A talk with … Frédérique Larousserie

The clouds of Iceland fascinate many Icelanders and visitors of Iceland. Also french hobby photographer Frédérique Larousserie. Here she answers a few questions about her passion for clouds (in Iceland).


Frédérique Larousserie

Frédérique Larousserie

What is so special about Iceland clouds? What makes them different, for example, from French clouds?

Clouds can be better seen in Iceland than in Paris where I live simply because there is no obstacle to the view in Iceland (except in the case of fog, of course!). Moreover, they appear to be more diverse in Iceland. For example lenticularis, which is a nice cloud in the shape of a flying saucer, is mostly observed near mountains. Of course, I never saw one in Paris. I remember the first time I saw a lenticularis cloud: it was in Iceland in 2008 at Dimmuborgir. I was very puzzled by this peculiar single cloud in the sky over the rocky pillars. That was long before I registered with the Cloud Appreciation Society.

Your photographs – is your work more scientific or more creative?

As I consider myself more a scientist than an artist, I would say my interest in taking pictures of those clouds was firstly driven by scientific purposes ­– to learn about the scientific aspect of clouds. On the other hand, I’ve always been a cloud lover, sensitive to the poetry of a cloudy sky. I’ve never been a fan of blue skies, unlike my fellow Parisians. Iceland is fascinating in many aspects. One of them is the clouds you can encounter. The sky changes all the time. What is unique to Iceland (and probably also to other northern countries at high latitudes) is that sunlight and a thick layer of clouds can co-exist at the same time, probably because of the low position of the sun.

Please say a few words about the CloudSpotter App and the Cloud Appreciation Society.

The CloudSpotter App is an entertaining way to learn about the scientific side of clouds. Clouds and optical effects are well described with short but detailed text and illustrated by many pictures. It is a user-friendly app with a beautiful, simple and effective design. When travelling around, one can spot an interesting cloud, take a picture of it with the App and send it in to be checked by the expert team. There is also a funny competitive side to the app, with points given for correct cloud recognition. It is also possible to enjoy numerous pictures of clouds taken all over the world by the other members of the App.

This App was created by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society, Gavin Trevor-Pinney, an Englishman (who else could invent such a society?). Recently a new cloud was described and validated by cloud authorities (the World Meteorological Organisation), mainly thanks to Gavin Trevor-Pinney. The description of this new cloud named Asperitas was facilitated by its observations with the CloudSpotter App. When the App was released, I remember this cloud was named Asperatus. I’ve never seen one yet.

What role does photography play in your life?

Photography is a hobby.

Merci beaucoup, Frédérique!


Frédériques pictures of clouds in Iceland (shown in the greenhouse in Hveragerði). Photo by Nanne Springer


Proofreading: Melinda Kumbalek

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