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A fairy tale above the clouds, 20 Jan 2008 *BANDWIDTH WARNING*

Hello all,

I wanted to share a great trip I had on Sunday, I went to Mt. Nanos here in Slovenia to be above the inversion. Hope the lenght of it is not disturbing, but its hard to cut some parts. Living under the low cloudiness blanket for few days is really boring, so I was monitoring sounding from Udine to have an overview over the situation. Pretty strong subsidence in the high pressure ridge over south-central Europe gave me the power to go above the inversion. I was looking over Udine sounding when the best moment for photographing will be. I just had to be careful because SW low-level winds were expected to increase later in the day which will lead into rising of the low cloudiness above 1000m which is not that impressive anymore at Nanos. When I left home at the early afternoon the clouds started at around 600m and when I arrived to Razdrto, visibility was even below 20m! I noticed some blue lights more to the east and near the village Veliko Ubeljsko I came out of the fog, blue skies! There was a small hole in the cloud blanket above. It was made just behind the Nanos where air was flowing around Nanos and also some Föehn effects were present there. Here is the first photo of blue sky after few days...


I continued towards Nanos then through Rebrnice and Podnanos up towards the top. At about 600 to 800m I was punching though the layer of this low cloudiness blanket and finally its getting brighter above 850m. Temperature is only +4° here. I am almost above it...when I arrived above 900m the view is like in the fairy tale...fantastic feeling being on the sun again! Crystal clear air, visibility more than excelent. Temperature is here +7°. First photo above the blanket...

Fog and low cloudiness all around...


Julian Alps are almost in front of my nose in this crystal clear air...


Zoom-in directly into Mt. Triglav (2864m)...quite a lot of fresh snow there...

I went a bit higher to around 1000m to get a better angle for shooting. Temperature is here around +11°! A view towards Trnovski gozd...

And more wider view towards Italian Dolomites and Carnic Alps...

Some interesting details of undulating clouds over the Nanos ridges...



A view towards southwest shows Mt. Slavnik (1028m)...


Some clouds at the edge of the ridge is making some nice moments...


And also a young couple enjoying their moments on the sun with heavenly feeling above clouds in the back...


Almost full Moon rolls in...

But it does not interest me so much, clouds below are just too good. Continuing shooting and enjoying the moments of clouds undulating details...I also put a video camera to record this undulating (there is a video link from youtube at the end)...



One of the last moments on this height before I went up towards the top... a view towards Julian Alps and Trnovski gozd...a lower angle of the sun gives better colors...

From the Nanos top Plesa (1262m) the view down is like in the fairy tale... I am shooting like it is my last day :D



View directly down along the slope...

Towards the southwest some of the mountain tops are showing their heads... Vremscica, Slavnik, Cicarija and Ucka...

A close-up of Vremscica (1027m) with Cicarija (1106m) in the back...


Slavnik (1028m)...


And Ucka (1401m)...


Sunset is slowly approaching...colors getting better and better, ridges becoming red...



On the other side Mt. Sneznik (1796m) getting the sunset colors as well...

Zoom into Mt. Sneznik...also quite a lot of fresh snow from the last snowing few days ago...


Of course even Julian Alps are enjoying sunset colors...

Zoom view of Mt. Krn (2244m)...

And area around Mt. Kanin (2587m)...


The Moon is looking good in this clear air...one close-up...


The Nanos top Plesa in sunset colors with sea of clouds below...

The sun is sinking into the cloud blanket...I was waiting for the last sun ray moment...



Few minutes after the sunset I noticed anti-crepuscular rays on the opposite side. A city of Postojna under the blanket below...

On this photo the weak Föehn effect behind the Nanos is visible as I was talking in the beginning. Clouds are separated from Nanos and I was able to see the ground for some seconds as well...

A view towards Kamnisko-Savinjske Alps...


The colors at twilight are supernatural in this crystal clear air...relative humidity was only around 20%...


This mountain peak is Cimon della Pala (3184m) in the Italian Dolomites. The distance from Nanos is more than 180km away! A good point to show how excelent the air was...

