I had hoped to get videos when J & I were up here in late January but when I dug the ‘phone I had used for the videos it was unequivocally dead: the spider’s web of cracks in the glass on the back had spread and clearly taken out vital internals. I guess the temperature changes in storage here had been enough to cause that. It was an old (and second hand, eBay purchased) Xperia and I guess I really couldn’t complain that it had finally died. Though I still don’t understand why you use opaque glass for the back of a ‘phone!)
So nothing from that week and now (24.iii.20) I’m back up here but in proper French social distancing. I had bought another second hand ‘phone on my last day in the UK before coming over to work in Toulouse but belatedly discovered that the camera lens on that ‘phone had been hopelessly scratched. To add insult to injury, the battery has puffed up and is dead too so it’s not even a backup ‘phone for normal ‘phoning any more. I assume the battery didn’t like the altitude (surely not that).
Anyway, finally I have opted to put my “UK ‘phone” to timelapse duties during the day and only make UK ‘phone calls after dark so we’re back in business. Oops, just noticed that I finished my 2019 timelapse diary with this:
And that’s over and out for now. The old ‘phone seems to have sensed that, you can see the image move at the start of the day and it’s now very bent out of shape. It’s had a severely broken glass back for ages (why a glass back for heaven’s sake?) but I think it may finally be dying. We’ll see and perhaps there’ll be a few more days if we get back here to ski in January and March … if we’re lucky.
I’m putting an annotated framegrab here to name some landmarks. Click on the image to expand it.
23rd of March 2020. Finally got going again but in two pieces: battery on ‘phone wasn’t enough for the day. The first is just 38 seconds and the middle 25 is, to be honest, dull. The start got the last of the cloud down in the valley burning away and the end has some nice cumulus sneaking in! The second has some lovely colours as the sun sets toward the end and generally a lot of cumulus swirling around.
25th of March 2020. I set the alarm a bit earlier and was rewarded by a lovely sunrise. Then there’s a stretch where Residence Hauts Bois (the brown ski apartment block straight ahead) puffs away as if it’s auditioning for a part in Thomas the Tank Engine and, not to be outdown, Mont Blanc starts to make steady white smoke in the distance. Gradually other peaks start to smoke (no tar, no nicotine) and then the clouds build from the north with lovely tinges of pink until the snow comes. Sadly, I’d miscalculated the settings so it cuts out late afternoon. Must think harder for tomorrow!
26th of March 2020. Resolution isn’t great on this ‘phone camera and the colour balance lurches. It’s hard to say how inaccurate that is as the light certainly change dramatically and of course our eyes (brain) filters out most of that. Another lovely sunrise with clouds simmering over the peaks and ridges in the distance and then an Easterly seems to take over and blow clouds shapes off the top of Mont Bland and other peaks and the light and colour come and go. Still haven’t got the duration setting right: odd. Must try harder!
28th of March 2020. (27th failed because ‘phone stopped for no obvious reason after about four frames!) Better today: Do wish this were a better ‘phone camera. Lovely pink colours and glorious swirling and bubbling cumulus sweeping towards us from the North through the day with Mont Blanc popping in and out of view.
29th of March 2020. The poor camera and, I think, compressing the video to make it run more easily on low bandwidth connections makes for some amusing artefacts as bands in the darkness or uniform areas, particularly towards the end of this video, but there were beautiful clouds coming and going through the day. And snow!
30th of March 2020. Damn, forgot to delete yesterday’s video off the old ‘phone so it ran out of memory late afternoon. Still it gives a clear picture: welcome to life in the clouds! What you can’t tell from the video is that in the late morning and early afternoon the sun behind the white out was so strong that I had to draw the curtains about 75% to be able to work on the computer without squinting against the light.
31st of March 2020. Stunningly bright day. Continuing issue with ‘phone made for three separate videos. I love this, the first for the rolling glory of the cloud filling the valley below; then the second, from around 11.00 a.m. and the clouds in the valley part in a way I haven’t seen before; and finally the third, from about 15:10 and through to sunset. Lovely day! I did also stitch the three together so you can have all three!
1st of April 2020. It’s been an incredibly calm and sunny day up here. The video doesn’t do justice to the subtle but glorious colours of the sunrise or dusk (and it’s cut off the end of the sunset) but it catches the bright sun, blue sky, small clouds flickering around across the valley (after about 1’20”) and some larger but still light clouds later.
2nd of April 2020. Lovely sunrise and then nice but not dramatic cumulus bubbling around until things get cut off in mid afternoon because I forgot to delete yesterday’s so the ‘phone ran out of storage! Sorry all. Lovely sunset here but no video of it. Damn.
3rd of April 2020. Missed the early daybreak as I didn’t realise that the ‘phone had stopped filming almost immediately I’d started it! Still, lovely early morning, gentle day and nice sunset.
4th of April 2020. A single cloud moves over from NW to SEfro around 1’50”. What creates such a single cloud (it’s not quite single)? Too big to be a contrail (and how few there are of them now). Otherwise just the slow passage of the sun, but nice colours at sunrise and sunset.
5th of April 2020. I think there isn’t a single cloud, nor a single contrail, visible all day. I think that’s a record. Still the march of the sun with the searchlight like beams rolling across the slopes opposite in the morning and the equally steady march of the shadows as night comes on is still restful to watch.
6th of April 2020. Another day without clouds or contrails I think!
7th of April 2020. Another stunningly beautiful day, but pretty boring in timelapse. Weird technicolor colours as the sun comes up (not entirely artefactual, it really is pretty amazing), the earth rotates, the shadows disappear and eventually reappear and this time we plunge into darkness through shades of blue! In between the choughs and the martins occasionally get frozen in flight but again, no clouds and no contrails.
8th of April 2020. Another stunningly boring timelapse video from the Alps. We are bringing new meaning to that well known phrase “like watching the pistes melting”. As ever, even boring days up here are rather stunning and I’m afraid this one had to be spliced together and that didn’t go all that well with a clear backward jump early on that I can’t explain!
9th of April 2020. Lovely sunrise with great orange colours then deadly dull day. The snow is being slowly roasted off by day after cloudless day. Actually, that’s not quite true, after about 2’50” some clouds bubble on the horizon and clearly there were some to the West as there are fleeting shadows over the immediate foreground. Gentle pink to blue to black fade out at the end of the day. All caught on the my old “UK ‘phone”. First day of also trying more recent ‘phone with better resolution but … … the ‘phone slipped, and I’d set the timing incorrectly so the sunset didn’t get caught. Anyway, this is a splicing together of the usable bits. Slightly wider angle and better resolution than the older ‘phone, same story.
