Spotting shapes in clouds is a delightful way to pass a lazy afternoon. There's even a society dedicated to cloud spotting. It’s called the Cloud Appreciation Society, founded by Gavin Pretor-Pinney to foster understanding and appreciation of clouds, and to fight “blue sky thinking”.
A clear blue sky has always been associated with good, happy weather – a perfect summer’s day, while cloudy skies are regarded as a metaphor for doom. Nothing could be more depressing, it seems, than to have ‘a cloud on the horizon’. Gavin Pretor-Pinney decided that this has to stop. “Someone needs to stand up for the clouds”, he says. So in 2004, he started the Cloud Appreciation Society and few months later launched a website. People sent in their cloud photograph, which he put up on the gallery pages for others to look at. The early trickle of submission soon swelled to a torrent. Today, it has over 29,000 members worldwide from 83+ different countries, and many thousands of amazing images.
Below is a collection of some of the most peculiar cloud formations.
A cloud monkeying around over Bangkok. Photo by Alex Cliff
Cloud Alien ahead.....Eagle River Valley, Colorado. U.S. Photo by Terry Robinson.
Aladdin's lamp, spotted over The Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Photo by Andrea Andreoli.
A baby floats over Zurich, Switzerland. Photo by Danièle Siebenhaar.
The big chicken on the roof of Manor Market in Bishop California, is being mirrored in the clouds. Photo by Andrew Kirk.
A dolphin leaping from an inky black sea over Sussex, UK. Photo by Beryl Pratt.
Dolphins at play, Sausalito, California. U.S. Photo by David Holbrooke.
A heart in the clouds over Norwich, UK. Photo by Doug Taylor
A Dove over Kent, UK. Photo by Pauline Reay-Earnshaw
Eagle soars over Cambridge. U.K. Photo by Christie Nel.
Elephant in a storm cloud, taken on holiday at Patong Beach, Phuket, Thailand. Photo by Graham Blackett.
A feather over Brockenhurst in the New Forest, Hants., UK. Photo by Chris Gleed-Owen
A heart over SuperDevoluy, Saint Etienne en Devoluy, France. Photo by Emily Morus-Jones
A hummingbird over Berryton, Kansas, US. Photo by Shannon Franks
Jack Palance, spotted over Loudonville, Ohio, US. Photo by Catherine Wilson
A jellyfish over Berry, New South Wales, Australia. Photo by Mark Muirhead.
A cumulus called Kitty, Western New York. U.S. Photo by Diane Mariotti.
A man running with a bouquet of flowers. Spotted over France. Photo by Rudolf Wehrung.
A giant Mushroom over North Jutland, Denmark. Photo by Jan Hertoghs
Poodle spotted over Sanderstead, Surrey. U.K. Photo by Alex Brooker.
A poodle with shades enjoys a day by the sea over Blackpool, Lancashire, UK. Photo by Bill Williamson.
A rabbit hopping over Nottinghamshire, UK. Photo by Andy Jamieson.
Shhhhhh dont tell anyone. There's a monster rat over Tortona, Alessandria, Italy. Photo by Pietro Cordelli.
A sunset smile over West Hollywood, California, US. Photo by Christine Murphy.
Little Cumulus cloud from East Texas, US, smoking. Photo by Jan Morris Marek.
A snail, spotted just before sunrise over Anglesey, UK. Photo by John Rowlands
A turtle travelling on the back of a crocodile over the border between France and Spain. Photo by Jean-Francois Guillot
A witch or the grumpy old man in the muppets over Bangkok. Photo by Alex Cliff.
The iconic scene from TV programme The Apprentice, when Lord Sugar says "you're fired", acted out over Bangkok. Photo by Alex Cliff