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Flashes of lightning in were seen in Rapla County, Estonia, as a thunderstorm pushed through the area on June 18.
2020 was anything but normal for seniors as the pandemic changed up nearly every facet of high school graduation and all of the celebrations that go along with the important milestone. But, for one senior, a normal graduation photoshoot became an "unforgettable" memory, with a little help from Mother Nature.
When a Canada-based photographer, Christy Turner, decided to take senior photos of a family friend’s daughter, she didn’t expect for them to go viral.
“Well, I sure timed this photoshoot right! Thanks #abstorm for delivering up some unforgettable skies for these special grads who were feeling down missing their festivities because of Covid-19. I think the sky made up for it,” Turner said on Twitter.
A rainbow created a stunning, almost magical backdrop to a high school graduation photoshoot in southern Alberta. (Twitter / Christy Turner / aurorachaseryyc)
The backdrop came alive with rare clouds and a rainbow to boot in the distance -- one that the photographer said helped to make up for the fact that the graduate, Cheyann, didn’t have a normal graduation because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“My good friend Deanne booked me to photograph her daughter's graduate because there had not been an occasion to wear her beautiful dress due to COVID-19," Turner told AccuWeather in an interview.
Since Cheyann had already been dealt so many canceled events due to COVID-19, Turner was hoping a looming storm threat would not force the cancellation of her photoshoot as well.
"As we made our way out to her folks’ farm, I wasn’t sure we would even be able to shoot because it was storming violently in true southern Alberta form and pouring rain,” Turner said.
Once the rain stopped and the sun began to set, Turner knew the sky was about to turn into a one-of-a-kind backdrop.
Mammatus clouds take over the sky after a storm in southern Alberta, providing an unbelievable backdrop for graduation photos. (Twitter / Christy Turner / aurorachaseryyc)
“I knew that the structure of the clouds were going to be magnified and then these beautiful bulbous mammatus began to form. I quickly rushed Cheyann into position to catch her against this beautiful fleeting and dramatic backdrop of nature, and I could not wait to process the photos,” Turned said.
Although Turner loves to photograph storms, the photoshoot wasn't planned to be during or after a storm.
“I am an avid storm and northern lights chaser, so I knew if the rain would let up, we might get something beautiful to work with. I didn’t know it would be quite this stunning, however," Turner said, adding, "It was destiny!”
The looming storm threat didn’t bother the photographer or the model; in fact, Turner was right in her element.
“I live for these kinds of storms!” Turner said. “As a photographer in Alberta, we are truly blessed to have so much beauty to work with in our weather and natural amenities,” Turner said.
Graduates pose in front of a one-of-a-kind backdrop with rainbows and mammatus clouds in southern Alberta. (Twitter / Christy Turner / aurorachaseryyc)
The unusual clouds that appeared in the surreal backdrop of the photos are called mammatus. "They are usually associated with thunderstorms, but not always,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Randy Adkins said. “They form when moist air containing cloud droplets descends into a layer of drier air. In effect, it’s the opposite of how clouds form when sufficiently moist air rises and condenses into liquid water droplets.”
“They get their name from their unusual appearance, which resembles that of a cow’s udders — hence 'mammatus' from the Latin root word of 'mamma,' which means breast or udder,” Adkins said.
Turner mentioned the grad was very pleased when she saw how the photos turned out.
“She is a beautiful person inside and out and worked very hard to finish school, and I know she was very delighted with the outcome of the images. I’m very pleased that she got some extra attention through her gorgeous photos to make up for some of the lost rituals of graduation! It definitely helped that she is such a stunning photo subject, too,” Turner said.
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