Reflection

My aim for this project was to gain an in-depth knowledge into a complex subject that I was interested in learning about, so that I could educate others with my findings. After some thought I decided on the topic clouds, I believed that this could be an interesting and thought provocative subject. From my initial research it was clear that the majority of books and articles were greatly scientific, making the information focused on meteorologists, academics and physicists. From the beginning this brought to my attention the difficulty others like myself may have in finding information on clouds that they could understand. As a result, I decided that I would convey my information in a manner more understandable to a wider population.

As a starting point I decided to look into how clouds are formed and the various formations that can occur, this information was gathered primarily from reliable internet sources, such as the Met Office. I feel like this was a necessary place to begin my research in order to gather basic knowledge on the formation of clouds. Once I understood fully how clouds were formed I began to think about how pollution may be affecting the size, number and rate at which clouds are forming. To uncover this I used a mixture of scientific websites and scientific papers to gather a knowledgable understanding. I took to finding guides on clouds in the library, I carefully chose two that appeared to be less scientific but on further inspection there was a trend of mathematical equations and physics orientated writing. At this point I felt that I was having great difficulty making sense of the information that I had obtained and needed to find a more suitable ways to uncover interesting data. I came across the book ‘A Cloud Spotters Guide’ which takes a relaxed approach in teaching readers about cloud formations. This was much more useful as I could easily gain further understanding into various aspects of the topic which allowed me to progress into looking deeper into interesting and more in-depth areas of investigation.

In particular I decided to focus my study on the altocumulus standing lenticularis more commonly known as the lenticular cloud. Again, I began with developing my knowledge on the way in which they are formed before focusing on various characteristics such as iridescence. By reading a scientific paper entitled ‘Coronas and Iridescence in Mountain Wave Clouds’ by Joseph A. Shaw and Paul J. Neiman, I was able to gather a large amount of rich information from a reliable source. This information took a while to digest and understand to a point where I was confident that what I understood was correct. The formation of these clouds is greatly aesthetically pleasing, this is the reason for my decision for them to become my sole focus. I myself became fascinated with their uniqueness and mystery. This curiosity led me into discovering how these clouds can and are often mistaken for unidentified flying objects. There are a number of newspaper articles, websites and online blogs that document such sightings that were later proven to be lenticular clouds. Whilst pursuing this avenue of investigation I found myself researching more into UFO’s and aliens. Although I went off-track for a short while I believe that this helped me to look for less obvious information such as formations and general scientific information. I found a gateway into less known about information, things that the general public may find more engaging and interesting. Myths were a large part of my later research regarding lenticular clouds, where I discovered an account describing a theory developed with the intention of explaining these clouds in a somewhat complex and unorthodox manner.

During this project I also looked into various other aspects linking to clouds that were also interesting, although I did not engage with these in the same way in which I did with my final focus. I came across a method in which clean water sources could be extract from clouds, referred to as cloud water harvesting. This process uses a net that is situated high up, preferably on a mountain that captures liquid water droplets from low formations that then condenses into clean, drinkable water. Whilst exploring this I came across a charity called PHOG who’s aim is to use this process in order to provide less economically developed countries with continuous access to clean water sources. Another interesting topic that I investigated in depth was the cloud buster, a piece of machinery that can manipulate cloud formations. This was developed by Wilhelm Reich who also discovered orgone energy, a key factor in the cloud busters process. At the same time as discovering the lenticular cloud I learnt about the morning glory. This is a formation of roll cloud from the stratocumulus genus that is unique to the Gulf of Carpentaria in Northern Queensland, Australia that appears for a few early mornings a year. During spring time a small community of people consisting mostly of gliders travel to see the morning glory, sometimes waiting weeks for it to appear. This formation can stretch lengths up to 600 miles and reach speeds of 35mph.

For my final outcome I chose to create a short magazine that informs the reader about cloud formations in an understandable manner by using an optimum balance between imagery, diagrams and text.

Overall, I feel that my research has contributed to my final outcome successfully. It has given me many interesting potential topics that I could follow up at a later date to expand my final publication. I thoroughly engaged in the subject, however, the transformation between research and designing was a slow process. I felt that I had a great number of compelling subject matters that could have easily supported an educational and visually beautiful magazine. This became a problem when deciding what I was going to create. Choosing to focus on lenticular clouds was good decision as I was able to transfer my knowledge in a more simple and engaging manner then the papers that I had read myself. Not only this but the imagery of these clouds is beautiful. If at a later date I have the chance to come back to this project I would like to expand my knowledge further on other mysterious formations.

 

Final Concept Map

The concept map below is a concise visual approach showing the research that I have so far conducted. I used it to highlight key areas and elaborate on possible focal points that have be of the most interest throughout this brief. I made a conscious decision to include a great amount of relevant points that were essential in order for my to narrow the broad subject of clouds down do something more manageable.

For the visual I made a decision to include a coloured background, this is something that I would not normally do and therefore wanted to experiment with the effects that this could have itself. Just this simple change made a huge difference, it is now much more eye catching and aesthetically pleasing. Having the blue background and white text almost suggests that the type is in fact representing clouds.

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Lenticular Printing

For my book cover I have decided to look into lenticular printing as this links to the publications main topic. Lenticular printing uses lenses, pieces of plastic or glass are used to reflect light which makes the images appear larger or smaller. By using two or more images together the lenses can make images appear to move or change.

Trip to the Peaks

For my magazine I decided that instead of using all sourced images that it would be nice to include some of my own, of course I can’t get any of lenticular clouds but the introduction that gives a brief insight into how clouds a formed will contain images of typical cloud formations. I went to Padley Gorge in the Peak District about an hour before sunset (mainly because of the rain) where I used my camera, iPhone and GoPro to take photos, time lapses and videos of the clouds.

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Yorkshire

In December 2011 there were a number of lenticular clouds spotted in West Yorkshire. This is a rare occurrence in the UK as there are no areas particularly high enough to cause an obstruction to the air flow. These wave clouds were in fact caused due to stable, moist air that travelled across the Pennines.

Unfortunately there is not a great deal of information about this lenticular cloud, however, there’s some nice photos.

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This has made me curious about other altocumulus lenticularis that have formed in the UK, but examples of this are proving to be hard to find.