A Cloudy Sky

A Cloudy Sky

Today as I walked from one village to another I looked up the hill and I saw a cloud arch framing a nearby village and I had to take a picture. The framing of the image was rather unique. It is below. Is it kitsch? There is a good chance. It was unique, so I captured it.

The Cloud Arch
The Cloud Arch

I liked looking up at the sky today because it was different from usual. It was full of interesting clouds and the light played between areas that were in the shade, and others that were in the clouds. I saw a rainbow in one place, and a curtain of rain falling on the Jura in another.

A curtain of rain falling on the Jura

Seeing such a dynamic weather system is nice. I got cold during the walk so I had to wear another layer. I feared that I would be rained on but luckily I was not. This is the type of weather where you setup a camera and you start recording time lapses in the hope to catch something interesting.

And Finally – Flickr

An old barn covered in growth
An old barn covered in growth

When you play with Instagram you share your daily life, and you share things for likes, and to feel that you are part of peoples’ lives. With Flickr you don’t. When you look at the right galleries you see people with an artistic eye. You see images that play with contrast, with composition and framing and more. You also get a sense of intimacy and currentness that you don’t get with Instagram. Looking at these images inspires you to take better pictures, and to think about light and composition, but also about the time of the day, and subject matter.

The Unthreatening Clouds

The Unthreatening Clouds

The unthreatening clouds did not bother me during my bike ride but it was cooler than sometimes at this time of year. I occasionally felt that an extra layer or two would be welcome. That’s unusual in July at this time of year.

I chose routes that kept me as far from cars as possible. I also chose wider roads. They may be safer. The challenge is to find roads where cars are banned.

We will see if the rain comes.

The Dynamism Of Light – Walking on a Cloudy Day

The Dynamism Of Light – Walking on a Cloudy Day

If we did not have seasons, and weather, then walking the same route several times a week would get boring. Thanks to the weather we see plants get sown, we see them grow, we see them harvested, and then we see new plants planted. Over time, we recognise plants at an earlier and earlier stage of development. Today I saw that cherries are close to being ready to be picked, so it may be time to prepare Foret Noir.

Looking from Crans towards Lausanne etc.
Looking from Crans towards Lausanne etc.

I installed WordPress 5.8 alpha on my local computer to play around with. I won’t play around with it today because I have to be focused on something else until tomorrow evening. Tomorrow evening, I will regain the freedom to study what I feel like studying.

Nice Clouds on a Windy Day

Nice Clouds on a Windy Day

Sometimes you drive home on the scooter and you look up at the sky and you think “When I get out of this village I’m going to stop by the side of the road and I’m going to take a picture of the clouds because they’re photogenic.

Ribbed/rippled clouds

The reason for them being photogenic today is that they were rippled like the sea, rather than fluffy. Those ripples make you think of the sand underwater by the beach.

When clouds are around look up
It’s nice to see a sky that looks different than usual.

After so many hours spent walking the same landscape day after day you spend more and more time noticing the details. In so doing you notice the sky, you see the fields change, and the crops mature, from a muddy field to a field at full maturity, before being ready to be harvested, and harvested.

The summer road
For months we had very few clouds. Finally the sky is worth looking at, once more.

A Timelapse from La Barillette

A Timelapse from La Barillette

It is not rare for me to do a timelapse from La Barillette. Several years ago I tried a timelapse with a 360 camera where you saw clouds forming overhead and in a spherical video. I also filmed a timelapse of the Paléo parkings filling up. This time I went up the Jura in the hope of filming Autumn colours but as I got to the top my project changed.


The problem with filming Autumn colours is that you need to be there at the right time of day and with the light coming from the right direction. The light was coming from the wrong angle so stopping in the woods would have allowed me to get three or four frames before moving on to the next location.

When you’re in a car this type of filming is not interesting. It’s more interesting to get to one location and get a greater diversity of shots. The other advantage is that you can always head back down and get the shots you thought were still interesting.

As I looked from above and assessed the situation I saw that clouds were forming and dissipating. I thought that I may eventually find myself in a cloud with poor visibility. I was more interested in capturing the formation of clouds. They did form, but then they dissipated, and then they formed again but more sparsly before dissipating again.

