“Monsoon II”

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Every child learns about the water cycle in school, but an academic description of the process often lacks nature’s grandeur. In “Monsoon II” photographer Mike Olbinski captures the majesty of cloud formation and rainfall in a way that rekindles awe for the scale of the process. It begins with bright clouds popping up, the result of warm moist air rising from the ground and cooling at altitude. As more water vapor evaporates, rises, and condenses, water droplets collide in these clouds, coalescing and growing until they grow too large and heavy to stay aloft. These are the droplets that fall in sheets of rain, blurring the air beneath them. There’s an incredible beauty to watching rain fall from a distance; it looks calm and localized in a way that’s utterly at odds with the experience from inside the storm. (Video credit: M. Olbinski; submitted by jshoer)

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