Thunderstorms before Sunset

In Upper Bavaria weather changed Sunday, June 28. Along the Allgäu Mountains, intense rainfall began in the afternoon. Thunderstorms with hail occurred in the south-east of Bavaria. The hailstorm pilots near Chiemsee started four times theses days. Clouds and rain created a magical atmosphere around Weissensee not far from the famous Neuschwanstein castle.

Three days later an impressing thunderstorm happened in the early evening hours in South-Bavaria. It was before sunset. Thus there were interesting effects with a colored sky. There were some intense local rainshowers and the weather lasted for more days.

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On July 2 a supercell-storm devastated an area around Murnau, which is not far from Garmisch Partenkirchen. Witnesses reported that there was both hail and a flashflood rain at the same time. They could not remember a similar phenomenon happened before. Within 15 minutes streets were flooded and cows had to be rescued from a farm.

Later the week the weather calmed down. This kind of weather is very typical for the season in Bavaria. There is always a change between warm summer days and rain except the last years when a drought happened. Most of the severe storms in Germany happen in July. In 1984 an unparalleled hailstorm led to incredible destruction in Bavaria’s capital Munich.

Intense supercell-storms, hail and flash floods can, however, occur any time between May and September. In June 2019 a hailstorm led to a lot of destruction in the Northern-Ammersee region. In some years there were storms with flooding in May. Storms happen also in August, usually in September heavy thunderstorms are not so often because the days are getting shorter. There is less energy from the sunlight to generate these type of storms however there are weather patterns which could also lead to strong storms in October. In September 2017 lightning hit the Munich Octoberfest.

Thunderstorms with devastating hail happen more often in the south-east of Upper Bavaria rather than in the Allgäu. Usually, the storms develop over the hills and mountains in the West and move to the East. A squadron of Hailstorm pilots, “Hagelflieger” from Vogtareuth protects the area around lake Chiemsee efficiently and gather important scientific information.

Landschaftfotografie im Frühjar: Viele Schattierungen von Grün

Das Ende des Winters und der Beginn des Frühlings sind immer eine besondere Zeit. Die Natur erwacht. Es ist auch für Fotografen eine gute Zeit. Nach einer langen Zeit, in der Braun und Grau die Landschaft dominieren, gibt es eine Explosion von Grün und Geld. Jedoch muss man schnell sein, um die vielen verschiedenen Grüntöne mit der Kamera zu erwischen.

Der Beginn des Frühjahrs ist nicht immer derselbe jedes Jahr. In manchen Jahren beginnt der Frühling früher und in in manchen Jahren liegt lange Schnee und es ist noch kalt. Üblicherweise sieht man die ersten Pflanzen bereits im Februar in der nördlichen Hemisphäre. Schneeglöckchen und Schlüsselblumen etwas später tauchen schon auf, selbst wenn noch Schnee liegt. Die leuchtend gelben Forsythien kündigen den eigentlichen Frühling an. Aber es ist immer noch ein langer Weg. Jedoch passiert oft dann meist sehr viel in kurzer Zeit meist im April. Die Wiesen werden grün und gelb. In manchen Gegenden, wo viel Löwenzahn wächst, nehmen die Wiesen sogar ein intensives Gelb an.

Diese Motive sind leicht einzufangen. Man braucht keine teure Ausrüstung. Jedoch ist eine Kamera mit raw-.Mode von großem Vorteil. Es gibt dann einfach viel mehr gestalterische Möglichkeiten mit den Grüntönen in der Nachbearbeitung zu spielen.

Die verschiedenen Phasen des Frühjahrs

Der interessanteste Teil des Frühjahrs beginnt, wenn die Bäume austreiben. Nur für ein paar Tage sieht man dieses sprichwörtliche “frische Grün” in der Natur. Es ist meist die Zeit in den Wochen nach Frühlingsanfang. Später, im Mai, sieht man im Garten und im Wald dunklere Grüntöne. Das Laub zeigt nun nicht mehr so viele Grünschattierungen. Deshalb müssen Landschaftsfotografen schnell sein, um den richtigen Augenblick zu erwischen.

Schlüsselblumen erscheinen früh im Jahr.
Obstbaumblüte im April. Die meisten Bäume haben noch keine Blätter.
Die Nächte sind immer noch kalt. Es sieht so aus, als ob der Frühling noch ganz weit weg wäre, dabei wird es schon in ein paar Tagen viele Schattierungen von Grün und Gelb geben. Der Frühling ist in Wahrheit bereits voll im Gange..

