A Letter to Mother Nature: a book review

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:52 AM GMT on June 05, 2012

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One of the features of wunderground.com that I'm most proud of is one all of you can take credit for--our wunderphotos. Each day, users of the web site upload an average of 500 - 600 photos of some of the most beautiful and spectacular natural phenomena on the planet. We all share the same atmosphere, and one really gets a sense of that connection when we look at the wunderphotos, which come from every corner of the planet. Since 2003, 1.5 million wunderphotos have been uploaded, with over half a million just in the past three years. We have a dedicated team of volunteer reviewers that screen each photo, and I owe a big thank-you to all of you who have served as wunderphoto moderators. One of our most dedicated wunderphotographers, Lucy Woodley (wunderhandle: observing), was inspired to collect a set of 90 of her favorite wunderphotos and put them into a book. Her effort, A Letter to Mother Nature, was published this May. Each photo in the book has a sentence above it, poetically describing the scene below. It only takes a few minutes to whip through the book, but the spectacular images and thoughtful text invite one to linger longer and contemplate the natural beauty we are surrounded by. Here's a sampling of the text and images from the book, with wunderphotos by SunsetFL, CameraDiva, and Sharrose:

Dear Mother Nature,
Quite simply, I am in awe
of you and here is why...

You remind us to always look up...



...for there are great wonders overhead.



We can't resist dancing in your meadows.




A Letter to Mother Nature is $14.99 (paperback) from amazon.com. Proceeds from sale of the book go to support the disaster relief charity Portlight.org, founded by members of the wunderground community. I give A Letter to Mother Nature my highest rating, five out of five stars.

Rare transit of Venus today
I hope all you wunderphotographers will help document for us today a rare celestial happening--a transit of Venus across the sun. On June 5th at 3:09 pm PDT, Venus will begin a historic 7-hour transit of the solar disk, appearing as a dark spot against the sun's blazing face. This will be the last transit of Venus across the sun until 2117. As always, when viewing the sun, be sure to do it indirectly, or use a proper filter such as a #14 welder's glass to block the sun's eye-damaging rays. NASA.gov has more info. I'll link the best wunderphotographs taken of today's transit at the bottom of this post tonight and Wednesday morning. Below is one from Venus' last transit of the sun, back in 2004. Thanks, wunderphotographers!

Jeff Masters

Venis in transit (tillerdog)
Venus in transit across the sun June 8, 2004. Taken at sun rise in Flagler Beach Floirda ( USA ) with a 850mm lens by photojournalist Jim Tiller.
Venis in transit
Transit of Venus (redtim)
Transit of Venus from the Wunderground Office
Transit of Venus
Venus Sunset 7 (Nikongranny)
Venus across the sun during a cloudy evening.
Venus Sunset 7
Transit of Venus (LaddObservatory)
Despite thick clouds we were able to capture a brief glimpse of the planet Venus transiting the Sun. This image was taken with a modern digital camera attached to the historic Ladd Observatory telescope (1891) The clouds thinned just enough to capture this one image at 6:21:38 PM EDT, just moments after second contact.
Transit of Venus
Venus and sunspots at sunset (Llamadave)
I took this from a telescope projection on a white surface in West Lafayette, IN
Venus and sunspots at sunset
Transit of Venus 2012 (Guruchild)
I used a first generation canon digital rebel, a 300mm telephoto lens, a circular polarizing filter, and the low atmosphere to capture this beautiful amateur photograph of Venus dotting the Sun's disc.
Transit of Venus 2012
Venus transit (milfeld)
Venus transit

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Pretty big sal outbreak right now in the Tropical Atlantic that is normal for June. That hole that is seen is where a tropical wave is located.

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I'll say C I think the gulf is getting it this year
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stalled out still
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6493
had a nice boomer here on Staten Island i got some videos and thought i would post em here along with a RAINBOWWWWW!!!!!!!
Rainbow!!!

Thunderstorm Updraft

Another view of the storm.

Hail

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Random poll.

Q: How many major hurricane landfalls will we see this season?

A.) 0
B.) 1
C.) 2
D.) 3 or more

I'm going to have to go with C. Even though I'm hoping we get lucky again, I just don't see how the USA can go unscathed this season with many close-to-home formations.


c
Member Since: June 17, 2011 Posts: 11 Comments: 6493
C.
Member Since: June 4, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 767
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Random poll.

Q: How many major hurricane landfalls will we see this season?

A.) 0
B.) 1
C.) 2
D.) 3 or more

I'm going to have to go with C. Even though I'm hoping we get lucky again, I just don't see how the USA can go unscathed this season with many close-to-home formations.
We went untouched for this long.So why not try again this year :).
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Random poll.

Q: How many major hurricane landfalls will we see this season?

