Australian Weather Calendar
October: Ann's over-the-shoulder storm
3pm, 29 November, 2008: Ann Van Breemen was at her computer, 33 floors above Queensland's Gold Coast, when she chanced to turn and look out the window of her apartment. Things happened fast. 'Massive cloud going past the window', she recalls. She grabbed her camera from a table ('always nearby, always charged') and ran to the balcony. 'I only had time for a couple of shots as it went past so quickly.'
No surprise that Ann got the shot when many of us would still be wondering where we left the camera. She's been a 'serious amateur' since her hobby-photographer father gave her a little half-frame camera when she was 10. Semi-retired from retail work, now living high on Mt Tamborine behind Surfers Paradise, she's concentrating more on her preferred wildlife, landscapes and macro subjects.
She has always entered competitions, once claiming a third prize at the Royal Queensland Show, and subsequent prizes from International and Australian photography magazines. She agrees with the Boy Scout motto: 'Always be prepared.' and adds a tip: 'Always look behind you ... I was once set up on a beach, shooting the sunrise, when I realised the best shot was of the highlighted clouds behind me.'
Ann's photograph shows shelf clouds (arcus) formed by the thunderstorm's outflow. They are best described as low, horizontal wedgeshaped clouds attached to the base of the parent cloud. On this day thunderstorms were triggered by a low pressure trough crossing eastern New South Wales and southern Queensland. A trough is an area of low pressure marking the boundary between different air masses. Warm, moist air is usually located on one side of the trough, with cooler drier air on the other side.