I was going through my images from the first 6 months of this year and came across this sunset photograph of lenticular clouds taken at Red Rock Canyon State Park. My brother and I were returning from teaching a 3 day landscape photography workshop in Death Valley when we spotted some unusual cloud formations at Red Rock Canyon. We pulled over and sat observing the sky for a while. It was still almost an hour until sunset but we decided to stay to see how the sunset progressed. We were amazed that the clouds seemed to stay in one place the entire time we were observing them. When we first arrived the ring like texture was not very discernible. As the sun went lower it produced a side-light that began to make the rings more visible. We were finally rewarded with a blaze of color so intense I had to tone down the saturation in post processing.
Lenticular clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis) are named for their characteristic lens appearance and smooth saucer-like shape. These clouds have sometimes been mistaken for UFO’s. While we photographed, my brother and I were both joking about the “Mother Ship” and how it looked as though aliens or space pods might appear at any moment from the hole in the bottom of the cloud.
All in all it was a satisfying end to a day that began photographing the beauty of Mosaic Canyon and included a side trip to the ghost town of Ballarat. In between we had a great opportunity to photograph some Coyotes near the highway in the Panamint Valley.