10th of April 2020. Another day of colours at the beginning and end and almost nothing happening in between! But at last, a better camera!
11th of April 2020. Yet another brilliantly sunny day with hardly any cloud action at all … but nice colours and resolution!
12th of April 2020. A bit of cloud drama for a change. Nothing until about a minute in when bits of cirrus come across and a bit after that the cumulus starts to bubble and seethe away beneath that. Quite a change after days of blistering sun!
13th of April 2020. Lovely dawn and then much more cloud action through the day. The first contrail I’ve seen in days.
14th of April 2020. Good day a 4/5 score? Play in three acts. First act is an absolutely wonderful, seething and somewhat hellish sunrise. That gives way to a very different act with lovely blue sky as a backdrop to a constant seething cumulus constantly forming in largely stationary positions. I do like those standing wave phenomena. The third act sees almost all the cloud burn away and the sun fade out in a sequence of colours. Good day!
15th of April 2020. Got to be a 1/5 and only gets the 1 for lovely red sunrise and rather good rapid sunset, in between, NOTHING happens. Which is calming perhaps.
16th of April 2020. Lovely sunrise and then the clouds fly over fairly steadily to eventually fade out with an unusual lot of green in the fading sky. 2/5 rating?
17th of April 2020. 2/5 at most though for an addict like me, there is quite a bit there. Interesting standing clouds, presumably downwind of Mont Blanc, around 1’15″ish and nice sunrise and another green hued sunset.
18th of April 2020. A nice day for focusing on Mont Blanc and admiring the clouds forming and reforming around and from it. 2/5 rating?
19th of April 2020. 2/5 again? A very different day from the run of recent days: overcast pretty much all the day and the wind from the East. Lovely flashes of colour in the sunrise and bubbling belt of cumulus around Mont Blanc’s waist in the afternoon.
20th of April 2020. I like this one, at least 3/5. Superb cloud drama through the sunrise and early morning with really three different cloud processes all moving in different directions including a glorious seething like masses of water or evil white hordes always turning over but never dropping into the valley. The action stabilises later into mostly a steady easterly sweeping in of cloud but it stays worth watching through to sunset.
21st of April 2020. 2/5: we’ve been completely covered in cloud all day but much less interesting than yesterday though I still like watching it in timelapse speed up.
22nd of April 2020. We were back to roasting sunshine after a couple of days of cloud cover and cold. However, there’s quite a bit of cloud action. After a lovely dawn the action is mostly up in the distance where cloudfalls pour over the sweep of the Grandes Jourasss, Grand Combian and Grand Assaly until mid afternoon. In the later afernoon the action is over to the left and we fade out to night. 3/5?
23rd of April 2020. This turned out to be a much more interesting video than I thought it would be. For the first 90seconds absolutely nothing happens other than the sun rising. Then little cumulus starts to bubble up, mostly on the horizon and from there on things develop and build through a phase where there is small cumulus fluffing up all over the place, and in interestingly fairly fixed positions. The day ends with a fine great ledge of cloud building from the left into which the sun drops out. I’d give this 3/5.
24th of April 2020. A fine video rather to my surprise as in real time it didn’t seem so full of action and beauty. Lovely sunrise and sunset bracket a day of constantly moving cloud. 3/5.
25th of April 2020. Another good video. Much more went on than I noticed live, a brief rainbow at about 3’15”, and for that matter, rain, that I hadn’t noticed at all! 3/5
27th of April 2020. Only part of the day: more problems with the ‘phone following an upgrade to the android OS. However, I like this bit of a day: slow seething up of low cumulus. 3/5. Pity it missed the sunrise, see life-in-strange-times for two images of the early light.
28th of April 2020. Quite a dramatic day with lots of cloud seething around … and the snow is back! 4/5
30th of April 2020. Nothing yesterday as an android update had wiped FrameLapsePro’s settings so although I did get it going all day, when I came to see the product I realised it was trying to focus on the window pane. OK fixed it finally and here is today’s video. A funny day of cloud rising and falling around me and the snow showers coming and going and the snow on the roof of Hauts Bois disappearing and reappearing. 2/5?
1st of May 2020. Quite a white day. At 1’10” and briefly at 3’20” the clouds clear around us up here and you can see them sweeping up and down the little valley up to Plagne Centre but otherwise it’s mostly snow and cloud! 2/5
2nd of May 2020. This is a snowy, cloudy one. Until about 1’10” it’s pretty unrelenting cloud and snow blocking almost everything but then it lifts a bit and the valley flashes into view and you can see the thin clouds below and up to my level forming and reforming rapidly. Later it turns pretty bleak again. 3/5?
3rd of May 2020. A day of change. For much of the there’s a thick layer of cloud above and it seethes up from the valley and retreats in waves until, from about 3’20” Mont Blanc emerges and steadily all the heavy cumulus is swept away leaving a lovely sunset with a static streamer of cloud like a thin beret above Mont Blanc. 4/5
4th of May 2020. In marked contrast to the last few days, a day in which there is almost no cloud action at all. Sun, glorious sun! 1/5
5th of May 2020. Wow the weather really changes day to day (and hour to hour) up here. This has been a dramatic day of cloud action and ending with a short but savage hailstorm which I think is the sudden roiling up of dark cloud from the valley to batter us just before the sun sets. 4/5?
6th of May 2020. This is the sort of day of cloud action I love: lots of almost static positions where cumulus is constantly forming and reforming through the morning. The rain comes at about 3’08” and if you watch carefully at about 3’20” there’s a lovely rainbow to the R of centre. In real time it lasted a fair while and was really quite bright and intense for a bit. That never seems to show in the videos or in still ‘photos I take of rainbows! 4/5 or better!
7th of May 2020. Little cloud until diaphanous high cloud sweeps across in waves in the late afternoon but that and the colours of the sunrise and sunset make this a 2/5 not a 1 or zero!
8th of May 2020. Technical failure, problem in wetware!
9th of May 2020. Truly great day: glorious sunrise follows about 50″ in with a transition to a very different cloud system but still on mostly blue sky (and roasting sun on the terrace). Then late afternoon the cloud changes again and rain comes in … and now, after dark, there’s a fair old thunderstorm hammering around me. 5/5?
