A magnificent lenticular cloud glows on a foggy February morning.
The first sunrise of February 2020 was a frustrating one but it ended well. Quite well, considering the final images captured. I had a sense that a lenticular was going to manifest in the morning. When I headed out before dawn, I discovered my premonition was correct, with a large stack floating off to the northeast. There were a few other disks scattered around the heavens as well. I reckoned the best way to get a good perspective on the entire scene was to head to the north side of Mount Shasta.
Once I got to Weed and drove out Highway 97, I suddenly found myself in a dense fog. This should not have come as a surprise, since the previous evening I had observed the Shasta Valley smothered in a seemingly impenetrable blanket of fog. I continued on Highway 97, anticipating that I would once again emerge from the fog as the highway gained elevation. The previous evening, the mist was low to the ground and was well below the road’s position. This morning, however, the fog was higher and covered the road for longer than I though. I was, however, finally able to get a good position about 0.5 miles north of 97 near a dirt road I used to captures images from but haven’t been to in a while. The fog was below me and I could see Mount Shasta and the lenticulars clearly. They were just beginning to color as the sun climbed higher yet unseen beyond the eastern horizon.
Within moments of setting up my camera, the fog suddenly, silently, enveloped me and what had been a great perspective on the mountain became a great perspective on a wall of mist. I tossed my camera and tripod in my jeep and flew down the dirt road. There was little visibility as I sped over the rocks. I got back on Highway 97 and headed back to Weed and then south on I-5. At South Weed I finally burst out of the fog. From there I headed over to one of my quick-access vista points and was able to set up my camera just in time for the color to hit its peak. It turned out to be a good position and I wasn’t disappointed with the sunrise I was able to capture. However, just as on the north side, the fog suddenly appeared once again, nearly obscuring Mount Shasta. Thankfully, the color was beginning to fade. I counted the outing a success, but a near-miss. I am grateful to have witnessed the spectacular sunrise and to have come away with a notable memorial of it.
Click to enlarge:
It is worth noting the occurence of one of my favorite sunrise phenomena. For whatever reason, I have always been fascinated by the shadows cast by the Mount Shasta when the sun comes up. It is testimony to the immense size of the peak when an earthly landmark cast its presence on the sky. Though not the greatest case of this, the sunrise did produce another one, this time cast across the lenticular stack. I’ll take them any way they come!