Wednesday, October 21st 2020, 3:20 pm - The ghostly cloud formation was caught on camera by Chilean photographer Francisco Javier Negroni Rodriguez over the rock formation known as El Chaltén.
Being a weather photographer can sometimes mean a lot of waiting, and no small amount of luck, but it's all worth it when the clouds part and a shot for the ages reveals itself.
That alignment of fortune and location happened to Chilean photographer Francisco Javier Negroni Rodriguez, who said he had been walking the trails around the jagged El Chaltén rock formation in Argentine Patagonia for an hour, with little success, when the cloudy weather unexpectedly let up.
"Only for a moment the clouds allowed me to see El Chaltén and to my surprise there was a spectacular and brilliant lenticular cloud with a beautiful and perfect figure that I had never seen," Rodriguez told the Royal Meteorological Society (RMS).
Photo courtesy Francisco Javier Negroni Rodriguez, used with permission.
The amazing shot is featured on the shortlist for the society's 2020 Weather Photographer of the Year contest.
Lenticular clouds take their name from their lense-like shape, and are sometimes mistaken for UFOs. You can see more of them in the time lapse video atop this article.
They can sometimes form under the right conditions, when stable, moist air flows over raised land, such as mountains.
"If the temperature at the top of the wave crest drops to the dew point, condensation can occur, forming clouds. As the air then moves back down into the wave trough, the temperature rises and the cloud evaporates back into water vapour," the RMS explains. "This condensation and evaporation within the wave crests and troughs results in the lenticular clouds we see."
There are, of course, no shortage of mountains and hills in Canada, so these kinds of clouds make an appearance here as well, particularly in the West.
As for Rodriguez, he's an old hand at weather and landscape photography, with a special penchant for volcanoes. You can browse his work on his website.