This is fantastic when you’re filming time-lapses because the change is noticeable without being accelerated so you can imagine what it would give if you did speed it up.

The challenge with timelapse is knowing whether something will take minutes, hours, days or even longer to capture. I have one idea that I assess would take six or seven hours which I will not discuss at this stage.

Usually when I film timelapses I set the camera up so that it records one or two frames every so many seconds. In this case I just started recording. I did not know on what timescale the actions would occur so it gave me greater flexibility in post production.

The footage was sped up from 800 percent to 5000 percent. The clouds that were vanishing was fast. The river of clouds flowing down the valley was slower and thus sped up more. The other challenge is to decide how tight or wide you want the frame to be. With the trees and the river of clouds it’s hard to know whether to have a tighter shot where the action may render the frame boring sooner or wehter tom have a wide shot where the action only takes up half the screen.

In the end this is about gaining experience rather than getting things right first time. It’s about learning to see and anticipate how nature will behave. If you get it right then it can be of great beauty. If you get it wrong you ignore it and think of a new idea.


Later in the year, when Autumn comes we can expect the clouds to behave like this. It’s the “Soupe de Pois” as some call it. I have at least two or three ideas to experiment with and two of them can be done from the comfort of home.

I did see something exceptional on the way back down. A herd of five chevreuils as I drove down afer I finished getting my timelapse footage. That’s the most I’ve seen at once when driving.

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Watching clouds form as a 360 timelapse

Time-lapse videos are fun because we can see something happen faster or slower than real time. By watching this content we gain a better understanding of the world and how it works. For years I have been filming time-lapses and the results can be fun. In some cases we record time-lapses with video cameras and at other times we set an interval timer to take pictures every so many seconds. In this post you will be watching clouds form as a 360 timelapse.

I have chosen to share both the flat image and the spherical image. The reason for sharing both versions is to give you an overview of how objects move in both.

Spherical Version

With this version look to your right and you will be able to watch the clouds move through space. As they move you will see them grow thicker and then cover the sun. At this point everything gets darker. If you watch this video a few times you can watch the landscape change.

The next step would be to get a 360 camera somewhere high during a total eclipse of the sun by the moon. During such events you will see a grey mask cross over the landscape, you will see birds fly away and then everything will be dark. You can then turn around and watch totality, the corona and then the reverse process. The time is right for eclipse chasers to be at the right place to capture such an event as a 360 video.

Flat Version

With the flat version you can imagine where you would aim a standard camera. Would you try to get the clouds that are forming over the mast or would you prefer to look out towards La Dôle and watch as the large clouds form and float to block off the sun? In this image you can see from Villeneuve and Lausanne to Geneva and the Salève.

Having such a wide angle of view allows you to see everything that is going on in front of and behind the camera. The timelapse is a sequence of pictures rather than video so in future I hope to export the video in a higher resolution.


As Long as There Are No Clouds

In less than twenty four hours there will be a total eclipse of the sun that will give us a red moon and this should be interesting to see.

Back in 1999 I was in Salzburg for the total eclipse of the sun by the moon. I was almost within the area of totality. It was over 99%.

There is nothing like a total eclipse of the sun. At the start you see hundreds of people go into the square and look up at the sky. You see the moon eating up the sun. Over time you see that more than half is eaten. Then you see three quarters and you approach totality.

At the time I wasen’t spending too much time looking at the process as I was looking for shots for the video. I climbed up the road to the castle and turned around. As I did so I saw all the birds fly away and I saw a grey shadow racing across the landscape. Hundreds of flashes started going off and people started to make noise in excitement. Totality was here.

The light was grey, with no depth, then it was night. As it was night I looked up and saw the corona that forms, where the solar flares are twelve kilometers long, visible because the sun’s main mass is blocked by the moon. Totality is over within a few seconds and day comes back. Many people have enjoyed this event.

It’ll be another century for most people to see the next one.

That’s why I want to see the red moon, that’s why I’d prefer seeing a silver ball turn reddish. That red is formed by the refraction of sun in the earth’s atmosphere being sent to the moon and bouncing back to give us a splendid sight, as long as there are no clouds