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Why does Chris Judge start each day by hunting for human or animal-shaped clouds?

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Here's something I bet will make you feel better, looking at clouds. As long as we've had eyes to see and free time to look, people have gazed up at the clouds and seen shapes. In the early days of the pandemic, Chris Judge was with his daughters in their garden doing precisely that. They were playing around with an old camera when they noticed a cloud that looked like an alligator.

CHRIS JUDGE: And I decided that it might be fun to draw two little googly eyes on it.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Googly eyes. Judge took a picture of the cloud and added those eyes and posted the picture online, where people loved it. So Mr. Judge started doing it every day and called the project A Daily Cloud.

JUDGE: I said I'd do it for a couple of weeks, like, three years ago. (Laughter) Yeah.

MARTIN: Judge says he has never missed a single day, which has not been easy. He starts every day by hunting for human- or animal-shaped clouds.

JUDGE: I really love when the cloud is kind of doing it already, if you know what I mean. The less I add to it, the better it works, I often find.

INSKEEP: It's like a found poem. Judge lives in Dublin, Ireland, notorious for its rain and overcast skies, which is good for his business. On those gay days, he turns to his DM's - direct messages - where fans send him pictures of clouds from all over the world. He says his favorite clouds are from Hawaii.

JUDGE: There's always amazing sunsets and loads of unusually dark clouds against beautiful sunsets, which I really love. And I haven't really seen that anywhere else.

MARTIN: But he's often able to find beautiful clouds closer to home, too, thanks to his special helpers.

JUDGE: Both my daughters are constantly pointing out clouds and saying, get a photo of that one, take a photo of this one, and what about doing this?

INSKEEP: Which explains why cloud hunting has consumed his life.

JUDGE: I think I suffer with pareidolia, I think it's called, where I see faces in everything. So it's just constantly seeing faces in tree bark and knots of wood in the floorboards.

INSKEEP: But his fixation is bringing delight to people around the world.

JUDGE: I often get messages from people saying, hey, myself and my kids love going cloud hunting now because of your photos, and we're kind of observing clouds more than we used to. So for me, that means a lot.

INSKEEP: Although, he doesn't know how much longer he'll keep this project going.

MARTIN: He says he might slow down and make it A Weekly Cloud.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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