Highlands & Islands

The woman with her head in the clouds

Lisa Wood Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Lisa Wood, pretending to blow out a wispy cirrus cloud, says she is addicted to documenting the weather

Lisa Wood says she is addicted to documenting the weather and takes photographs of the sky almost every day in the knowledge that she could soon lose her eyesight.

It was a beautiful display of UFO-like lenticular clouds, which was seen in the Highlands four years ago, that inspired Lisa's interest in weather.

"I think half of Nairn went outside to see those clouds," says Lisa, 44, who lives with her husband David in the countryside near the seaside town.

"Since then I have taken photographs of the sky and the weather almost every single day. The only times I don't go out is if it is raining day-long, or I am feeling unwell.

"In summertime, I set the alarm for 3am and get up to take pictures of the sunrise."

Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Alien-like lenticular clouds

Lisa does her homework before her trips outdoors to record the weather.

She says: "I watch the weather forecast and check the BBC Weather app to get an idea of what the next morning will be like, but I will get up early anyway just in case there is something special about the sky.

"You could say that I am addicted to the weather."

Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Lisa has taken thousands of images of clouds and weather conditions
Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption The images are taken from her home and other spots in the Highlands

In winter, when it is cold enough, among the photographs Lisa takes are of the unusual ice formations she finds in her garden's bird bath.

She also photographs and films ice forming on soap bubbles that she carefully places on frosted or snow-covered grass.

"When the temperature is about -2 or -3 is best for the bubbles. Any colder and the bubbles burst."

Lisa is a dedicated member of BBC Weather Watchers, a project that involves members of the public posting images and short reports of the conditions in their local area.

To date, she has filed more than 1,800 Weather Watchers reports.

Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Ice is a source of fascination for Lisa
Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption When it is cold enough, she takes images of freezing soap bubbles
Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Lisa says she has found that temperatures of about -2 work best for her bubble art
Image copyright Lisa Wood

Lisa's images have also appeared in TV weather forecasts, on the BBC's The One Show and a Met Office calendar.

Her images on Twitter garner hundreds of retweets and her Flickr page has almost 3,000 followers and thousands of images of atmospheric sunrises and sunsets and also the wildlife - insects, birds, squirrels and pine martens - she encounters around her home.

But there are serious driving forces behind Lisa's love of the weather.

She suffers from PTSD after a violent mugging in 1995 that left her unconscious.

Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Lisa wants to keep recording cloud formations and the weather for as long as her failing eyesight allows her

The attack is something that Lisa finds hard to talk about. It had a devastating impact on her life. She could no longer work and for years lived almost as a recluse.

"Over the years, I have had therapy and medication," Lisa says.

"But I wish I had BBC Weather Watchers years ago because it helps to get me outside and enjoying the outdoors again."

Lisa is also facing up to another difficult challenge in her life.

"Last year I started losing my sight," she says.

Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Lisa's Flickr and Twitter accounts have thousands of images of the sky

Lisa has a faulty gene, HLA-B27, that causes uveitis, an inflammation of the eyes.

"Doctors have told me I could lose my eyesight in the next few years," she says.

She has had to stop taking the medication controlling the condition because of the side effects.

"Since then I have had blurring in my right eye," says Lisa.

Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption Local wildlife, including this mole, are another of Lisa's favourite subjects
Image copyright Lisa Wood
Image caption She combines the weather and wildlife in her images when she can
Image copyright Lisa Wood

Lisa says: "Being able to see the weather is very important to me and I want to make sure I spend as much time looking at the clouds as I can now.

"I am living for the moment."

She adds: "I get so much benefit from the weather and taking photographs of it, and I hope other people enjoy the images too."

Image copyright Lisa Wood

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