10th of May 2020. Fascinating day. So many changes. Never a dull moment! 4/5
11th of May 2020. Wow, a wonderful day in timelapse, phases of glorious blue sky, rain, flutter of snow, clouds doing all sorts of different things including that continuous back somersault wave off the high peaks. Working at the window and trekking down to the shop were far less dramatic and fun. 4/5 or 5/5?
12th of May 2020. No recording. No idea why not. Damn!
13th of May 2020. I like the way the cloud in the valley in the early morning is like waves bashing against the head of the valley and sending up spume. Then the sun comes up gloriously and I thought we were in for a hot day, but it wasn’t to be. The clouds kept scudding over and from time to time the rain hammered in. 3/5
14th of May 2020. This is pretty special, I’m going wild and going to give it 5/5 as there’s so much. A good, subtle sunrise, shockingly blue sky from time to time, e.g. around 40″ in, some louring black cloud, e.g. around 3’40” and a stunning curtain call to black at the end.
15th of May 2020. A seriously cloud shrouded day. Periods of complete white out from about 2’50”. Still quite fun to watch if you have 4′ to chill out. 2/5
16th of May 2020. A day that changed pretty markedly, lovely sunrise and progression with lots of cloud movement in the valley, to blue sky but then later all grey cloud, a burst of rain and a totally cloud blocked fade out to blue/black. 3/5
17th of May 2020. Another day with a lot happening, pretty much all through the day. 3/5
18th of May 2020. Beautiful day/video. Glorious sunrise with hardly any cloud and almost all of it low, then a day in which the cumulus is constantly building and abating, a brief wave of rain early evening and a lovely sunset with almost no cloud again. 4/5
19th of May 2020. Only 45 seconds of a gloriously bright sunrise … then the ‘phone overheated. Honest! Not making it up. I think leaving the curtain drawn behind it to minimise reflections basically roasted it. Let’s see tomorrow!
20th of May 2020. OK, seem to have sorted the overheating issue and got a lovely day (roasting in real life) from a gentle sunrise through much blue sky and cumulus to a gentle fade out. The cumulus really does put on a show in between though. 3/5
21st of May 2020. Another very fine day, glorious sunrise then a steaming away of cumulus much of the day and a lovely sunset. 3/5
22nd of May 2020. Amazing day of high cloud action for a change. One bit of low action though: around 1’30” there is a parapente (paraglider) above Hauts Bois but s/he’s hard to see. From 2’30” on the high cloud action is fascinating. 4/5
23rd of May 2020. A constantly changing day with some blue sky in the morning but mostly cloud scudding over and a few spates of rain (and there was quite a bit of thunder in one of those but no lightning I saw in real time nor here). 3/5
24th of May 2020. I’ll give this 5/5. Most of the glory is in the sunrise and the first amazing 60 to 90 seconds of light and cloud but the rest of the day is pretty good too and a lovely sunset.
25th of May 2020. A day of very blue sky. Amazing colours as the sun comes up and then low cumulus starts to form on the flank of the mountains the other side of the valley at about 1′ in and around 1’30” the scattering of little markings is a group of parapenteurs (paragliders). More cumulus bubbles overhead and around later and the sunset is magnificent. 3/5
26th of May 2020. Part 1 of 2. Completely cloudless sky and bright sunrise. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to draw the curtain so as the sun blasted through the window, the ‘phone boiled and shut down!
Part 2 of 2. Once the ‘phone had cooled down and rebooted I got it back to work. The low clouds bubble off the high pasture on flank opposite as yesterday and the parapenteurs appear again and are followed by the local helicopter scuttling to and fro bringing the rollers off the Golf ski lift to dump them in the car park below me. More cumulus builds above me as the day goes on but holds back from bridging across the valley. Another lovely sunset, 4/5.
27th of May 2020. Interestingly different from the last two days even though all three have been hot days of much blue sky. Today there is haze in the valley as the sun rises and sets and the cumulus is thicker and higher, forming off the peaks not the high pasture. Glorious sunset makes this 3/5 I think.
28th of May 2020. Another fascinating day. Almost cloudless sky as the sun rises (glorious yet again). As seems regular now, some cumulus bubbles above the high pasture opposite around 1′ in and you see a few parapenteurs skid down and around from around then. The real interest for me is that from about 2′ in some amazingly stationary clouds form initially at the head of the valley but from then on stationary clouds seem a real feature of the day. 3/5?
29th of May 2020. I overslept so the first hour of the sunrise had happened before I switched the ‘phone on but it starts well: cloudless then little smoke signal clouds from the peaks but as the day goes on the cloud thickens and thickens to end with a rather dramatic sunset punching through windows in a lot of dark cloud. 3/5
30th of May 2020. Lovely sunrise and then a day with a lot of cloud cover. Interesting to me to see that for most of the day Mont St. Jacques is just a dark triangular lump ahead in cloud shadow. Brief flash of blue sky around 3’25” but the cloud closes again into a dark sunset. 2/5
31st of May 2020. Another fine day. Wonderful sunrise as if someone has the door of some furnace open at the head of the valley and then let’s it burst into flame before getting it back in the oven and shutting the door as searchlights of sunburst rake the valley. Later it’s a constant turmoil of cumulus fading away to a gentle sunset. 3/5
1st of June 2020. Lovely cloudless sunrise but the cloud builds, first off the high peaks and then lots of cumulus sweeps across and continues to sweep across until early evening when it turns to rain which sweeps in veils across the view. After dark fell there was quite a thunderstorm. 2/5
2nd of June 2020. Another fine one! Gorgeous sunrise with the sun blasting out from behind Mont St. Jacques to a day that is briefly pretty cloudless. Then thin clouds steam up off the high pasture across the valley and that’s followed by lots of full cumulus and, late afternoon, a thunderstorm moves over for the cloud to thin out to a good sunset. 3/5
3rd of June 2020. Another day with a fine sunrise and two contrails (they’re coming back) catch the early sun and for a while it’s all blue sky but by about 2’30” the clouds are darkening and rain sweeps across around 2’40” and at 4’0″ and the sun sets invisibly really behind heavy, louring clouds. 2/5
4th of June 2020. A misty moisty morning and, well, a pretty misty moisty day. A sort of window opens between the cloud above and the cloud below at about 1’30” and from 3’20” on to the end there is quite fine window again which just about makes this 2/5.
