Earlier this year, a photographer in Siberia was having the time of her life at the peak of the Belukha Mountain when an amazing phenomenon played out before her eyes. Thankfully, her camera was nearby and she took some stunning shots for the rest of the world to see . Svetlana Kazina from Russia had witnessed cloud iridescence, a beautiful optical phenomenon that occurs when the clouds in the sky turn iridescent, taking on colors that resemble those seen in soap sods or illuminated oil.
Cloud iridescence is caused by tiny droplets of water in the cloud acting as natural prisms at the same time and scattering light to produce amazing colors.
At 4506 meters, the Belukha Mountain is the highest peak of the Altai Mountains in Russia. Countless meteorological and natural phenomena can be observed and photographed nicely at various distances. Kazina enjoys hanging out at the two meteorological stations in the area: the Akkem weather station (located at 2050m [6726 feet]) and the Karaturek weather station (2600m [8530 feet]. She’d been tutored by several meteorologists, pilots, and even rescuers who ply the terrains regularly.
When she saw the cloud iridescence forming, Kazina knew she had to be quick because it wouldn’t last very long. Her excellent Nikon 850 camera with the Nikkor 28-300 lens was the perfect fit for the lovely scene.
“I captured the iridescent clouds on a frosty winter morning, standing on the frozen Ak-Kem Lake,” she said to Bored Panda . “Iridescence is a fairly common phenomenon in our mountains. When taking these cloud photos, I used a polarizing filter to make the formations even clearer. Firstly, the sun rose higher and higher, and it was getting too bright. Secondly, I had to fly to the second weather station.”
At one with nature
Almost two decades ago, Kazina made a decision that gave her the quality of life she’d always wanted. She was in love with nature and a huge fan of photography, but the Russian city life didn’t allow her the opportunity to explore her dreams. She quit her job and moved with her two kids to a village near the country’s border with Kazahkstan. At Uznezya, Kazina and her kids first moved into a wooden hut until their home was completed almost seven years ago.
They were so in love with the mountains that the few discomforts didn’t matter. There was no electricity, no proper bathroom facilities, and no running water. However, they were at one with nature, thriving in the utter peace the city could never have given them.
Over the years, Kazina has spent most of her time capturing the expansive mountains and peaks. She doesn’t mind the long trips, as exhausting as they are. For her almost 60,000 Instagram followers and 22,800 Facebook fans, Kazina enjoys touring her habitat and capturing some of the most exciting pictures and mind-blowing phenomena for everyone to enjoy.
“I often visit the Belukha Mountain just because I really love it and the whole Katun ridge,” Kazina said. “[From where I live,] it’s a one-day trip by car to a nearby village, after which the road ends. Then, two days on foot or on horseback to the Ak-Kem valley and one more day to the foot of the Belukha mountain.”
When Kazina captured her viral cloud iridescence photo, she had to make the clouds more vivid in her pictures. They could be seen clearly by the naked eye, but at that proximity to the sun, it would have been impossible to make the colors out in the photos.
She also captured a final shot with her phone when she finally dropped her camera. “[It was] an amazingly big mother-of-pearl cloud which was colorful for roughly an hour. The colors grew in intensity as the sun sank lower behind the horizon.”
- The Siberian Times. Stunning iridescent clouds snapped above skies of Siberia’s Belukha Mountain. Sott. https://www.sott.net/article/426196-Stunning-iridescent-clouds-snapped-above-skies-of-Siberias-Belukha-mountain Retrieved 20-08-2020
- Rokas Laurinavicius. Pics Of Bizarre Iridescent Clouds Over Siberia Go Viral (11 Pics). Bored Panda. https://www.boredpanda.com/photographer-rare-ethereal-clouds-siberia-svetlana-kazina/
- Lara Sorokanich. A Rare Look at an Iridescent Cloud. National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/7/130718-rainbow-cloud-weather-photography/ Retrieved 20-08-2020