Formation of Cumulus Clouds From Burning Wheat Fields, Time-lapse
For the last few weeks, farmers have been finishing their wheat harvest and burning the stubble to prepare the field for the next crop (the value and safety of this practice is debated), mostly soybeans around here. On this hot, humid day I saw some huge beautiful cumulonimbus clouds forming as a result of these burning fields. By the time I was able to get home and get out to our farm to set up for shooting, the clouds were not as impressive. I was impressed, though by the number of distant fields I was able to get, just in this frame, in this hour and a half period. At the top of some of these plumes of smoke, you can see the condensation, which is where they turn fluffy and white, before it cools and drops a bit then evaporates again. This time-lapse video was made last week using my Canon PowerShot S3 IS and Granite Bay Time-lapse software with my old Dell laptop. I took 1400 pics at a rate of 1 picture every 4 seconds. I made the music with Sony Acid Music Studio.
For the record, although I was involved with burning a few fields when I was younger, my family's farm hasn't grown wheat in the last couple of years so don't gripe at me if you are opposed to this practice. Here is a somewhat neutral story about the debate over this practice of burning wheat stubble from reflector.com. Also here is a recent letter and thread with some good old down home fussin' about whether to burn or not to burn from DailyAdvance.com in Elizabeth City, N.C.
You can see this time-lapse video of the burning wheat fields at my YouTube player page if you can't view quicktime videos.
UPDATE 7/10/08: Here is a good still shot of a cumulus cloud forming from the burning of wheat stubble by professional photographer Judd Patterson.