Here is finally the video of my trip, first driving through the poor visibility in Razdrto and penetrating through the cloud blanket into the clear sky at 900m. And then some great animations of undulating low cloudiness around Nanos, also with the sunset at the end. Really impressive movings, wouldn't believe it if I wouldn't make these animations. Incredible!


Enjoy the photos and video!

Cheers, Marko

EDIT: some IMG tags changed to URL tags to perform better loading. Just click on those links to see the images.
Last edited by a moderator:

Incredible pictures! Would you mind converting some of those inline images (use of IMG tag) to links instead (URL tags)? Having upwards of 40 pictures in one post makes it extraordinarily long. Again, I think your pictures are excellent, so this is a bit of a technical request. Thanks!
Thanks to both! I was affraid it might be a bit too "heavy" to load, so as suggested I changed almost half of the IMG tags to URL tags, hope its better now.
Incredible pics! David said it best, it's just like looking out over an ocean of clouds. That would be a truly remarkable thing to witness first hand. Nice job!:)
Gorgeous photos Marko. You ever looked into creating Panorama's? From what I have experienced any digital Camera works, just take about 6 photos of more (left to right) and then put them into the Panorama Factory and amazingly the software blends, stitches and everything else to make the 6 photos look as one. Your pictures are amazing tho. Beautiful Snow Covered Mountains in the back. Looks like an ocean of clouds indeed.

Thank you for sharing with us those stunning photos. I'd say some of those are award winners; you might consider submitting them to photo contests.

I saw effects such as this also when living in the San Francisco Bay area. There are 3,000 ft mountains ringing the valley and at certain times of the year one could see sunsets like these from the hilltops.

Another cool effect that I have never seen anywhere else is when crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County (going north), sometimes you can drive right beside and into a vaporous waterfall of fog pouring down the hillside and into the valley. This is especially prevalent in the Summer.

There are additional places in the Bay area where you could see this, but not upclose. Still it's neat to see the constant river of cloud descending to the ground.
haha oh wow, I want to go badly now

it's warmer there by ten degrees anyway. :)
Wow those are indeed awesome.

Just a random question out of curiosity...how did you get up there? It seems pretty remote! Definitely awesome locations for unique photo shoots.
Awesome photos man. Looks like big pillows you could just jump out onto. Bet some overnight photography would be fun from up there, with a full moon helping light up the clouds.
I am in total awe of your work Marko. Your photos and video are fantasic and beautiful. This is a fabulous respresentation of the creation of our world !
Is this a rarity or is it a fairly common occurrence in that area? It makes me want to pack a suitcase and travel there just to see that in person.
Thank you all for your nice comments. I appreciate it!

@Gerrit: From time to time I do some panoramas as well, but this time I did not take pics in that style.

@Mike: I thought about that as well. But unfortunatelly I had to go before the night came. And the full Moon was almost there! Actually the third photo from the bottom was made at more dark time and brightness is partly also from the Moon. I will have to try the nighttime shooting next time.

@Adam & Dennis: Actually this happens few times per winter (from 1 to 2 days in a row to more than a week sometimes), depends on weather pattern across Europe. When a big ridge comes from Azores low cloudiness and fog is located in the north Italy as winds are more from SW, but more often when big blocks are more over continental Europe, low cloudiness is located more inland, the winds are from NE. It looks exactly the opposite like this time. Here is the sounding for the closest station that day...massive subsidence under the ridge is obvious:

Here you can see the topography around Alps...just to have an imaginations how it looks over here...(compare it with the satellites below):


This image is the VIS satellite from MODIS for the day I was there. My location - peak of Mt. Nanos is located in the SW Slovenia, I marked it with a blue dot:

Weather setup: http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/2008/avn/Rtavn00120080120.png

Usually the top for low cloudiness is between 800 in 1300m AGL so its pretty easily visible on some mountain peaks around here.

Here is the situation on Dec 29th 2007 when it was the opposite, you can see the obvious difference though.

And the weather setup: http://www.wetterzentrale.de/archive/2007/avn/Rtavn00120071229.png