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Photographer's Note

This is another picture from the summit of Ben Nevis after climbing Point 5 Gully taken last winter.

There was a tremendous cloud inversion as we reached the summit plateau, the cloud dropped below our feet into the valley, all the time swirling around.

On another occasion in the mountains of North Wales. I was standing on a ridge. Behind me the air and sky were completely clear and the wind was blowing into my back. As the air passed over the ridge it immediately formed cloud. The air must have been moist and as it went up and over the ridge and into the cool side of the valley, the water vapour immediately condensed. So literally on one side of me it was completely clear and inches away in front of me there was thick cloud. An awesome sight.

But there is more. When the conditions are like this the sun is behind you and you cast a shadow onto the cloud layer in front of you. The rays of light refract around your head and you are presented with a dark shadow in the shape of your body and a multi coloured rainbow halo around your head. This is what a brocken spectre is.

In this picture you can see a climber coming up a ridge to the summit in just the conditions I describe. There is cloud below him and the sun is casting a strong shadow. You should be able to see a halo of rainbow colours behind him - a brocken spectre.

PJE, jrj, Nina, Buin has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Richard SG (escher1) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 30 W: 5 N: 240] (1268)
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