In der nördlichen Hemisphäre beginnt die Vegetationsperiode im Süden, in Italien und Griechenland und erreicht später die nördlichen Länder. Landwirte wissen eine Menge über die Dynamik in der Natur, und es gibt auch wissenschaftliche Messgrößen. Die wichtigste Größe ist die Grassland-Temperatur-Summe (GTM). Diese Summe beruht auf einer Gleichung. Wenn die Summe (aufsummierte Werte) 200 Grad Celsius ergibt, beginnt, die Arbeit auf den Feldern.

Wenn man mehr erfahren möchte über die Vegetationsperiode, empfiehlt sich ein Blick auf die örtliche Wetterwebseiten. Dort gibt es oft Informationen über den Frühlingsfortschritt. Geübte Nutzer können Wetterdaten auf speziellen Agrar-meteorologischen Seiten auswerten, zum Beispiel in den USA auf: https://www.agweb.com/weather

Selbstverständlich spielt das Wetter eine zentrale Rolle. Man sieht sehr schnelle Veränderungen in der Natur, wenn es zum Beispiel länger geregnet hat. Das sind oft die besten Augenblicke zum Fotografieren.

Sonnenlicht ist gut, um die verschiedenen Grüntöne im Frühjahr einzufangen. Jedoch kann auch ein Regentag mit seinen verschiedenen Stimmungen sehr interessant sein. Der Morgen und die Zeit vor Sonnenuntergang sind die beste Zeit für blühende Bäume und spriesende Äste zum Aufnehmen.

Die verschiedenen Stufen leuchtenden Grüns

Fotos von frischem Grün brauchen meist nicht viel Nachbearbeitung. Jedoch können bestimmte Filter und Entwicklungsschritte helfen, die Unterschiede zwischen den Schattierungen hervorzuheben.

Ende April ist oft die beste Zeit für Grünschattierungen. Mit dem luminance panel im photoshop oder in lightroom kann man Details hervorheben. Vorsicht mit der Sättigung, denn die Farben sind schon sehr stark.
Die Laubfarben ändern sich sehr rasch im Frühjahr. Das “frische Grün” gibt es nur für ganz kurze Zeit.

EIne Woche später trifft man einen ganz anderen Grünton an.
An den ersten Frühjahrstagen, wenn die Bäume austreiben, gibt es diese leuchtenden Farben.
Die Birken haben dann eine ganz besondere Farbe.
Ein Regentag kann sehr interessant sein für Landschaftsfotos.
Die erste Maiwoche: Die Farben sind jetzt dunkler. Es sieht immer noch toll aus, aber die Stimmung ist eine andere.

Wo sollte man Bilder machen?

Es ist gut zu wissen, wo man im Frühjahr die vielen Grüntöne findet. Die beste Idee dafür ist meist ein Plan, lange bevor der Frühling beginnt. Generell wird man nach Wäldern mit vielen verschiedenen Laubbaumarten Ausschau halten. Falls man keine Naturreservate oder derartige Wälder in der Umgebung hat, sind Landschaftsgärten, vor allem “englische Gärten” sehr geeignet. Bergwälder mit ihren Fichten und Tannen können auch interessant sein, aber dort gibt es in der Regel weniger Farbauswahl. Man müsste auch dort nach naturbelassenen Wäldern Ausschau halten. Sehr interessant sind naturbelassene Wiesen mit einer großen Auswahl an Pflanzen. Die hier gezeigten Bilder wurden in Deutschland zwischen dem Ammersee und dem Lech aufgenommen.

Peter Engelmann, 8. Mai 2020

https://stormypictures.de/peter-engelmann/

Landscape photography in spring: Many shades of green

The end of winter and the beginning of spring is always a special time. Nature awakes. It’s a great time for photographers too. After a long time where we see mostly brown and grey in the landscape, there is an explosion of green and yellow. However, you have to act fast to capture the many shades of green.

The beginning of spring is not the same every year. Sometimes it happens earlier but in some years when it’s cold and there is still snow spring comes late. Usually, you see the first plants already in February on the Northern Hemisphere: Snowdrop plants and later on cowslips appear even there is still snow. The Yellow forsythia is a herald of spring. But it’s still a long way. However often in April, everything happens very fast. Meadows become green and yellow again. In some areas, the Meadows turn into an intense yellow when the dandelion is blooming.

The motives are easy to capture. You don’t need expensive gear. However, it is great if you have a camera which shoots in raw mode. There are much more opportunities to play around with the shades of green later in post-production.

The different phases of the spring season

The most interesting part happens when the trees are sprouting. Only for a short time, we see what is called the “fresh green” in nature. It’s the time and weeks after spring awakening. Later in May, we see mostly a darker green in gardens and forests. The foliage doesn’t show so many different shades of green then. Thus, landscape photographers have to be quick and be ready when the right moment comes.

