Sunday, 16 September 2012

Clouds and Sun Dogs

While out for our after tea walk I noticed a Sun Dog - where a group of clouds show the colours of the rainbow. It had disappeared by the time we got back home but I kept an eye in that direction in case it should appear again. Patience was rewarded as two appeared, one each side  of the Sun and at about the same elevation. They were not as well defined as the ones I saw last year so I took lots of shots in the hope that I could capture the event.

South side Sun Dog                                                   North side Sun Dog
Sun Dog P1040114.jpg   Sun Dog P1040113.jpg

The red part of the spectrum is on the side nearest the Sun.
You can read about how Sun Dogs are formed HERE.

There was quite a variety of cloud formations and, inspired by Adrian of Adrian's Images, I tried a few panoramic compositions taking three shots with the TZ7 on its widest angle setting. The first was taken while the Sun was above the horizon but behind the trees. It was processed using Serif Panorama Plus 2, which is a free program.


The resulting panorama was then tweaked with the ReDynaMix plug-in in Photoshop Elements 10:

Panorama 02c.jpg

For some reason the set of three shots taken as the Sun started to set were rejected by Serif's program so were stitched in Elements and tweaked as before:


On days like yesterday where the cloud shapes and movement show how winds at various levels move in different directions it is easy to see why weather prediction can still be very hit and miss, especially on a local level.


  1. The second panorama is superb. The first seems to have the algorithm using exposure changes to stitch the sky. be interesting to see the masks. You can paint into them.
    I set camera to full manual.....when i remember! Also most of mine are HDR so I have to be very quick.
    I have a macro plate and have tried swinging the camera around the front element of the lens...I will pursue this but it seems to make little difference.

    1. Not sure what algorithm Serif uses Adrian. It is cheap, quick and cheerful and fully automatic. On close inspection I can see it made a mess of part of the first panorama. Elements uses such a large chunk of memory. With 2GB it would stitch the photos but had no memory left to do anything else. I had to save the panorama, re-load it, reduce its size by half before I could use ReDynaMix.
      The TZ7 is fully automatic so there is the possibility of different exposures on each shot.

    2. I have 4GB of RAM and could do with more. I used to use an external drive to provide scratch memory but on Windows 7 I can't find out how to allocate it.

  2. Amazing shots John. Dont talk to me about weather predictions it is way off sometimes, but they usually get it right when its going to pour down all day.,

    1. Roy - we used to get a separate forecast for the coastal strip in Lincolnshire as it can be so different to the rest of Lincolnshire but that was axed some years ago.
      When I hear, like this morning on R4, that there is rain in Lincolnshire I look out of the window to see not a drop. As the country's second largest county conditions vary a lot across such a large area. Might just as well look at a fir cone and some seaweed!


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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