5th of June 2020. Wow, seriously cloud dominated day with flashes of sun but also light rain and snow showers, 2/5.
6th of June 2020. Despite the image that vimeo has chosen, this was a day of much, much cloud. It’s true that blue sky shines through from time to time and the cloud makes for quite a fine sunset, 3/5.
7th of June 2020. Wow, this was a day of cloud. There are moments when blue sky, sometimes amazingly different blues, shows through but mostly it’s solid cloud cover and much seething and boiling of it around me. I think the breaks, and some of the glorious seething, do get this 2/5.
8th of June 2020. Another seriously cloudy day. There are some early moments when the clouds open windows and you can see that the sky and the high cloud above the blanket that’s submerging us are still up there. Sleet and snow later on and a sort of surge up of cloud from the valley just before sunset. 1/5 or 2/5? Not sure.
9th of June 2020. It’s not until about 2’15” that any light cuts the clouds and the valley is visible for most of the rest of the day as the cloud seethes around but not a very interesting day! 1/5
10th of June 2020. Wow. There are glimpses of the valley in the morning and it does finally emerge for some sustained time in the later afternoon but the cloud cover overhead doesn’t break once all day. I’m starting to long to see blue sky and feel hot sun on my skin again! 1/5?
11th of June 2020. At last, some blue sky for more than a few minutes. There is a phase where the high cloud is pretty much moving left to right as I look out while the low cloud moves in almost completely the opposite direction. Rain scuds across the head of the valley early evening and there’s a flush of pink before the sun sets. 3/5?
12th of June 2020. Some blue sky shows for even more time than yesterday but it was cold and windy much of the day. From is it 1’10” to 1’50” you can see the time lapse catching the local helicopter working between Aime 2000 around me and the car park below. More on that in today’s blog post. Later the sky is lovely but all day the cloud churns and swirls determinedly at the head of the valley. 3/5
13th of June 2020. A beautiful sunrise with only low cloud churning at the head of the valley and a real sunburst as the sun cleared Mont St. Jacques but by late morning the cloud came over. Still it makes for quite a good video in all: 3/5.
14th of June 2020. Yet another day of cloud, cloud and more cloud! There are moments when it swishes and swashes up the little valley rather nicely and some other moments when the boiling and seething looks good but not more than 2/5!
15th of June 2020. Three or four phases of rather different cloud formation and patterning across the day from a pretty cloud covered dawn through some hours with quite a bit of blue sky visible to a lovely sunset with the Mont Blanc emerging just before the sun sets. 3/5
16th of June 2020. Another cloudy day. Early morning there is a lovely phase as windows open up through the cloud and the early light far up the valley shines through. Then there is some blue sky over the valley but a lot of cumulus above me (as the shadows on Mont St. Jacques show) and on the high pastures and peaks all around. Finally the cloud thickens again and we go to blackout well before the sun is finally gone because the cloud has reformed its total shroud over us. 2/5
17th of June 2020. Pretty continuous swirling cloud covering all for most of the morning. It starts to part in flashes of bright blue sky and bright white cumulus across and up the valley from about 2’0″ but it’s mostly only flashes until shortly before a rather nice sunset. 2/5
18th of June 2020. Sadly only 43″ of this. I had slept badly, woke early and forgot to draw the curtains so the poor phone fried and stopped as a strong sun rose. That was the hottest and best of the day which rapidly clouded over again! Beautiful but short: 3/5?
19th of June 2020. Oh yes, that’s different! Glorious sunrise seems to drive low cloud in the valley away in fear but then it’s as if it returns, bubbling up in little plumes like hydra rising from the ploughed valley. From about 2’30” rain showers repeatedly sweep across and finally, in a brief blaze of orange, a lovely sunset and the clouds wane away. 4/5!
20th of June 2020. A day with a number of cloud phases. Glorious sunrise then thin cumulus starts popping up directly ahead and all around though the shadow that covers Mont St. Jacques most of the morning shows there must have been thicker cloud above us. That goes around lunchtime (and I got to bask in the sun for the first time in nearly a month) but later the cloud thickens into a pretty dense layer for a muted sunset. 3/5
21st of June 2020. That’s a lovely one: glorious sunrise then a long phase in which we can see cumulus in constant production from the peaks and high pastures and swept across from those sources of moisture by quite a steady wind. Later, early evening, the pattern changes to a solid wall of cloud over to left above the peaks boiling away as the sun sets. 3/5
22nd of June 2020. Lovely day, sun was roasting at lunch time though there was more cloud over me after that than the video suggests. I’ve come to realise how often the valley is a mirrored above with a sort of corridor of blue sky while the clouds pile up on the mountains on either side. If you look very carefully above Hauts Bois and over the valley you can see the paragliders at around 1’30” and 1’42”. They’re getting long rides in the hot sun and its thermals. Nice calm sunset. All 3/5?
