I have a fascination with the sky. It probably started when I moved to the UK, where the weather is bad enough that you may not see the sky for months at a time. The sky dictates so much of our day and it's an awesome feature of nature.
Over the years I've taken a lot of photos of the sky. I've collated a few of those as a kind of yearly diary, and I've given it a terribly cheesy name. So here is my sky diary for 2015.
UK to Ireland
This year has been pretty big for me. I finished my physics PhD, left the UK after 8+ years of calling it my home, and moved to Ireland to pursue my first long-term job.
The journey starts in my last few days in the UK. It's my least favourite image of the bunch, but perhaps this is fine. I'm saying goodbye to a place I called home for 8+ years, and that's a little ugly.
Before moving to Cork my girlfriend and I travelled to the city to check it out. We had a few beautiful sunny days, lucky for a country not known for it's sunny climate.
The city centre is delimited by the branches of the river Lee. This picture was taken off one of the connecting bridges on the north side of the city. We later moved to an apartment on the banks of this very river. You can almost see it in the distance.
I'm not biased or anything but I think that the north branch offers some of the nicest views in the city.
I like to feature some buildings or natural scenery in sky photos to give a sense of location. Modern architecture is particularly great because the sharp angles and simple patterns contrast really well against puffy clouds.
Renting a place in Cork was very difficult with landlords spoiled for prospective tennants. We found a place that we liked and so we went down to the estate agents office to make sure we got that place. This picture was taken in a suburb called Douglas near their office.
My work place is located near some farmland and Ireland's green hills do not dissapoint. Every day I'm treated with great scenery as I ride the bus to work. It's a shame that the weather is rarely as nice as in the shot below.
I took this photo just outside my apartment building. The gradient in the sky is great, there wasn't a single cloud in the sky that day which made the effect that much sharper. It was freaking freezing though.
Life in Ireland
The weather can turn pretty drastically in a matter of minutes around here. This next one is a great example of the weather about to turn.
The next shot was taken from the west coast of Ireland. My brother, my girlfriend and I went on a guided tour of the Ring of Kerry. It was a terrible series of tourist traps. Irish coffee for €13!?
The views were absolutely stunning. I decided to pick a single photo that featured the most sky out of all the photos I'd taken.
With the days getting shorter in the winter, I get a chance to see the sunrise just as I get to work. I wish I'd moved to the other side of the bus to take this shot. Nevertheless I love how the low light from the sun plays with the fog to create multiple layers in the scenery.
From our living room
Some of the best shots were taken from our own living room. Being on the third floor in a town made of small buildings grants us a great panomaric view of the city's rooftops. The next photos feature the same skyline in three very different conditions.
It had just stopped raining and all the rooftops were starting to dry out. The light from sun was just bouncing off the buildings. You can see that the clouds had moved south just over the horizon. On either side you can see the two largest churches in Cork.
The next one was taken as the sun was setting. The clouds look like orange and pink brush strokes made by the windws against the blue sky canvas.
OK so this one probably doesn't count as a sky photo since you can't see the sky at all. Nevertheless I liked the contrast against the last two images. The fog was unbelievably thick; you couldn't see a damn thing. It was a little scary.
Finishing my PhD
The biggest event of the year for me was my graduation. My parents and brothers flew out to London for the event and we got to spend a few days together in the city. It was a great trip and while the photos might not be my favourite, they remind me of happy times.
This shot is a bit of a cheat. I didn't actually take this photo. My brother did. I have an excuse though, I was busy graduating.
This was taken from the gardens of the Founder's building at Royal Holloway. The statue of the university's founder, Thomas Holloway, stands in stark contrast against a cloudy sky.
We got to see so much of London and had some beautiful days. Even though I'd lived in the UK for many years I never visited the Royal Observatory. A bit of a faux pas for a physicist really. We fixed this with a day long trip to Greenwich, the maritime museum, and the royal observatory. I love that you can see the city in the back and the telescope dome prominently against the wispy clouds.
I look forward to building up my collection of 2016 skies. Who knows what the future will bring, but not matter what happens you can be sure that there will be some clouds and sunny days ahead.
Have a great one. Until next time.
-- Jacob Blanco