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143 Awesome Photos of Clouds

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Fluffy clouds! Wispy clouds! Sunset clouds! Xtreme clouds! The 143 photographers who entered this week's Shooting Challenge have all your basic and custom cloud needs covered.

WINNER - Cloud Bomb

Last week a buddy from El Paso came into town and we went out around my neighborhood in Austin, TX with my Nikon film camera to take some pictures. I love shooting film for many reasons. Film has a quality about it that I can't stay away from. It also forces this delayed gratification concept that myself, at 22, am at a constant struggle with. I don't own a digital camera - just my point and shoot Nikon.


For this shot - I saw this huge thunderhead developing far off over the horizon. I was on a zoom lens and I knew it would look epic if I zoomed in to compress the space. I had no idea how epic it would turn out. I was able to capture just after sunset at dusk. I fell in love with this picture because my friend is looking back to see all the stages of golden hour in a massive thunderhead/nuclear bomb. I was probably shooting around f5.6 on a 135 mm lens. Fugifilm 400 speed Supera film. This capture was a personal best for me, and I can't wait to top it!
-Cameron Schmucker


Shades of Gray

So I went out and bought a cheap-o polarizing filter this week on gizmodo's suggestion and this shot was taken when I was fiddling around with how to use the filter. It's amazing how a quarter-turn of the filter can change the photo. This is a shot of Catalina Island off the Southern California coast. I thought the photo worked as the island appears to be a cloud too. My wife thought it ended up looking like a monster: the island, its mouth; and the clouds, its eyes. I took a lot of photos of clouds this week and I went with this one as it was a little different from the "standard" cloud photo. Canon EOS REBEL T1i, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens with CPL filter, 1/125, f/13, 55mm, ISO 100, 0 EV.
-Matthew Johnson


So I set out to get some photo's of clouds for this week's gizmodo photo contest, I don't own a polorizing lens filter so I improvised by using a cheap pair of sun glasses, I was suprised by the results!
Nikon D3100, 18-55M kit lens, ISO 400.
-Justin Beck


Yellow, Red and Blue

I saw the red light glow through my blinds and into my eyes. I looked out the window and grabbed the camera quickly there after and this is the result.
The settings I used on my 550d/t2i with the kit 18-55 at 18mm were f/3.5, ISO-100 and 1/25, handheld.
-Andreas Vadian


It REALLY DOES Look Like a Reindeer

This was a little trial and error. The photo that actually turned out the best was the non polorized photos that I took. This was taken on my Canon XSi with a 50 mm1.4 lens. At 1/640 at f/5.6 ISO 100. This photo looks like a reindeer on a snowy plain!
-Seth Porter



I took this photo from a plane heading from Washington D.C to London, England with my Canon G11 After falling asleep for a bit I awoke, right at sunrise and just had to take a picture. I had quickly pulled out my G11 and got the settings just right, It took me almost 20 minutes to get the shot just right and making sure their was no reflections and snapped this shot. Canon G11, 55mm Prime lens (built in)
ISO: 80, Shutter Speed: 1/600, f/4
-David M. Utt


Clouds in Oil

Midway through 45 degree *Celsius* day, I naturally figured we would expect to see a fairly decent light show in the evening, as this is usually the case when we have such hot humid days here in Ottawa. I checked the weather radar, and sure enough, a beast of a storm was approaching. At the speed it was moving, it looked like I had about 2 hours until it would arrive (I work Sundays, so this took a bit of planning). I made sure to push my last 15 minute break far enough that I would catch this monster rolling in.


At about 7:20 local time, I went outside to see this churning monster moving in, followed by 140 Km/h sustained gusts, a dust storm in the face, and rain that felt like bullets. All in all it lasted about 15 minutes. I also learned about 5 minutes later that the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest main stage collapsed due to the heavy winds, with Cheap Trick mid-performance. No one was hurt, but it was quite disturbing seeing as a couple of years ago, I lived in Alberta and was around for another one of these freak storms that knocked down the Big Valley Jamboree stage and killed someone.

In regards to the picture, I didn't have my 40D with me at work, so I grabbed my iPhone 4 and snapped a few pictures. It was set on HDR, and this is the HDR shot, which was WAY cooler looking than the natural one. However, the noise on the photo was outrageous, so I plugged it into Lightroom and cranked up the noise reduction. That was the only change I made.
-Andrew Johnson


Exposure Tempest

They say the best camera is the one you have on you, so this is a sweet cell phone shot. Ughh hate when the DSLR is at home! I think it looks like a guys face with a goatee yelling at the sky!
-Sam Katz



I had an awesome time in Vegas and with lack of sleep I decided to sit in the backseat. Suddenly someone in the front was yelling out my name and telling me to pull out the camera and challenge me to shoot this pic. I was still drowsy and was still scratching my eyes as we were speeding along at 60mph down the Interstate 15 (San Bernardino Desert). Whip out the camera locked through the viewfinder and snapped 2 shots through the window. One in landscape and one in portrait. Slight cropping to take out the car's window sill. To my shock it actually came out!
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L @ 65mm, AV Priority, ISO 400, shooting speed: 1/4000, circular polarizer attached.
-Patrick Manzon


Rainbow I

This shot was taken out of an airplane window with a Canon Rebel XT. It was taken with a 50mm lens. Aperature was set at 1.4 and ISO was set at 400. I was just on my way to Italy and when I glanced out the window I was able to see a rainbow so I had to take a picture. It was amazing to be above the rainbow.
-Jessica Krzywicki


Rainbow II

It was a very hot and humid day in July. Somehow, a few hours after announcement on Gizmodo, there was an isolate storm over New York City. I was so happy to be cooled down without A/C. The rain stopped, clouds were slowly moving toward the East. My wife and I were having dinner and we spotted parts of the rainbow from our apartment window. I went out on the balcony. In a few seconds rainbow completed itself. I was rushing to get my camera, attached the widest lens I have on it. Ran back to the balcony and started firing. Nikon D300, Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED, 1/200, f/7.1
-Tunyaluck Phuttal


Funnel(ish) Cloud

I was on my way to Frankfort, MI with a friend and happened to see this cloud out the passenger side window. I have always wanted to photograph a tornado and this cloud was so uniquely shaped and reminded me of a funnel I had to capture an image of it to add to my collection of nature photography. Fuji FinePix S6000fd, ISO: 200, 17mm focal length, f/8
-Shannon Adams


Cloud Claw Attack

I was coming down from the northside (of Chicago) to my girlfriend's place on the westside and saw from the Kennedy expressway that the clouds coming off the lake just at the top of the buildings looked awesome. I knew I could get an awesome view/shot from the roof of her condo building so I punched it and when I got there I pretty much threw all my stuff at her and booked it up to the roof and started shooting away. Canon T2i, EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS at 18.0mm, f18, 1/80, ISO 100.
-Rob Lennox


Cloud Factory

Shot with a Samsung Infuse, ~4mm f/2.6 @1/2222. Edited in Photoshop for Color and Contrast. I was waiting all day to capture the vapor cloud in an interesting configuration, but I was too busy when there was no wind and it was shooting strait up into the sky.
-Matthew Neuman


Scary Face?

Around 8pm off my front deck in North West Las Vegas. A couple beers deep! Do you see the face in the clouds?Canon Powershot G11, 1/80sec at f/2.8, 6.1mm, Iso 80.
-Dan Leszczynski


Thanks to everyone who participated in this week's cloud challenge. There were a lot of first-timers, which is fantastic. The more of you who join in, the more perspectives we get. As always, the full galleries are below, wallpapers on flickr.

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.