Monday, September 27, 2010

Cloud Appreciation Society

I recently joined the Cloud Appreciation Society. I've often visited their site to look at photos of clouds (I could look at them for ages) and after a commercial flight where I watched an English documentary about the founder, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, I joined my 5 year old daughter. It was cheap - just £4 and they sent her a lovely certificate on heavy card/paper and a little badge to wear.
Cb by Frank Hiemstra

Clouds are important for aspiring glider pilots. My daughter and I love laying on our backs on the grass looking at clouds and imagining what shapes they remind us of and I have been teaching her how to identify cloud types. She can easily recognise Cumulus and Cirrus clouds now and understands (I think) how Cumulus clouds mark thermals. My wife of course can even look at a sky and state that it's "over-developed," though I suspect this is often a ploy to convince me a day was better spent at home than at the gliding strip.

Even my two-year-old can now call out "look, a Cumulus cloud!" and be right most of the time.

So after some encouragement from my daughter, I joined up last week. I'm still waiting on my certificate and badge to arrive from the UK, but I'm member 23 thousand and something. It's quite an organisation and I encourage people to browse the many wonderful cloud photos on the site.

So to the cloud photo that illustrates this posting. It's a lovely big Cumulonimbus taken by Dutch National Gliding Team Member Frank Hiemstra in the Slovak Republic, during the training days for the 2010 World Gliding Championships. I saw it while I was browsing his Flikr stream here and Frank kindly gave me permission to use it here.

He's clearly a cloud fan because most of his photo streams contain one or two dramatic cloud photos but he didn't let them distract him from tasks in the Club Class of the WGC, taking third place on Day 7. So thanks Frank and good luck in future, and I encourage everyone to check out the Cloud Appreciation Society.

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