23rd of June 2020. A sunny day, a little early cloud on the peaks is rapidly burned away in a glorious sunrise. Then there’s a phase in which you can see the thermals taking wispy skeins of moisture up to the cumulus hovering over the high pasture across the valley and then things settle down and gradually almost all cloud is gone by sunset. 2/5
24th of June 2020. A lovely day to watch for 4’40” (you can skip a bit at the end if you’re really rushed!) Lovely sunrise, really lovely sunset and steady generation of cumulus above high ground in between though that evolves during the day. Brief sight of paragliders around 2’20”. 3/5
25th of June 2020. Another blazing sunrise this time cutting through a lot of haze (too early to call it heat haze I guess). Then the constant bubbling up of cumulus starts and continues pretty much all day with some fine higher pillars forming just before the sun starts to disappear and a subdued but rather sunset. 2/5
26th of June 2020. I didn’t think this would be such a good one to watch. Lovely sunrises leads into a day of bubbling and boiling cumulus coming up off all the high ground, including around me so it wasn’t that warm or sunny. Rain sweeps up the valley at about 2’30” but is gone quickly and dusk goes through a sequence of colours as the light disappears. 3/5
27th of June 2020. Lovely sunrise. More high cloud at that point than in recent days. Then the lower cloud builds and rather nice (visually) rain showers sweep up the valley around 1’30” and 2’30”. Eventually the lower cloud opens up a bit and the sun comes through before sunset. 2/5
28th of June 2020. Lovely sunrise and then there is a constantly changing roll of cloud up the valley and bubbling off the heights. From about 4’15” to sunset it’s quite Wagnerian dramatic. (What do I know about Wagnerian?! Nothing!) 3/5
29th of June 2020. A day of two halves. Such heavy and complete rain cloud cover early that the opening seconds are pitch black and then enough sun squeezes through to show that cloud scudding across and squalls of rain driving up the valley in waves (mostly up in A2k it was just mizzly). Then the rain clouds blow off and the late afternoon and evening are almost cloudless. Sadly the video doesn’t capture the lovely pink light that was on Mont Blanc for a few minutes as the sun set. 2/5
30th of June 2020. A very quiet day in sky/cloud terms. An almost cloudless sunrise (very pixillated on my internet connection) then a day with very little cloud at all but what there is moving along lightly. Minimal and rather nice sunset. Brief glimpse of an early paraglider and replacement roof tiles being delivered to Club Med make up most of he non-sky action! 2/5
1st of July 2020. Interesting day. Very empty sky as the sun rises but that changes quickly. More high cirrus than we had for a while and it slides across steadily while the little, local clouds start to form and by 3’20” the clouds darken to black and the rain lashes in. In fact it was a pretty dramatic thunderstorm with much thunder and lightning but you can’t see that. The odds on one image capturing one flash and it being so bright we can see it in the timelapse must be quite low. (3/5)
2nd of July 2020. Not a bad day to watch, starts with the valley in its long duvet of very low cloud which I haven’t seen for a while, then it breaks into a phase with some blue sky between cumulus forming on the high ground and moving steadily on. However, around 3’18” things change pretty dramatically as a small thunderstorm hammers us with rain and from then until final sunset there are squalls of rain and wonderful surging and waning of low cloud in the little valley. 3/5
3rd of July 2020. A real day of cloud but much more interesting, dramatic at times even, than it seemed in real time (when it was really pretty dull and grey). Much scurrying human activity down between Haut Bois and Club Med and on the reroofing work on Club Med! 3/5 as the clouds really are quite active.
4th of July 2020. Another day of two halves: cloud all around all morning and then it breaks and blue sky dominates the centre though the low clouds continue to bubble on the heights. The sunset on around Mont Blanc was really beautiful in real time: stunning but it’s over and done with fast and in too low a resolution to much that an sense of that from about 4’15” for a few seconds in timelapse time. 2/5
5th of July 2020. Lovely dawn and the actual sunrise is fine as the sun rises from behind Mont St. Jacques just as a plume of cloud comes up to us from the little valley. Then there is minimal cloud action on the heights. You can see the summer season has started from the people in Haut Bois but generally things are dull until about 3’50” when there are nice layers of cloud off towards Mont Blanc including some very stationary ones above some flowing ones (how does that work?!) Nice sunset. 2/5
6th of July 2020. Amazing first 1’40”: watch it and enjoy the spectacle! After that it settles down to a fairly ordinary day of blue sky and seething cumulus on the heights and a gentle sunset … but the first 1’40” of sunrise and early morning is stunning! (4/5)
7th of July 2020. A mellow day. The sunrise, I guess the first minute of the video, is lovely in a quiet way. From there on it’s very, very quiet: hardly any clouds, the most interesting thing perhaps is the transhumance: the cows are up on the meadow area by the lift at the top of “S’s little black run” as the run down behind Club Med and beyond that lift is called (by us!) Very mellow sunset. (2/5)
8th of July 2020. This is a bit different. Another lovely, mellow, nearly cloudless sunrise but from about 2’20” light banks of high cloud form and very slowly and gracefully move across from left to right until one catches the light from the setting sun nicely as things fade out to black. (2/5)
9th of July 2020. A day marked by near stationary or very, very slowing moving highish clouds in a lot of blue sky. It’s very clear that these clouds are wave forms, forming at their windward edge (left today and most days I guess) and disappearing at their trailing edge. The high cloud thickens somewhat before sunset and catches the setting beautifully in a flush of colour around 4’22” (3/5)
10th of July 2020. A day with more cloud in the timelapse than of late and a bit of rain slides across the head of the valley late afternoon and the sun catches the thicker clouds beautifully as it starts to set around 4’15”. I remember there was a fair bit of thunder but no rain on us here. (2/5)
11th of July 2020. A thicker, deeper layer of cloud filling the valley as the sun rises and then that thickens further until it bursts up to shroud us in cloud and to merge with the heavy layer just above us. It’s not until about 2’15” that blue sky peeks through and the gradually the cloud thins out to a nice sunset. 3/5
12th of July 2020. A very mellow day. Almost cloudless until 1’45” and the first clouds are little puffs that look like clouds in cartoons for very young children. They build into a pretty steady bubbling of cumulus above all the heights until, at about 4’0″ they fade away pretty rapidly so the sunset is almost as empty as the sunrise was. 2/5
13th of July 2020. Pretty complete cloud cover as dawn breaks but by about 1’40” when the sun clears Mont St. Jacques the cloud is breaking up rapidly and for most the rest of the day it’s just forming and reforming continually mostly above the high ground. Nice sunset. 2/5 (just)
14th of July 2020. A rather fine day. Really lovely sunrise for the first minute or so gives way to white cloud bubbling on the peaks and then things darken and the high cloud blankets everywhere in grey and the low clouds turn dark (but no rain I saw). Then blue breaks through again and finally the sunset is lovely with that effect where breaks in the clouds allow setting sun to cut through making the windows in which that’s happening look like fires or windows into ovens. 3/5
15th of July 2020. Another fine sunrise. Interesting to see that as we move on from the summer solstice the sun is now rising in a quite different point behind Mont St. Jacques. From then on until just before sunset clouds roll across and seethe quiet actively and we fade out into a nice sunset. Just scrapes a 3/5?
16th of July 2020. This is a bit different. Much cloud all day but always changing. I think the first and last minutes just about nudge it into 3/5 as the colours changing almost absurdly on the clouds as the sun rises and sets invisibly.
