Australian Weather Calendar: June 2019

June photograph by Andrew Thomas Photographer

Going the distance

The saying 'life's not a sprint, it's a marathon' could also be applied to the art of weather photography, particularly when it comes to Andrew Thomas. A former marathon runner, Andrew continues to apply the same dedication and patience to his photography work—in fact, he rarely ventures beyond 42 km from his home in Ballarat, Victoria, when heading out on his regular photography rounds (42 km being marathon distance, of course!). But, Andrew says there's no shortage of spectacular scenery within this boundary. 'I run photography workshops and people are always amazed at what I've got to play with so close at hand. We don't have huge mountains but what I can show you in the Ballarat district is quite extraordinary,' he says. And looking at this amazing carpet of fog over Mt Buninyong it's easy to agree. On this particular morning Andrew said there was no fog at all in the Ballarat township, and it wasn't until he got about 10 km out and started to make his way up the winding road of Mt Buninyong, that he saw fog had blanketed the whole area. He then used a drone to capture the scene from an even greater height. Andrew says he scours the Bureau's weather forecasts, sometimes by the hour, to see if conditions are favourable for taking his camera out. But, he says it's the unpredictability of the weather that can really make a winning landscape photo.

The science

Fog forms when water vapour condenses into tiny droplets of liquid water, suspended in the air. This can happen in a variety of circumstances and is most common in autumn and winter under lowering temperatures and calm conditions. The fog in this photo, however, was caused by a moist upslope flow. As the moist wind moves up a slope, the water vapour in the air condenses and a fog is formed. Fog is generally a localised phenomenon and can form in small pockets when the airflow and terrain are suitable.