Asperitas Clouds in Houston: Natural Beauty Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic


What are Asperitas Clouds?

Asperitas, also known as Undulatus Asperatus, are a rare system of clouds that present themselves in the form of smooth, wave-like masses strewn across the sky. They typically appear at the front of a storm, but they do not produce precipitation. As a result, they are easy to see - and their appearance is quite striking and mysterious.

Asperitas Clouds: A Rare Sight in Houston, Texas:

In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic - a rare cloud formation and captivating storm rolled through our area.

I was inside our apartment, working in a humble little 8-by-8 foot studio. The space was once purely our dining area, but has now been converted into my “work from home” studio.

We were actually planning to spend the day working outside on our balcony - isolated, but at least outside to get some fresh air. The weather was absolutely beautiful.

As I got caught up in my work, I noticed that suddenly the sky went completely dark.

I walked outside and looked up from the edge of our balcony and saw something peculiar.


I had never seen a cloud formation like this before.

I ran back inside to grab my camera and quickly set it up to take a timelapse.

If there’s every an opportunity to take a timelapse, I’m all for it.

Asperitas Cloud Timelapse - An Eerily Beautiful Spectacle

Asperitas Cloud Timelapse - An Eerily Beautiful Spectacle

What I was witnessing moved very quickly. I remember saying to my wife that I was glad I’ve had the time to practice my setup technique for shooting timelapses, because I’ve been able to set up much more quickly to get the shot.

It looked like the sky had turned to silk. In a way, the Asperitas reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of the aurora borealis - but perhaps instead a thick grayscale version.

Clearly, you could see rain falling from the clouds to the West - but the “front” of the storm was totally unusual.

Maintaining Stay-at-Home Orders and Witnessing a Spectacular Show of Mother Nature

My wife and I have a good view from our apartment balcony, so I’ve been spending many of our quarantine days just taking photographs of sunsets, sunrises and the occasional storm that rolls through.

It has been kind of a fun challenge for me - trying to be as creative as possible by using the limited resources that I have at home.

The storm that brought the Asperitas Clouds quickly came and went, but I decided to keep my timelapse camera rolling.

When mother nature gives you free tickets to a firework show - you attend! (Safely, of course.)

I’m glad I kept my camera set up, because I was able to capture some of the best lightning strikes that I’ve ever photographed.

Lightning Storm in League City, Texas - April 25, 2020

Lightning Storm in League City, Texas - April 25, 2020

Lightning Storm in League City, Texas - April 25, 2020

Lightning Storm in League City, Texas - April 25, 2020

Lightning Storm in League City, Texas - April 25, 2020

Lightning Storm in League City, Texas - April 25, 2020

Luckily, our balcony is set back beneath a large overhang and we were protected from the elements. There wasn’t a lot of rain with this storm - which is always a good thing when trying to photograph lightning.

In regard to the Coronavirus Pandemic, it’s really awesome to think that we were able to witness this incredible phenomenon while fully abiding by the “stay-at-home” guidelines that are still being encouraged in our area.

I think it taught us an important lesson:

There’s a silver-lining in the extra time we have now. We have time to slow down. We have time to watch the clouds roll by. We have time to enjoy nature in all of its beauty.

Sometimes, the most entertaining events fall right at our doorstep. We don’t need to pay for them. We just need to take the time to watch it.

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