17th of July 2020. A day when the clouds seem a bit uncertain of what they’re doing and to swirl around with some changes of (slow) direction. Nice colours in the early sunset. 2/5
18th of July 2020. For the first minute we were completely smothered in cloud and the there’s almost nothing but that, then it splits into a layer immediately above us and one immediately below with the lower one licking up towards us at intervals. From about 2’30” to 3’20” there’s some high cloud interest: first thin lenticular (lentiform?) clouds and then thicker stuff but it disappears again and we’re left with cumulus seething off the peaks and lovely colours as the sun goes down. In real time and real life the colours on Mont Blanc were far, far nicer. Sorry! 2/5
19th of July 2020. A very calm day of mostly clear sky and gentle colours in the sunrise and sunset. There are a couple of paragliders but I they’re not easy to see. Something appears to rise on a trajectory almost paralleling the ridge of Mont St. Jacques before the sun bursts up: satellite? Neowise? I don’t think it can be Venus moving that fast. Hm, revealing my ignorance about the heavens. (1/5)
20th of July 2020. Wow, a day of almost no cloud. A few shadows around 3’45” and tiny bits in the far distance on the highest peaks but other that, just about nothing. It makes sunrise a set of arcs of colour and sunset is just a fading out. Calm and calming to watch perhaps but only 1/5.
21st of July 2020. Nice sunrise and sunset and inbetween the clouds scud across, sometimes covering the sky completely, sometimes letting large areas of blue emerge. Some little rain squalls sweep across from time to time too. 2/5
22nd of July 2020. Quite a fine day for these videos. For much of the first 50 seconds sunbursts rake the valley as the sun rises and punches through gaps in the rapidly moving cloud. Later it’s a day of seething cloud and rain squalls until as the sun starts to drop away we had a full on thunderstorm. It’s odd to see that with no thunder or lightning but the dark, the rain and then the low cloud seething up to us is all pretty dramatic. Shortly before sunset that swept away and blue sky emerges as the sun disappears. 3/5
23rd of July 2020. Nice sunrise (very) and sunset and steady movement of cloud through the day, and human action below 2/5.
24th of July 2020. This is a fine day of cloud action. Lovely sunrise with late sunbursts is rapidly replaced by rain dousing the valley and rapidly changing cloud and intermittent rain batter across rapidly through most of the rest of the day with little bursts of blue sky until shortly before sunset the clouds thin out rapidly. 3/5
26th of July 2020 (25th was lost to an android update on the ‘phone forcing an unattended update.) Interestingly different from many recent days. There’s more high cloud and the sun only just peaks over the tip of Mont St. Jacques as it rises and rakes the valley with a few sunbursts. At points there are various stationary clouds: capping Mont Blanc for a period in the morning, straight ahead and high around midday and lovely local cumulus forming and dissolving in pretty static positions just as the sun starts to set. Lovely sunset come to that. Is it silly of me to find the number of contrails a bit depressing after months with far fewer? 3/5
27th of July 2020. Around me this was a pretty cloudless day and all that’s visible in the video are little clouds streaming off Mont Blanc and sometimes the other far high peak. I think this just gets to be be 2/5 because of the rather amazing silhouette sunrise and the weird colours of both the sunrise and sunset.
28th of July 2020. Quite a video/day. First 100seconds are a lovely sunrise with only cloud in the distance tumbling over Mont Blanc and other distant peaks. They the rain clouds come in and little rain squalls hurl themselves across the valley (but not up here). The sunset is stunning and faded out with most of the sky having cleared of cloud to leave one lump of cumulonimbus over Mont Blanc and one flash of lightning is actually caught just after 4’0″. Over the next 15-20 minutes it went pitch black up here of course but in the distance I continued to see lightning flickering clearly over Mont Blanc which was magical … sorry not here but this is still at least 3/5.
29th of July 2020. Not dramatic but a lovely day with a lot of diversity in the cloud patterns despite the absence of any big clouds. The first day that the sun doesn’t rise into view from this viewpoint. 3/5
30th of July 2020. Quite a day. Glorious cloudless sunrise followed by the bubbling up of lots of cumulus on all the peaks, often casting us into deep shadow here. Then as the sun drops the cloud thickens and sunset comes as a thunderstorm hammers the entire area and the shots catch a number of lightning flashes. 3/5
31st of July 2020. A lovely day with colours in the sunrise and sunset and a small amount of cloud through most of the day. 2/5
1st of August 2020. Another fine day ending in a thunderstorm! (3/5)
2nd of August 2020. Another glorious day, great sunrise, amazing short phase from around 1’20” where the peaks across the valley each seem like old fashioned kettles boiling up plumes of cumulus. Rain cloud later and a lowering sunset. (3/5)
3rd of August 2020. Lovely sunrise above cloud down in the valley but that moves on to a dramatic day of cloud all around and rain lashing across but with lovely sunbursts cutting through from time time on the high pasture over the valley. 3/5
4th of August 2020. Cloudy day. For most of the first two minutes the cloud above seems to be just above the top of the window! Very little blue sky until shortly before sunset. 2/5
5th of August 2020. Well no high cloud at all day. Lovely watching the very low cloud on the high pasture opposite as the sun clearly boils moisture out up but the air above is cold enough for it to condense immediately. Later there is a phase with puffs of cloud coming off the peak of Rognais making it look like a kettle spout or a chimney. That spreads to the other high peaks as time moves on and an almost cloudless sunset. 2/5
6th of August 2020. This was a day of a serene sky with only very little, occasional, high and distant cloud drifting very, very slowly and a few lower puffs of cuumulus mostly on the peaks opposite in the late afternoon. The first (around 1’45”?) has Rognais blowing a few little clouds almost like some adolescent puffing a cigarette defiantly but also bit worried about getting caught! (3/5 for serenity)
7th of August 2020. Very little cloud action all day. A tiny low plume above Bourg St. Maurice as the in the foothills there that I think may have been a fire: barn fire? Too early to be farmer burning stubble and anyway I’ve never seen them doing that here. Very odd. After that nothing for a long time and then only small puffs and stationary clouds above the peaks all day. (1/5)
8th of August 2020. A very serene day, pretty much cloudless with a sequence of colours through the sunset until high cirrus starts to drift delicately across high up and from about 2’0″ there is “peak cloud” (I’m starting to wonder if I should call it cumulus as it’s so clear bubbling up above the peaks where presumably they drive the air up as the prevailing wind hits them and up it goes and the moisture condenses … into cumulus shapes. They fade away as the sun sets as I guess the lower winds no longer carry enough water to form clouds. 2/5
9th of August 2020. Lovely colours in a cloudless sky as the sun rises and no cloud at all until two minutes in when Rognais starts puffing little clouds quite a way above its peak and Mont Blanc rapidly follows. Later glorious static cumulus bubbles above the Bourg St. Maurice and beyond, puffing up and collapsing but staying impressively stationary. 3/5 for that.
