Rockpile view of cloud-covered Mount Shasta is graced by a great flying wing.
Monday morning was another near miss as far as lenticulars go. The cloud started off incredibly promising but in the end, left me hoping for more. Part of this was due to the nature of the conditions on the mountain but also to tactical decisions I made while trying to find the best position from which to photograph the mountain and cloud. The final result was a great cloud but nothing quite coming together the way I hoped it would.
It began when I was up early and saw a large floating lenticular southwest of the mountain. At the time Mount Shasta itself had a small lenticular wave on it but the mountain was clearly visible. While still dark, I headed out to Sheep Rock, which is one of my favorite shooting locations when clouds are in the position that I assessed this one to be it. My initial reckoning of the clouds location was similar to the previous epic lenticular on Mount Shasta. However, by the time I got to Sheep Rock, it was evident the cloud was too far to the west and was now obscured by Mount Shasta. To make matters worse, the little wave had now grown and covered the entire mountain, totally blocking it from view.
I headed back west, hoping to get the cloud in view enough to just document its existence while it still had some color on it from sunrise. I did manage to do this but only after the color had shifted from pink to orange. The mountain itself was a lost cause.
While Mount Shasta was a disappointment, the view of Mount Eddy was excellent and the peak also boasted a great lenticular formation. Mount Eddy does not attract great formations the way Mount Shasta does but, from time to time, it still manages to generate its own. It is nice to be able to catch them in good conditions when they happen.
As the sun was coming up, the conditions actually improved and Mount Shasta became a little more apparent through the clouds. An inversion layer seemed to have formed and the edge of the cloud became clearly defined rather than just an amorphous smudge covering the mountain. The summit also came clearly into view. I headed over to some of my favorite rocks north of Lake Shastina and was able to capture some interesting shots of the mountain and the large floating lenticular. Satisfied that the morning’s effort was completely wasted, I headed home.
Latter in the day the floating lenticular had dissipated but the clouds on the mountain remained. At times they flirted with coalescing into a dome-like shape but it never really came together the way I hoped.
By sunset, there was just a wisp of cloud left, forming a partial ring around the summit. It wasn’t the spectacular sunset that I hoped the morning had augured but it, as always, I count the blessings of seeing Mount Shasta in its evening light. As Teddy Roosevelt said of Mount Shasta’s alpenglow, it is one of the grandest sights I have ever seen.