Cowlips are among the plants which appear early in spring.
Fruit tree blossom in April. The most trees are still without leaves.
The nights are still cold. It looks like spring is still far away but within days there will be graduated shades of radiant yeallow and green. Spring awakening is already in full progress.

In the Northern Hemisphere the growing season begins in the South as Italy or Greece and arrives later in Northern countries. Farmers know a lot about the dynamics in nature and there are scientific parameters too. The most important parameter is the grassland temperature sum (GTM). The sum is based on an equation. If the sum is 200 Celsius the farm work begins.

If you want to learn about the beginning of the growing season check with your local weather services website. There is often information about the progress of spring there. If you are used to read weather data there are also specialized weather websites for farmers etc, for example https://www.agweb.com/weather in the US.

Weather, of course, plays a crucial role. You will see fast changes in nature after a period of rain in the spring. These are often the best moments to shoot pictures.

Sunlight is good to capture the many shades of green in Spring. However, a rainy day can be very interesting too since there are a lot of different moods. Morning time and the time before sunset is often the best time for shooting pictures of blooming trees.

The graduated shades of radiant green

Pictures of fresh green mostly don’t need a lot of post-production. However, some filters and development can help to create stronger differences between the shades of green.

End of April: Often the best time to capture the graduated shades of green. Use the luminance panel in photoshop or lightroom to add details to the many shades of green. Be careful with saturation because the colours are already very strong.
Colors of foliage change very quickly in spring. The “fresh green” lasts only for a short ime.

One week later there is a different shade of green
It’t the first days when trees are spouting you see these radiant colors.
Birch trees have very distinct colors.
A rainy day can very interesting for landscape photography
First Week Of May: Colors are darker now. It still looks great but its already a completely different mood.

Where to shoot

It’s good to know where you can find the “many shades of green” in Spring. The best thing is to have a plan where to go long before the season begins. Generally, you might want to look for a forest with a huge variety of trees, a mixed forest. If you don’t have nature reserves or these type of forest around you can do also great pictures in landscape gardens, English-style. Mountain forests with many fir trees can also be interesting but there is, of course, less variety of colours there. Look also for meadows which are very natural and where there is a variety of flowers and plants. The pictures above were taken in Germany, Upper Bavaria between the river Lech and the lake Ammersee.

Peter Engelmann, May 8, 2020

https://stormypictures.de/peter-engelmann/

Magnificient Skies And Brilliant Colors Like Never Before

April 6, 2020

The Corona crisis is an unparalleled situation and there is no bright side to this. It would have been wonderful if we could have made observations about changes in the atmosphere, weather and perhaps climate change under different circumstances. Nevertheless, it appears there is a unique chance for a potentially positive change in the future. For some days we see for the time how a sky would look like with little or no pollution in the air.

When the crisis reached Europe and the rest of the world air traffic declined. In Germany, there was a lockdown after middle of march. There are fewer planes operating. We now see an immediate effect: In Middle Europe, there was a high-pressure weather pattern in March and is still lasting in April. The air became clear and cold with some dust in the morning. However, there was a new quality in the atmosphere.

Over the last years there was a lot of pollution in the atmosphere due to increasing air traffic. The contrails never disappeared. The sky always looked dirty. It looked liked as the atmosphere couldn’t take any more. It was too much pollution. The result was often a strange sky with unusual clouds which presumably inspired the “Chemtrail Conspiracy theory”.

Now we have a chance to see how a sky without pollution and air-plane traffic looks like. It is not only like looking through a window which was cleaned up after a long time. We see different colors. There is some otherworldliness too it. It is like entering a different realm, a world remembered from childhood days for the elder generation.

The absence of pollution and air traffic doesn’t only mean clear skies and great colors. It looks like a healthier world and might have also effects for weather and climate. Hopefully there is a chance for scientists to do research even the circumstances appear difficult.

Air traffic created an artificial cloud layer on many days. Thus, there was less cooling in the night. The pollution added to global warming. We will see how weather patterns develop if there is little or now pollution in the upper atmosphere.

There is another interesting question: We don’t know very much about cloud development and how the increased air traffic has changed the development of clouds as rain clouds. Over the last years climate change led to many droughts. Scientists say this is mostly because of the CO2 emission but perhaps there are other factors. If we see more clouds now like we had a long time ago it could mean that air traffic had a much bigger impact than previously assumed.

Sky In Upper Bavaria before “Shutdown” with residue of airplane exhaust
Another Image with airplane residue near Mitenwald

Sky after lockdown end of March after shower
Sunset April 1, 2020
The next day.
April 5, 2020, Sunday Afternoon