2010 10:43am

Marcie from Newton, United States

Amazing cloud-scape. Gorgeous colors. WOW!

17 May 2010 11:34am

kerfendal from Paris, France

fantastic observation !

17 May 2010 11:40am

Mhelene from Paris, France

A superb photo ! Landscape is beautiful and this enormous cloud is wonderful in sun and shadow !

17 May 2010 11:53am

k@ from Paris, France

You'd swear a poster/painting ! What a superb cloud above the mountain like out of a volcano it seems !

17 May 2010 12:07pm

Susan from Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

Beautiful catch, and interesting science lesson explaining why.........i'm with you on keeping the lid on that thing!!!

17 May 2010 3:46pm

Viewfinder from Bradenton, FL, United States

This is what I call an "ooh!/ahh!" kind of photo. Magnificent scenery; the mountain and sky with foreground treetops standing there are awesome to see.

17 May 2010 4:47pm

Chris from South Jersey, United States

those colors are stunning Stephen - a very impressive sight.....

17 May 2010 4:49pm

JPS from Le Havre, France

And dust of clouds, perhaps...

17 May 2010 6:20pm

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

5 stars !

17 May 2010 6:26pm

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

Definitely an impressive sight!

17 May 2010 6:29pm

Bill Brown from California, United States

Fantastic capture!

17 May 2010 7:43pm

David from Detroit, United States

The cloud formation is really impressive.

17 May 2010 11:36pm

cathy from moon, VA, United States

Gorgeous! Simply gorgeous!

17 May 2010 11:46pm

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Wow, what beautiful classic Stephen!!!!! The subjects, the tone, the clarity, the composition... love every element of this shot!:-)))

18 May 2010 12:10am

@hugo poon: Thanks, Hugo - it is great to hear from you. When are you and the family going to come over and see our wild, wild, west?

John Maslowski from Dallas, United States

Absolutely a breathtaking scene Stephen, that you captured so very well. The sky, the clouds, the mountains, the landscape, etc. all stunning. This image would make an excellent print, almost 3D, really a beautiful image.

18 May 2010 1:49am

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

beautiful landscape! good strong light and excellent and natural looking colour tones!

18 May 2010 4:01am

MontereyJohn from Salinas, California, United States

Geezer! wonderful image. Got to love Spring.

18 May 2010 4:14am

Anthony Morgan Lambert from Bielefeld, Germany

A truly amazing sight,thanks for sharing it Stephen..

18 May 2010 5:01pm

Scott F. Schilling from San Martin, United States

This is probably my favorite mountain in California. Mt. Shasta is mesmerizing to me. This is a spectacular scene and perfectly captured - what an awesome thunderhead!

19 May 2010 1:59am

@Scott F. Schilling: I agree, Scott. The relatively flat base combined with no neighboring peaks of any size make Shasta a true lone sentinel. Have you ever driven any of the back roads up through Gazelle, Grenada, and Montague? Amazing country.

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

Wow, cloud explosion indeed!

20 May 2010 12:52am

Brigitte G. from Australia

oh my god, this is such a mag-ni-ficent pic !!
how bizarre to look at it bcos for me, when you say 'California' ect... i always imagine buildings ect...
very nice to see the other side of the City :)

20 May 2010 3:23am

@Brigitte G.: Thank you, Brigitte - your comments are appreciated. Please forgive me - I have gone to your lovely website twice and can't seem to figure out how to leave a comment.

Ismerie from Montcy-Notre-Dame, France

superbe paysage.

27 May 2010 6:06am