Glasgow skies

stratus

Folk don’t complain about the weather in Glasgow, they just keep their heads down and get on with it. The sky is often grey for days on end and yes, it does rain a lot. According to the Met Office, Glasgow gets sixty percent more annual rainfall and fifteen percent less sunshine than Edinburgh. Compared to the capital, Glasgow averages thirty-seven more rainy days each year – that’s more than a month’s worth. There are times when I think that I should give up landscape photography and turn to some studio-based genre (or perhaps get a waterproof camera). But it is not all bad and there are some very big compensations for the dreach weather.

oakleavesAll that rain produces wonderfully lush vegetation. The green section of the spectrum seems bigger here somehow, with more shades and tints than you’ll see anywhere else. Walk through woodland on a good day in early May and expect your eyes to be dazzled, to be overwhelmed by the intensity of the colours.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAEventually the rain-sodden layer of featureless stratus cloud slides away, as it must. And when it does, Glasgow usually puts on a first-rate show for those who care to look up. Low air pollution levels permit a purity and depth of blue which looks unreal to southern eyes used to pale and hazy skies. Moist air tumbling off the mountains and hills to the north and west of the city can produce short-lived rolls, tubes or strangely sculpted stacks of cloud. Fair-weather days often fill the sky with a photogenic flotilla of fluffy cumulus. The intricate shapes and icy patterns with which high altitude cirrus speces decorate the blue are very dramatic, but they also mean that – hey-ho – the rain will be back again tomorrow. And so it goes.

When Glasgow’s skies are good, they are very very good; you just have to catch the days as they come.

13 September 2014

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