By Mark La Ciura
contributing writer 

Weather watching


February 17, 2024

Mark La Ciura.

Rainbow in between storm fronts on Feb. 4.

Here are two weather photos from the last few weeks that I shot. Years ago when I first moved to the mountains, the local folks told me, "if you don't like the weather just wait 15 minutes."

Well, they were right. The weather up here has always been very interesting and changeable. We have had fast moving storm systems for the last week or so. They produce great sunrises, rainbows, lenticular clouds and many weather wind events.

I originally made the trek up to the mountains over 40 years ago to learn to fly sailplanes. A big part of the flight training was knowing mountain weather and how it impacts the thermal lift. Sailplane pilots use this lift to maintain altitude, gain altitude and be able to go cross-county to get somewhere. Above all that was the safety factor, knowing when it's a good day to fly.

These days I am more of a weather watcher then a sailplane pilot, but that training helps me with my weather photos and reading the weather radar we see from local meteorologists.

Mark La Ciura.

Winter lenticular wave cloud at the Tehachapi Airport.

So, living up in the mountains I try to have a real camera on hand – not a cell phone – with me. Yes, I am truly old school.

It's refreshing to leave the house and not take your phone. It is nice to unplug – you should try it. I still remember the day when using a phone booth was common. Was it not just a dime or a quarter to make a call? Yes, those were the days.

A real camera for me is one that has a removable lens and you can manually change settings – but don't worry if the need comes up to use a phone.

Oh and by the way, another thing the locals told me was always wave at people and be nice up here in the mountains. You just may make a new friend while you are weather watching, and you never know when you may need a helping hand.


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