A.) 0
B.) 1
C.) 2
D.) 3 or more

I'm going to have to go with C. Even though I'm hoping we get lucky again, I just don't see how the USA can go unscathed this season with many close-to-home formations.


The question is about major canes making landfall not hurricanes categories 1-2 so I go with B.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Random poll.

Q: How many major hurricane landfalls will we see this season?

A.) 0
B.) 1
C.) 2
D.) 3 or more

I'm going to have to go with C. Even though I'm hoping we get lucky again, I just don't see how the USA can go unscathed this season with many close-to-home formations.


I'll say B. Even though we will have quite a few of "Home Brews" I do not think they will reach Cat 3 status, and if they do, they will not make landfall as a Cat 3.
Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 622
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
Random poll.

Q: How many major hurricane landfalls will we see this season?

A.) 0
B.) 1
C.) 2
D.) 3 or more

I'm going to have to go with C. Even though I'm hoping we get lucky again, I just don't see how the USA can go unscathed this season with many close-to-home formations.


C. One in the US, one elsewhere.
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Quoting MississippiWx:
Fairly broad area turning across the SW Gulf seen on visible and it shows up on the 850mb vort maps. There's another area in the convection in the Eastern Gulf. Once/if the shear clears out then that might be when we need to pay closer attention to the Gulf as persistent trofiness/lower pressures sit over the Gulf. Could be a classic setup for a homegrown system as high pressure builds in over the Northern states next week.




Worth watching!
Member Since: June 4, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 767
Random poll.

Q: How many major hurricane landfalls will we see this season?

A.) 0
B.) 1
C.) 2
D.) 3 or more

I'm going to have to go with C. Even though I'm hoping we get lucky again, I just don't see how the USA can go unscathed this season with many close-to-home formations.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32033
1358. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
1357. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
1356. LargoFl
......................................looks like storms all along the gulf coast this evening
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1355. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
1354. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
1353. beell
Quoting RitaEvac:
Curious as to what the outflow boundary coming from Beaumont is going to do as it goes SW, will it do nothing, explode new storms over Chamber/Liberty counties, or blow up storms later on past Houston/Galveston and put us right in the dry slot


Strong enough to be a focus for some t-storms west/southwest of Houston tomorrow.
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1352. LargoFl
BAY AREA --
A line of storms has begun moving across Pinellas County from the Gulf of Mexico.

The storms could bring winds gusts of up to 20 mph and more heavy rain.

Earlier Wednesday, storm damage and flooding were reported in Hudson as thunderstorms moved across parts of the Bay area. Pasco County Fire Rescue responded to the Holy Ground Homeless Shelter shortly after 1:30 p.m. after a tree fell on a building.
Parts of Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa were closed as normal low areas of the roadway flooded. The roadway has since been reopened.
The latest forecast every 10 minutes with Weather on the Nines
The strongest storms moved through Pinellas, Manatee, Hillsborough and Polk Counties. According to Bay News 9 Meteorologist Josh Linker, thunderstorms from the Gulf of Mexico are moving onshore with heavy rain and some high winds.
The storms are moving very quickly to the northeast.

"High pressure is south of our area, and a frontal boundary is dropping south toward North Florida with high rain chances for a couple of days,'' Linker said. "It will stay warm and muggy through the day and into tonight with chances of rain and thunderstorms throughout the day.''
The wet conditions are likely to continue Thursday with high rain chances again.
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
Quoting centex:
Dry slot is a term I've gotten all to familiar with. The early spring rains did help, keeping our temps down below 100, but we about to start summer really dry, May was a bust. After the spring rains my largest tree decided to die after starting to leaf out. Arborist tried to save it but now I need to pay a lot to get it removed. Lots of trees still dying, a delayed reaction from last years extreme drought. I was told to expect the die off for two years.


Quoting RitaEvac:
Curious as to what the outflow boundary coming from Beaumont is going to do as it goes SW, will it do nothing, explode new storms over Chamber/Liberty counties, or blow up storms later on past Houston/Galveston and put us right in the dry slot
Looking at the GOES composite, it does seem the moisture is moving West. Counterintuitive to most of us, but that's what I'm seeing.
LCRA met Bob Rose said to expect nocturnal firing of storms, and you can see the high pressure over the western half of TX rapidly dissipating.

I sure would love to be ashamed of myself for jumping the gun earlier and calling the forecast for rain a despicable bust.
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1350. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
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1348. LargoFl
Member Since: August 6, 2011 Posts: 4 Comments: 38478
1347. yqt1001
Quoting Articuno:

Wow, where is the picture on your desktop took?
Tetons? Glacier NP? ?


It's part of the Canada theme that comes with Windows Vista. It's from Banff Alberta iirc.