10th of August 2020. Dramatically varied day. Absolutely glorious sunrise with high cloud scudding across and catching the sun in waves of colour. Then hardly any cloud until about 1’25” when it suddenly rears up as a lot of cumulus on all the peaks to the west. It’s like an army suddenly massing on the ridges to sweep down into the valley … though in fact it is a while before it sweeps anywhere. What actually happens is that the bubbling masses turn from white to grey and black and then spread across the valley and dump rain while our side remains surprisingly dry and in sun for a long time. Finally things go really stormy and dramatic and the day ended with waves of thunderstorm rolling across us (judging from the lightning/thunder time gaps). Most of that isn’t here as it happened as things went dark. 4/5
11th of August 2020. Great video: glorious sunrise then lots of blue sky and lots of cloud action all day: 3/5.
12th of August 2020. Another glorious sunrise and quite a varied and dramatic cloud drama with a bit of everything from almost no cloud, then a bit of high cirrhus, then Rognais and the Western peaks start up the smoking puffing little bits of white cloud that thickens and grows in height and weight and then that is replace with rain cloud sweeping over from about 3’0″ and ending in a fairly dramatic sequence of blues as the sun set. 3/5
13th of August 2020. There’s a sort of symmetry about this day. There’s a lot of high cloud as the sun rises and it punches through in sunbursts combing the valley. That’s rapidly replaced by heavier cloud and some real dumps of rain batter up and across the valley after which less heavy higher cloud banks alternate with patches of lovely blue sky until the cloud darkens and thickens and rain blitzes in again as the sun sets. 3/5
14th of August 2020. Just about a 3/5 with a lovely sunrise with low cloud carpeting the valley with seething and bubbling mass of cloud where there’s little above that. Then cloud forms and pours from Mont Blanc and then from all the lower peaks and the day becomes one of much high cumulus which fades out in a lovely sunset.
15th of August 2020. Cloudless sunrise then only a little high diaphanous cloud from about 1’35” and a constant bubbling of cumulus off the high pastures and peaks. Above us it was mostly off stage right but casting shadows. 2/5
16th of August 2020. Another almost cloudless sunrise with lovely colours but quite soon after that thin high cloud came in and it was clear the wind had shifted and was coming from the south, behind us. That starts to bubble up cumulus on all the peaks at the head of the valley and for a while it’s like watching some battle with explosions going off all along some front of engagement (the wind hitting the wall of mountains at the head of the valley!) From about 3’30” the high cloud thickens and there’s a rather fine sequence of pattern and colour changes until the sun sets. (3/5)
17th of August 2020. A day with a lot of cloud though hardly ever completely blanketing out any blue sky and never rain carrying cloud. As the sun rises it’s thick in the valley and then it extends up all the side valleys, lapping up to the windows here in a way that hasn’t happened for weeks. 2/5
18th of August 2020. This is a bit different from recent days. Blue and white day. Blues as the sun rises and then it becomes a day of blue sky but with a constant tumult of cumulus. Clearest paraglider(s) I’ve seen in timelapse here around 1’20”. Some nice pink and orange shades as the sun sets. 3/5
19th of August 2020. Sometimes I’m not sure what to say! Lovely sunrise with little cloud then a lot of high cirrus scuds across. Interesting to see how it repeatedly forms and reforms in the same places: it’s way above us so what’s creating that “stationarity” as the time series people have it? Lots of paragliders (or a few having long runs). Later there is thicker cloud: is it high cumulus, low thick cirrus? Oh dear, don’t know. Fine sunset with heavy cloud over Mont Blanc but no storm in the end though it had looked threatening. 3/5
20th of August 2020. A nice sunrise with very little cloud until about 1’25” when Rognais starts puffing little clouds as it so often does (don’t they tell these mountains about the dangers of smoking?!) Then cloud constantly forms above the heights, including above us and casting constantly changing shadows over Mont St. Jacques through the day despite much blue sky directly ahead and above. Nice sunset. Lots of paraglider action late morningish. 2/5
21st of August 2020. A very calm day for sky action. Another lovely sunrise with a far distant silhouette of cloud bubbling on the far mountains. That distant seething and bubbling continues for about 3/4 of the day. Early on, once the sun had risen, many more crag martins seem frozen in flight than usual. Small, thin, high clouds form and reform like flying saucers later in the day and around 2’20” there is a small wave of high cloud but that too seems to burn away and the sun sets gracefully, calmly, as it rose! 2/5
22nd of August 2020. Somehow I failed to start the ‘phone camera recording when the alarm went (I wake up, hit the button on the ‘phone and go back to sleep normally: failed!) I didn’t realise until I’d been up for a bit when it was a very grey day and the start of the video has an underwater feel to it though there was no rain. It clears later to a steady bubbling of cumulus on the peaks and a lovely sunset. 2/5
23rd of August 2020. A cloud covered sunrise is rather fine as the sun punches through. The the thick white cloud on all the peaks thins to reveal blue sky and high cloud moving fast creating one those moments when you really appreciate just how different wind directions and speeds can be at different altitudes. Then cloud on the peaks seethes and bubbles, thickens and parts until evening when there’s a nice sunset. 3/5
24th of August 2020. Lovely sunrise then a day of cloud constantly bubbling off the peaks, including above us. In the morning there is high cloud going over above that but that largely disappears as the day goes on. 2/5
25th of August 2020. Glorious sunrise with almost no cloud and then thin high cloud some or all of it dissipating contrails. Then the rest of the day is a sequence of different patterns of high cloud. 3/5 (just!)
26th of August 2020. A day of a fast moving high cloud thinning and thickening but never disappearing completely. Rather fine sunset gets this up to 2/5 I think!
