Sometimes Just Showing Up is Enough
June 06, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Paul Stookey, the “Paul” of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, has commented about some of his song writing talent that occasionally he has simply been the vehicle for what wanted to be said. His “Wedding Song” was the tune in question. He feels that the song had very little to do with him and his talent and a lot more to do with being open to what needed to be said.
Sometimes photography can be like that too. Some images have very little to do with the talent or technique of the artist and a lot more to do with something that’s trying to be said.
The Hand of God is that sort of photograph. I would love to tell you that I slaved away for hours chasing storms and that my amazing timing was how the lightning was captured but I would be stretching the truth quite a distance. The truth is that I was driving west on US 50 between Delta and Grand Junction, Colorado one late summer evening and this strange grouping of clouds was turning red as the sun went down. I was struggling to find a place to pull off the highway and grab the shot. The sky was getting darker by the second when I was finally able to pull over. The camera was already on the tripod with the 28mm wide angle lens attached. Realizing that I may only get one shot, I set the exposure on automatic, set up the tripod with the camera and hit the shutter release. The camera calculated an exposure of about 10 seconds. About half way through the exposure the lightning happened. You need to know that this cloud had not produced any lightning prior to this time and did not produce any lightning after this strike. Only one lightning strike came from this cloud! The camera completed the exposure and couldn’t believe my “luck”. I continued to make photos of the cloud until it got dark but there was no more lightning and the red rain soon lost its color.
I’ve been accused of being really lucky to get this image but I don’t think luck had anything to do with it. I also don’t think I really had anything to do with it. I believe this photograph was a gift. I’ve tried to acknowledge the gift with the title. Sometimes just showing up (with your camera) is enough. What needs to be said (or shown) will take care of the rest.
On a weather note, it looks like the fall foliage photos in western Colorado are coming to a close for this year. Rain and snow are in the forecast for the next few days and that should just about take care of the last of the leaves. Since bare trees and brown grass are not my favorite subjects I’ll be hoping the snow starts to stick around and provide some new photo opportunities. It’s time to find those skis too!
As always, you can click on the photo for a larger view and I would love to hear your comments about this photo or photography in general.
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