Quoting WxGeekVA:


You use Opera? How is it?


I use it for websites that Firefox can't use (dunno why). It's fast and is a lighter version of Google Chrome, however it's a lot slower if you have some addons.
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Only if you say 15th of June at 2:17pmCDT plus-or-minus 11seconds
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
1345. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:

Mine (You can see my OCD coming out lol).



Pfft... If that's OCD then what do I have?



XD
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1344. centex
Quoting RitaEvac:
Curious as to what the outflow boundary coming from Beaumont is going to do as it goes SW, will it do nothing, explode new storms over Chamber/Liberty counties, or blow up storms later on past Houston/Galveston and put us right in the dry slot
Dry slot is a term I've gotten all to familiar with. The early spring rains did help, keeping our temps down below 100, but we about to start summer really dry, May was a bust. After the spring rains my largest tree decided to die after starting to leaf out. Arborist tried to save it but now I need to pay a lot to get it removed. Lots of trees still dying, a delayed reaction from last years extreme drought. I was told to expect the die off for two years.
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"Something is still possible over the Atlantic mid month..(is TomTaylor going to punish me if I say 15th of June?).Any who it will be interesting how July turns out....
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Quoting winter123:
The GOM "system" lacks convection but looks pretty interesting otherwise.

Loop

Sub Tropical?
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Fairly broad area turning across the SW Gulf seen on visible and it shows up on the 850mb vort maps. There's another area in the convection in the Eastern Gulf. Once/if the shear clears out then that might be when we need to pay closer attention to the Gulf as persistent trofiness/lower pressures sit over the Gulf. Could be a classic setup for a homegrown system as high pressure builds in over the Northern states next week.



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Quoting yqt1001:
My desktop...may need some cleaning. XD



You use Opera? How is it?
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Switching back and forth..

Though, I'd say there's a fair chance that we'll get Chris around the 18th-20th.
Well the gfs and the ecmwf have been very consistent with development in the epac around the 14th-15th which looks to be at least partially a result of a wave currently off Africa reaching central America and helping to enhance convective activity along with the mjo. This wave could also get something get something going in the Atlantic although most models and ensemble runs don't show anything happening in the Atlantic until after the 16th or 17th. But yeah those sound like good dates and it looks like we have a good chance of seeing something sometime that week.
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Quoting yqt1001:
My desktop...may need some cleaning. XD


Wow, where is the picture on your desktop took?
Tetons? Glacier NP? ?
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The GOM "system" lacks convection but looks pretty interesting otherwise.

Loop
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1336. icmoore
Link
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This is what it looks like now, I didn't want to fullscreen it because it would mess it up.

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Nice outflow boundary heading towards Houston. Hopefully it gets here and sparks off some storms!!

Member Since: August 18, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 622
Quoting yqt1001:


That short term!? July-November! No storms! Bust!
Man we'll only have two storms this year.The shear is to strong!!.
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1332. yqt1001
My desktop...may need some cleaning. XD

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Quoting yqt1001:


That short term!? July-November! No storms! Bust!

Really guys? We're not going to see any more storms for the next century....at least.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32033
1330. yqt1001
Quoting washingtonian115:
No storm is gonna form in June??.Man this season is a bust.July will be just as boring to.J/K.


That short term!? July-November! No storms! Bust!
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Quoting WxGeekVA:
This just got shared by a friend on Facebook, just taken today from one of the Montana supercells. It is also my new desktop background.


Mine (You can see my OCD coming out lol).

Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32033
No storm is gonna form in June??.Man this season is a bust.July will be just as boring to.J/K.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


If that high is in that position by August/September, threats will increase for the Greater Antilles/Bahamas and Florida.
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This just got shared by a friend on Facebook, just taken today from one of the Montana supercells. It is also my new desktop background.

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1325. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
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1324. etxwx
Quoting AtHomeInTX:
Quick local update...the storms hit I 10 then headed west and a storm formed to the south exiting Orange Co. Didn't get a drop here right in the middle. :)


Argh...they went east of us and west of us and the rain gauge south of us had an inch. Yes, I'm stuck in the middle with you. Or on a different lyrical note...so close, so close and yet so far.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Switching back and forth..

Though, I'd say there's a fair chance that we'll get Chris around the 18th-20th.

I agree.
Member Since: July 6, 2010 Posts: 113 Comments: 32033
I wonder what Levi thinks the chances of development later this month is.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24018
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
No storm in the Atlantic on the 18Z GFS, just a bunch of disorganized thunderstorm activity.


Switching back and forth..

Though, I'd say there's a fair chance that we'll get Chris around the 18th-20th.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24018
Several severe storms have already popped up in Wyoming... I'm especially watching one just to the ENE of Cheyenne.
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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.