A couple from Indiana were treated to a magical display of nature after a rare cloud formation filled the sky during a photo shoot for their 25th anniversary.
Photographer Stephanie Pinkerton of Sparkle Pink Photography, who was doing the shoot, said she has never seen a sky like this one in her entire career.
“Upon arriving to our session inside of the Indiana Dunes National Park, we noticed a very dark line of clouds just starting to come into view in the distance,” Pinkerton told Newsweek. “There was a chance of rain later that evening, but as we all know, weather often has its own plans when you live in what we call the Midwest.
“I had no idea that in 30 minutes the sky would unfold in the incredible way that it did,” she said.
As her clients, Jack and Amy, danced in the sand, Pinkerton took out her camera. “I was in complete shock and awe as I shot and stopped to take it all in as the mammatus clouds took over the sky,” she said. “A true once in a lifetime shot, a moment we were able to take in together. That is the pure beauty of my job.”
Mammatus clouds are one of the most unusual and distinctive cloud formations to grace our skies. They usually form in association with cumulonimbus storm clouds as a result of turbulence, according to the U.K.’s Meteorological Office, the national weather service. This turbulence can cause the air inside the storm clouds to sink, producing pouch-like protrusions at their base.
These protrusions may be subtle, like aerial bubble wrap, or more pronounced, like the udders of a cow. (Hence the name mammatus, from the Latin word mamma, meaning udder or breast.)
Cloud formations like this are fleeting, lasting only 10 to 15 minutes at a time, according to the website EarthSky.
Pinkerton, who has worked as a photographer for over 10 years, said, “I can say with complete confidence the shots I have taken at the Indiana Dunes have been my most proud moments, and this sky is now going to be very hard to compare to.”
She continued: “What we do as photographers is done with true passion and the drive to convey a fleeting moment in life. I hope more stop to enjoy these small moments as they unfold and appreciate the little details all around you. I am so lucky to travel all over and meet so many kind and uniquely beautiful people along the way.”