My Favorite Weather

Mattole Road-22

It's not been a particularly good winter for photography on the northcoast of California. Too many sunny and hazy days: the worst possible weather for taking pictures! More typically, sunny winter days on the northcoast are supposed to be fairly clear, with the sky decorated by wisps of high clouds, like in the following image:

Not so this year, in which we've had lot's of hazy days, something more like this:

Heading toward last weekend, there was some hope that this would change. The weather forecast was:

Saturday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms could produce small hail. Partly sunny, with a high near 48. West wind between 7 and 10 mph becoming calm. Sunday: A 50 percent chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 45. Northwest wind between 6 and 11 mph.

Some people assume that any weather forecast involving rain must be bad. Nonsense. As long as the forecast includes "partly sunny," rain is more than welcome. Sun mixed with rain means dramatic clouds, vibrant colors, and rainbows. Note the wind speeds between 6 and 11mph. That's perfect as well: just enough wind to keep the air clear and fresh, but not enough to blow up dust or sea spray, diffusing the air with haze.

So how did it all work out? Well, Saturday turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. There were, to be sure, clouds mixed with sun. But the clouds were not of the dramatic storm-created variety. There was no small hail or precipitation of any kind. The sunrise at Dry Lagoon was, well, kind of boring; no dramatic colors, no striking effects, no burst of orange or reds or yellows, just a few little wisps of pale pink:

Beach scenes were not much better:

Matters improved toward the evening, as some high clouds decorated the sky above Sharp Point:

In other words, not the sort of day one might have wished to hope for. Sunday was better. The hail did roll in, and the clouds were more dramatic: