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The Cloud Collector's Handbook Hardcover – February 16, 2011
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"Gavin Pretor-Pinney'sdreamy and beautiful The Cloud Collector's Handbook will turn your family into cloud chasers and cloud connoisseurs." -My Daily Find.
"I immediately fell in love with The Cloud Collector's Handbook." - Brain Pickings
About the Author
Gavin Pretor-Pinney is the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, a global organization that fights "blue-sky thinking." He is also the co-founder and creative director of The Idler magazine and author of the best-selling The Cloudspotter's Guide. He lives in Somerset, England.
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Top Customer Reviews
has been just the thing. We have been able to use the book to gain points as
we "collect" different types and formations of clouds. We compare notes and meet
at McDonalds to discuss and see what we have collected. I have learned alot about
clouds and have come to appriciate them more. The book is well written and the
pictures are great. There is even a "cloud" web site to go to. Share a cloud
with your children or grandchildren. It's fun!!
CAS Member No.: 15980
But there is another aspect to this book by Gavin Pretor-Pinney that makes it so special, and that is the fact that it contains some 150 splendid photographs of could formations discussed. These photographs, the courtesy of many photographers around the world, are dramatic and could easily be in a stand-alone book of images as a cloud monograph. So combining the adventure of cloud collection with Pretor-Pinney as guide and consultant together with these world class photographs in rich color makes this a book that would be a welcome addition to the library of anyone who spends time gazing upward - 'Out on the lawn I lie in bed...'(Auden). Grady Harp, May 11
Here are some things that could use some improvement:
(1). The section on Stratocumulus opens with a photo of scattered tall Cumulus clouds (Cumulus congestus). In the caption under this photo, the author says, "When Cumulus clouds become so plentiful that they join together and cover the sky, they are known as Stratocumulus." Although this caption correctly describes a way in which Stratocumulus forms, the caption does not describe the photo. The photo simply shows the wrong cloud type for this section of the book.
(2). The section on Lenticularis opens with a photo of a smooth lenticular cloud just above (perhaps even touching) a ragged patch of low cloud. The sharp upper edge and the lack of a visible fibrous structure in the lenticular cloud suggest that it is a water-droplet cloud, not an ice-crystal cloud. Yet, in the caption, the author says, "Lenticularis species of high Cirrus cloud." If the intent was to show lenticularis at the level of high clouds, it would have been better to aim the camera more horizontally (closer to the horizon) so that the great height of the lenticularis cloud above the lower clouds would be more noticeable.
(3). In the table of "Cumulus Species" in the section on Cumulus, the author describes "Humilis" as "wider than it is tall." I don't think the ratio between width and vertical thickness is a good measure of the species. I've seen huge puffy clouds that were much wider than tall. They were dark and threatening and even produced rain or snow on occasion. Definitely not "humilis."
(4). The author describes Altostratus as the most "boring" cloud type. Actually, with a better choice of photo, this cloud type can be quite interesting and fascinating. The cloud often shows up in advance of inclement weather and has a typical foreboding and "watery" appearance. A good photo will show this ominous appearance -- some lower clouds near the dim sun would be a great help. (It's not easy to get a good photo. One must spend several days or weeks and exercise a lot of patience to get a good instance of this cloud type.)
(5). The section on Duplicatus opens with a picture of patchy clouds at sunset. The caption refers to these clouds as Altostratus duplicatus. However, there is nothing in the clouds to suggest a solid layer. Instead, the lower cloud is in patches, allowing the upper clouds and the sky to show through. A close examination of these patches shows that they are composed of small cloudlets. Toward the horizon we see lenticular-shaped clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis). At the higher level we see dappled clouds extending in bands toward the horizon (Altocumulus radiatus). The author probably meant to say Altocumulus instead of Altostratus in the caption, but the proofreader missed this.
(6). Inside the back cover, the author labels a puffy cloud as Stratocumulus. Nothing in this cloud suggests a layer or a collection of cloudlets. A more appropriate name for this puffy cloud is Cumulus. This picture needs a better example for Stratocumulus.
(7). The section on Velum opens with a picture of a large convective cloud capped by a large anvil-shaped appendage. This anvil has a fibrous appearance, suggesting that it is mainly an ice-crystal cloud. It is an incus, not a velum. There is a true velum in the foreground, but this comment is not about that foreground velum. Rather, this comment is about the large convective cloud. The caption calls this cloud a Cumulus congestus. Given the icy incus, this cloud is technically a Cumulonimbus.
(8). Re Section on pannus: Pannus can be either Stratus fractus or Cumulus fractus. In the second picture in the section, the upper parts of the pannus clouds are round and puffy -- these clouds are Cumulus fractus, not Stratus fractus.