The fog having burned off and with a sustained system bringing precipitation on its way, Tuesday was primed to have some interesting weather. This definitely proved to be the case, as the day had fascinating conditions all day. I got up early and headed up to the Castle Lake area to capture the sunset. Mornings can be somewhat tricky this time of year, since the clouds light up most brightly to the south of Mount Shasta, so a northern perspective often has the best perspective on the color in the sky. However, the the southerly sunrise means the mountain usually catches more morning light on its southern side than it does the rest of the year. Conditions usually dictate whether I head north or south (or west as it may be in the case of Castle Lake). This morning I opted for the latter and it was a good decision.
The sunrise proved to be spectacular. The sky above Mount Shasta exploded as if the heavens themselves were on fire. The fresh snow on the mountain also glowed purple as the light bounced off the clouds overhead. As I stood there by my camera, I could hear the lonely wind and the distant sound of Castle Lake Creek. It was an electric morning.
One thing I love about the view from near Castle Lake is the chance to see the mountain looming dramatically over Mount Shasta City. The mountain and the fiery sky make the town look insignificant, but what an enviable insignificance! The colors shifted from pink and purple to reds and oranges as the sun climbed closer to the horizon. Then, suddenly, all the color disappeared as the sun hit the overcast sky and its light was no longer shining directly beneath the clouds. I packed up and headed back to town.
The color was gone but the show was by no means over. A large lenticular developed northeast of Mount Shasta but its edges were not well defined. More interesting was the unusual clouds that formed between Black Butte and Mount Eddy. Some “lenticulish” formations hovered in the midst of a maelstrom of oddly textured clouds. It was a stunning display.
Latter in the day the lenticular gained more definition. The air was still so I headed over to Lake Siskiyou to see if there was a good reflection. There was, initially, but by the time I was set up the wind picked up and rippled the water. It was an impressive sight nonetheless.
The dark sky beneath the lenticular was quite ominous. A smaller, secondary formation floated just off of Shastina. This little cloud was quite dynamic and changed shape constantly.
Then, as the sun neared sunset, the cloud began to lose definition and the overcast sky began to clear. A little more light hit the mountain but the cloud was starting to get messy as it shrunk.
By the time the alpenglow was fading, the sky had cleared significantly and it was almost as if it had never a massive lenticular had taken shape over Mount Shasta at all. It was a slightly disappointing end to an amazing day but still very beautiful. Now the storm system moves in and snow (though not much of it) should begin falling tomorrow. We shall see what the days leading up to Christmas bring…