27th of August 2020. Lovely sunrise then for much of the day the cloud action is a wonderful sequence of clouds before, on and downwind of, Mont Blanc. They take all sorts of shapes and sometimes the upwind cloud is many km. in front of Mont Blanc which intrigues me. Sometimes too the mountain calves a string of clouds downwind. Later on (from 2′ 40″ish?) there is much more high cloud largely hiding Mont Blanc but I think the action there continued and can be seen from time to time. Lovely bursts of orange on Mont St. Jacques and the clouds as the sun sets. 3/5
28th of August 2020. Another lovely sunrise but the rain bearing cloud moves in and rain sweeps the entire view in waves with lovely low white cloud rising between the waves as the warmth starts to evaporate some of the water. Funny for me as it was the last day of the summer season so I had taken my last opportunity to bus down and up and had been in Bourg St. Maurice and Aime (just off to he left directly below). Makes a change to see what I missed up here and to have been in it as it fell down below (mostly it wasn’t too bad!) 3/5
29th of August 2020. Well, autumn, or perhaps it’s more like winter, has arrived. You can jump 15 seconds in (must reset my alarm!) and you can skip the end (must recognise when it’s gone dark and switch off!) In between it’s all cloud: sometimes we’re simply enveloped in it, sometimes enough of a window between cloud below and above opens to see it scudding over above and to see rather lovely dances of cloud below and around. 3/5
30th of August 2020. Real snow! Not settling of course but a pretty grey, cold morning with snow cloud. Later there is some blue sky and cloud is sometimes white rather than grey but never much drama. There was a small rainbow down in the valley for a bit but I can’t see it in the video. 2/5
31st of August 2020. A rather diverse and dramatic day. I think it has to get 4/5 for variety and energy … and that’s enough here!
1st of September 2020. Nice sunrise with clear sky and cloud in the valley then a day of cloud shadowing us and the high pastures. Nice sunset with sun catching the cloud coming up off Mont St. Jacques like a fire. 1/5
2nd of September 2020. Interesting sunrise and then a phase with fast moving high cirrus and the bubbling of low cloud up off the pasture. Just after 3’0″ there’s an eagle caught momentarily straight ahead but you’d have to be lucky to catch it I think. I think I only caught it because the internet is so bad up here that the feed froze with it in view. Surprisingly colourless sunset. 2/5?
3rd of September 2020. A nice sunrise and sunset though the latter doesn’t catch the lovely depth of pink there was on Mont Blanc and above it in real time. In between … not much! 1/5
4th of September 2020. Almost totally cloudless day. Gentle sunrise and sunset, a few tiny clouds in the distance occasionally (none until 2’0″?) and apart from that the action is all from humans renovating the Club Med building and the cows! 1/5
5th of September 2020. Another day with little sky drama. A lot of martins early on then they thin out and there is a steady spawning of cumulus off the peaks through the day that made it cool a lot of the time up here. 1/5
6th of September 2020. Very nice sunrise at first with two layers of cloud, then a third as cloud threads appear in the valley. a short louring phase is replaced by blue sky and cumulus bubbling off the peaks all round. Fine broad sunbursts across the valley start, unusually, the sunset. They’re usually part of the sunrise but not the sunset. Then a lovely sunset. 3/5
7th of September 2020. Easterly day. The cloud doesn’t break until about 40″ in and then we’re still mostly shrouded in cloud until about 1’20”. Then it relents and we’re down to cumulus on all the peaks and high ground. For a while that darkens, thickens and reaches out from above us to cover over half the valley but it never comes to rain though it covers all as the sun sets. 1/5
8th of September 2020. In sky terms, another quiet Alpine day with very little cloud at all. Around 3’0″ the ropes of the painters repainting the building come into view briefly! 1/5
9th of September 2020. Nice sunrise with little or no visible cloud. Painters’ ropes at one point and after 1′ in high, wispy cirrus starts to drift across and later (around 2′?) cumulus reaches up from the high peaks toward it. Around 3′ the upper airstream changes direction, more southerly and we have two layers of cirrus crossing. Brief flare of salmon pink as the sun sets. 3/5 (just!)
10th of September 2020. The first time I rate a day 4/5. Lovely sunrise with the cumulus between I guess 3000 and 4000m going one way and the high cirrus another. Then the cirrus seems to pivot for a bit, long trails swinging slowly around. Then the cumulus really starts bubbling up on all the high ground in what becomes a rather glorious dance as if each puff upwards was sort of vying with the others. (I do anthropomorphise a lot for someone who is so underwhelmed with our species.) Then the cloud darkens and thickens and rain hammers in (it wasn’t that hard actually, but it looks it.) At about 3’25” two left hand pillars of an incomplete but very bright double rainbow flare up, the one generated by a sunburst illuminating some of the Les Arcs ski apartment blocks brilliant. The rainbow flashes up and disappears fast but it’s worth seeing. Great day!
11th of September 2020. In some ways this is a simple story: from almost no cloud at all with the sunrise it builds through the day to close out the sky by sunset. In between the growth of bigger and bigger cumulus initially from the peaks then from all the high ground is impressive and there’s a brief flash of a rainbow at 3’21”. It was a huge one if gentle in colours and intensity. 3/5
12th of September 2020. A nice day of cumulus erupting off the peaks, particularly off Rognais, and going up high and brightly white against the blue. 2/5
13th of September 2020. Quite a nice day. Completely cloudless until 1’20” when some cloud starts to form on the peaks. It thickens slowly to form a layout in which the bases are very flat and fixed though the tops of the clouds are being bent by an easterly wind. 2/5
14th of September 2020. Gently lovely sunrise and no real cloud until about 1’20” after which cumulus forms but it stays stubby most of the day. 2/5
15th of September 2020. Another quiet day looking out from my office! The high pandjandrums of the peaks puff steam as the day goes on but below them most of us get on with our lives as best we can. Quite a nice fade out to black. 2/5
16th of September 2020. So many changes through this day. Starts with much cloud that then lifts to be replaced by very slowly drifting high, thin cloud and then rather frantically bubbling low cloud off the peaks. From about 2’0″ that builds into a mountain of cloud that … doesn’t turn to rain. However, that is succeeded by a run of rain clouds and a glorious double rainbow after 3’20” and a strange sunset. Glorious. 4/5.
17th of September 2020. Completely cloudless until about 1’20” then a little cumulus forms on the distant peaks and is rapidly replicated more locally and spreads to flat bottomed cloud over the valley as well. Finally the cloud in the E darkens rapidly and the rain comes in with another lovely rainbow and fade to dark. 3/5
I’m repeating the annotated framegrab here because I’m hoping that the number of videos will start to climb swiftly again now.